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To Ride a Rathorn [Paperback]

P. C. Hodgell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Sep 2007
To Ride a Rathorn the fourth book of the Kencyrath, P. C. Hodgell,'s latest high fantasy novel, is the sequel to Seeker's Mask (3rd), which in turn follows God Stalk (1st) and Dark of the Moon (2nd) collected in the Meisha Merlin omnibus, Dark of the Gods. These are the chronicles of Jamethiel Priest's-bane, otherwise known as Jame, as she struggles to find a place in a universe full of danger, intrigue, and more than a bit of downright lunacy. The current novel's title To Ride a Rathorn, comes from the Kencyr phrase that refers to someone attempting something insane, but it is too dangerous for them to stop. The reference is also to a certain young rathorn (think of an armor-plated, carnivorous unicorn with a nasty temper) who is after Jame for killing his mother and about to catch up with her. At Tentir, Jame faces cut-throat competition and finds even more buried, poisonous family secrets. Not only is the Caineron heir sent to humiliate her but a charming Ardeth Highborn arrives hell-bent on seducing her. Then too, what is she to make of the mysterious White Lady who haunts her dreams or of the growling monster and prowls Tentir's hallways and is said to eat young cadets for breakfast? For she is learning Tentir has secrets of its own. And it is fighting for its soul. Under political pressure that threatens to compromise its independence, it looks to its Commandant, an honorable man; but also a Caineron. As the college tests Jame, so she tests it. "Some things need to be broken."
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Meisha Merlin Pub (P) (15 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592221033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592221035
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Ride a Rathorn 5 Mar 2007
Having waited a long time for this sequel, I wasn't disappointed but neither was I fully satisfied! I want to know what happens next!!! but given the normal timescales for PC Hodgell's sequels, us fans will be waiting for a while. Groan...

In this book, Jame follows true to form and the previous books' storyline is continued. Our heroine is not quite hapless, but she is almost defiant in the fact that she gets herself into situations that normal Kencyrs can't fathom.

From accidently blood-binding a rathorn, challenging the Ardeth's High Lords' hold over her brother, learning more about her ancestors and ultimately helping to redeem Tentir's shame. On top of it all, Jame must also contend with her own awakening awareness of the opposite sex, not least her own brother... Will her people's prophecy, for the production of `The Kencyr Saviour' to fight the encroaching darkness, lie with her?

It's really exciting to read, you can almost see the different threads leading to one ultimate climatic sequel. I have one request - bring back Bane in the next sequel!

Ps Blood and Ivory was a waste of space.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, if you are a fan 2 Feb 2011
I want more, long wait I guess. I've loved this series since around 1990 when I found a paperback in a bargain book shop.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High fantasy of the highest quality 23 Oct 2006
By V. Chan - Published on Amazon.com
At last, the next installment in this series! Four novels and one slim collection of short stories in twenty years - this author is not just for Christmas, she's for a lifetime. P C Hodgell should be far better known than she is. She should be a NYT bestseller. She is brilliant. Her novels are dark, funny, intricate in characterisation and worldbuilding and deeply original. Tropes that have become standard in the twenty years since she started writing - lost heirs, soul-bonds to people and animals (and Hodgell makes it clear what a deep and terrible thing this is), the boarding school from hell (a military college, this time, and trying to shoot the Principal leads to a truly horrible death)- are made logical, convincing and terrifying. Hodgell does not shrink from the consequences of her premises, and I am pleased to be completely unable to predict what will happen next. The only point that irritated me was the reappearance of the child-abuse-as-important-traumatic-event motif, which is tediously common in US fiction at the moment, but that was a minor flaw in an otherwise deeply enjoyable book.

In her world, trees migrate and leaves fly south for the winter, and unicorns eat people and grow ivory armour that eventually grows over and suffocates them to death, and butterflies drink blood and feed on carrion (which, depending on where it dies, doesn't always stay dead).

The publisher could have spent some time and money proofreading. I hope that the next volume will come out soon.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to a fantastic series... 20 Sep 2006
By Holly Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
17 years ago I discovered a dusty copy of PC Hodgell's God Stalk and was forever lost in Jame's world. To Ride a Rathorn gives us a few more clues to the tangled lives of the Knorth twins, Jame & Tori, as well as sinking us deeper into the rotten polital game that infects the Kencyrath.

Lovers of this series will find this a must read - those new to this world should start at the beinning with the publisher's reprint of the 1st two novels under the title Dark of the Gods.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended with some Reservations 7 Oct 2006
By Vee - Published on Amazon.com
I hardly know what to say. It's a great book, though the editing left a bit to be desired. Even Americans don't spell "disdain" as "distain"; the editor clearly let the story pull them along too fast to take note of the spelling and grammatical errors they should have been correcting. It's an annoying detraction from an otherwise fitting addition to the wonderfully entertaining, richly layered and textured world that Hodgell has created.

