Sunday, October 5, 2014

"The Sea of Time" by P. C. Hodgell

(cover image from

The Sea of Time (2014) by P. C. Hodgell is the seventh in her Godstalker series (or Chronicles of the Kencyrath, as it's also known), which began 32 years ago with God Stalk (1982).

That was long before I started blogging, but I described the whole series - and my long wait for sequels - in my review of Bound in Blood (2010), here.

As I noted then, and in my review of the following book, the series has always seemed wildly imaginative, and I've certainly been entertained by it. But the story didn't advance much in the last two books. In a series with imagination in spades, staying in the same setting (the randon college at Tentir) for three books has been a bit frustrating.

But that's over now. This book begins with Jame's arrival in Kothifir, the southern city that hires her people as mercenaries, and ends with her being summoned back to Gothregor. In the meantime, we get to see another weird city and learn more about the past.

After 32 years, the whole thing is starting to make sense. I think. :)

The Kencyrath people hate their Three-Faced God and despise their priests. But there's real power there. The temples - which were built before their people had even arrived on this world, 3,000 years ago - tend to be unstable. And in this case, the instability creates... temporary gods from the Kothifir townspeople.

It's funny, but we've been hearing about Kothifir for a long time, but it's only now that we hear the details about what happened there. Mostly, that's because Jame dreams about what happened to her twin, Tori, years ago. (Her twin is ten years older than she is. Yeah, don't ask.)

I have to say that I'm impressed that it all hangs together so well - especially given the long times between books. Has Hodgell had the whole thing planned out?

It does jump around a bit. Mostly, things are seen from Jame's perspective, but sometimes from Tori's. And both of them dream about the past - about the past of the other twin, too - and there's often no clear divide between past and present. It can be a bit confusing.

It's also a little hard keeping track of characters, especially since they don't all appear in every book. There's a list of characters - four pages long! - at the back of the book, but the descriptions are so brief they're pretty much useless. (And those are only the characters in this book.)

I didn't find that any of that a real problem, though. In most cases, it doesn't matter much if you can't remember the details from previous books - or even earlier in this one. It's still lots of fun.

I didn't intend to read this book - not when I did read it, I mean. I bought the book, and I certainly planned to read it, eventually. But I made the mistake of picking it up and reading the first few pages of the prologue. That was it. I just couldn't put it down.

I love the whole series, though I was getting impatient for progress in the last two books. In this one,... well, I can't say there's much progress. But it's a new setting, and apparently just for this book. That's good enough for me.

Note: My other book reviews are here.

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