Black God's Kiss by C.L. Moore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Black God's Kiss: Joiry falls to a conqueror named Guillaume and Jirel goes to hell for a weapon to use against him.
The first story was pretty good. The writing reminds me of Michael Moorcock and the trip to hell uses the strange geometry Lovecraft made popular. The weapon she brought back was a surprise but probably shouldn't have been given the title. Jirel seems like one tough cookie so far, years ahead of her time.
Black God's Shadow: Tormented by the guilt of Guillaume's fate, Joiry returns to hell to put his soul to rest.
The second story wasn't as good as the first and felt like a retread. The setting was the same and the plot was very nearly so. It still had its moments, though.
Jirel Meets Magic: Jirel pursues the wizard Giraud into another realm, intent on killing him.
Yeah, it's pretty much the same story as the first two. Jirel goes to another realm to do something or get something, then kills her enemy. The writing is still good, evocative of Moorcock or Karl Edward Wagner, but the stories are getting tedious.
The Dark Land: On her death bed after a pike wound, Jirel gets whisked off to another realm to be the bride of Pav of Romne, Lord of Darkness.
Seriously? Another plot where Jirel goes to another realm and returns to have everything back to normal? Bleh. I realize the Jirel of Joiry stories weren't meant to be read back to back but come on! The stories are good but they're formulaic as hell.
Hellsgarde: Jirel goes to the ruins of Hellsgarde Castle to find the treasure the long dead owner died for, only to find it inhabited by his descendants. But what hellish purpose would cause them to live there?
At last, a story that breaks from the formula. Even though it's a fairly standard S&S tale, it's probably the best one in the collection.
Quest for the Starstone: Jirel teams up with C.L. Moore's other series character, Northwest Smith, in a tale that spans space and time.
Like a lot of team-up tales, this one failed to meet expectations. The Starstone was kind of a flimsy excuse to get Jirel and Northwest Smith together. Still, it wasn't bad.
The collection of Jirel of Joiry tales wasn't bad but I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I waited a week or two between tales. The first four were essentially the same plot. I can give it a 2.5 but not a 3.
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