I'm still giving this 4 stars though, because it *is* a great book, enriching previous plot threads and introducing new ones as it takes us on the usual riotous ride of Jame's extremely peculiar life. I also note, with mixed admiration and relief, that despite the amount of time elapsed between books, Hodgell remains wonderfully faithful to her characters, adroitly picking up the flavours of their personalities and adding to them without destroying what has gone before. This is the Jamethiel Priest's-Bane I came to know in all the books before, but not a Jame in stasis, rather one who continues to grow from each alarming new twist in her life.

This book isn't stand-alone, so if you haven't read "God Stalk", "Dark of the Moon" and "Seeker's Mask", run, don't walk, and read those first ("God Stalk" and "Dark of the Moon" can be found in the omnibus "Dark of the Gods"). Also, if the long wait for this book was only made bearable by the fact that "Seeker's Mask" left us at a reasonable resting place, maybe you should brace yourself and wait a bit longer.

While certainly not leaving us on a cliff-hanger, events within "To Ride a Rathorn" reveal the disturbing consequences of one of Jame's actions in a previous book, and this particular plot-line is not brought to any form of resolution by the end of the book. Without spoiling but for those who have read the book, I refer to the importance of names. I, for one, find myself even more desperate for the sequel to this than I was to the one for "Seeker's Mask", and view with great disturbance the potential for an equally lengthy wait.

If you are resolved to wait but feel you have the mental discipline to refrain from reading (which I assuredly do not), I do recommend snapping this book up quickly, since the publisher is not known for large print-runs, and "To Ride a Rathorn" may well be hard to find if/when its sequel finds its way to book-stores.

I also find myself in the somewhat conflicted position of having to recommend, despite the unimpeachable qualities of the book, that you avoid reading "Blood & Ivory" if you haven't already. This anthology of short-stories by Hodgell reveals a lot of information on Jame and the Knorth history that should perhaps be avoided until after reading "To Ride a Rathorn" (perhaps even until after the entire series itself has been completed and read). I believe I would have found certain parts of "To Ride a Rathorn" more gripping had I not already known what would be revealed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author comment 12 Nov 2007
By P. C. Hodgell - Published on Amazon.com
Hello. PC Hodgell here, thanking those readers who have kept faith with me all these years and welcoming new readers to my occasionally insane fantasy world. (Sorry about the five stars: I was afraid I wouldn't get posted if I didn't put down something.) Yes, I'm a slow writer, rather like the grain of sand in an oyster which eventually, if lucky, irritates the host enough to produce a pearl. Nor has it helped that publishers keep dropping me mid-series. Blame that for the gap between "Dark of the Moon" and "Seeker's Mask," when no one would touch my work. My last publisher suddenly went out of business without paying me anything for the past five years. Now, however, it appears that Baen is picking me up, so I hope to get all the books back in print and to have the funds to concentrate on continuing/finishing the series, which has become my life's work. To Ride a Rathorn" got cut in two to bring it out on schedule. I'm currently working on the second half. If I ever get my website on line, you'll have the chance to commission "God Stalk -- the Sweater" (I have about 4000 different colors of yarn to play with) or a stained glass window, those being my other current occupations since I retired from UW-O, along with training a Saddlebred colt named Pip (aka Peregrine Stargazer) and chasing three rag-doll kittens around the house.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Careful, this story will suck you in. 14 April 2007
By Todd J. Glosier - Published on Amazon.com
It's taken Pat 25 freakin' years to get this far, (God Stalk was published in '82) at this rate I'll be playing tiddlywinks in the old folks home before she's finished!

I love this world, it's as deep and compelling and the characters are as real and complex as anything in modern fatasy, and far better than most. You don't HAVE to read the first 3 books before reading this one but you'll get a bit confused if you don't. In this one our heroine has enrolled in the randon academy (think a combo of West Point and SEAL training) after being named heir to her brother's position as Highlord of the Kencyrath. She must deal with both academy officers as well as other Highborn that are determined to see her fail. There also seems to ba mysterious madman concealed in the college with a reputation of eating unwary cadets and a ghost-like "White Lady" whose appearance fortells the death of those who see her. In addition the Earth Wife and the Burnt Man (local nature spirits) seem to be either out to get her (Burnt Man) or "help" (Earth Wife). To top it off the rathorn colt whose mother Jame killed in Dark of the Moon has finally caught up with her and is determined to kill her. (Rathorn=carnivous unicorn that grow their own ivory armor reputation of extreme ferocity and insanity)

Jame's strugle to pass the first 2 cullings, and control the darker aspects of her emerging Shanir powers make for a ripping good story whose sequel will be eagerly anticipated.

BUY THIS BOOK!!, BUY THE OTHER 3 TOO!! Maybe the sales will convince Pat Hodgell to write faster. This is not a series I want to see end anytime soon.
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