For [personal profile] estara.

I have re-read this novel and its sequel, Dark of the Moon many times and with great pleasure. There are two more sequels which I have read once each. (Other people like those more than I do.) And there is a fifth book which I have not yet read, but plan to. That being said, God Stalk stands on its own.

God Stalk isn’t very much like anything but itself, though it partakes of a great many fantasy tropes: amnesia, gods, magic, weird cities, zombies, animal companions, dark lords, thieves’ guilds, bandits, books that drive their readers insane, etc. It’s an object lesson in the fact that originality and charm usually lie not in amazingly new ideas that no one ever thought of before, but in uniquely individual perspectives on, in this case, pretty much everything. Hodgell’s perspective is quirky, funny, odd, dark but not grim.

Jame hesitated. Many of her people had such talents if not far greater ones, but those that did were feared and often compelled to enter the priesthood. Apprehensively, she recited the charm. It usually took Cleppetty half an hour to ready her bread for the oven; Jame's rose in five minutes. When the widow sliced into the baked loaf, however, they discovered that its sudden expansion had been due to the growth of rudimentary internal organs.

That was the end of Jame's apprenticeship in the kitchen.

The whole book is like that. Isn’t it great?

Jame, an amnesiac woman with strange powers and possessions she doesn’t like to think about, stumbles out of the ghoul-infested wilderness and into the bizarre city of Tai-Tastigon, where small gods are mostly safely confined to temples. But Jame, whose talent for attracting trouble surpasses my own, has managed to show up on the festival of Dead Gods, when a pool of water may be both inches and infinitely deep, and scraps of paper flutter down to warn that Nurk lurks in doorways. (“Who or what is a Nurk?” Jame wonders.)

She joins the thieves’ guild, dances at an inn populated with incredibly strange eccentrics, runs a scientific experiment centering around the weeping god Gorgo and his unhappy priest Loogan, and nearly brings the entire city down around her head, as the unknown avatar of the God of Destruction is wont to do.

This is one of those weird quirky books beloved of a small cadre of highly enthusiastic fans who long to prove its wonders to the larger world – an impossible task, as most weird quirky books have an inherently small audience. But if it sounds remotely like something you might enjoy, I encourage you to give it a try.

The sequel, Dark of the Moon, is good but not as good, in my opinion. (My favorite character in that was Ashe, by the way.) Like God Stalk, its ending works reasonably well as a conclusion. I was largely unimpressed by the subsequent two sequels, Seeker’s Mask and To Ride a Rathorn, though I do like the characters and world enough that I will keep reading. But I think the series lost a lot when it left Tai-Tastigon.

One of the things I found frustrating about later sequels, in addition to incoherence and not enough of the random weird details and humor that I was so charmed by in God Stalk, was summed up by an Amazon reader:

“Jame and Tori (and Kindrie and...everyone, basically) have so many Issues (and more keep piling on top of them with every book) that at times I felt I was in an IEP meeting and going through one of those interminable checklists for whether my kid had met the educational goals... ("Objective 1: Tori overcomes his hatred of Shanir and accepts that he is one himself. Progress Report 5: Progress Code: [] achieved, [x] Making sufficient progress to meet goal, [] Not making sufficient progress to meet goal (Team needs to address insufficient progress), [] Not yet introduced..."

The latest book, Bound in Blood, is out now. Has anyone read it who can comment?

The God Stalker Chronicles (Contains the first two books.)

Seeker's Bane (Contains the second two books.)

Bound in Blood (Seeker) (Fifth book)
rachelmanija: (Challah)
( Sep. 8th, 2010 12:38 pm)
Happy Rosh Hashanah to all who are celebrating, and may everyone have a sweet and happy year!
Most realistic (ie, not fantasy) YA novels with single-word titles are awesomely depressing. Moreover, they are frequently about hot-button social issues and are not uncommonly in verse.

Sold, by Patricia McCormick. Child prostitution is bad. In verse.

Cut, by Patricia McCormick. Self-mutilation is a serious issue.

Skinny, by Ibi Kaslik. Anorexia is sad.

Massive, by Julia Bell. Anorexia is still sad.

Smack, by Melvin Burgess. Heroin is bad.

Willow, by Julia Hoban. If you kill your entire family in a car crash, you will need lots of therapy.

Shooter, by Walter Dean Myers. Don't shoot up the school.

After, by Amy Efaw. Don't throw your baby in a Dumpster.

Exposed, by Susan Vaught. The internet is evil.

Trigger, by Susan Vaught. Suicide sucks.

Glimpse, by Carol Lynch Williams. Child prostitution is especially bad when your own mother pimps you out.

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins. Crystal meth is bad. In verse.

Glass, by Ellen Hopkins. Crystal meth is still bad. In verse.

Burned, by Ellen Hopkins. Mormons are sexist. In verse.

Identical, by Ellen Hopkins. Incest is wrong and creepy, especially if it involves a father and only one of his identical twin daughters. In verse.

Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins. Suicide, attempted murder, bipolar disorder, abortion, cutting, child abuse, drug addiction, an affair with your high school teacher, and prostitution are all bad, but not bad enough to provide fodder for a single book on each. In verse.

Only counter-example I can think of offhand: Prom, by Laurie Halse Anderson, about the prom.

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