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Jirel of Joiry (1969)

by C. L. Moore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jirel von Joiry (1-4, 6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5341332,737 (3.5)29
With her red hair flowing, her yellow eyes glinting like embers, and her face streaked with blood, Jirel is strong, fearless, and driven by honor. The fierce, proud, and relentless commander of warriors, standing tall above her enemies and simmering with rage, Jirel bids farewell to the world of treacherous men and walks through a forbidden door into Hell itself in pursuit of freedom, justice, and revenge. These are the classic tales of blood and honor that catapulted C.L. Moore into the legendary ranks of such acclaimed writers as Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs in the golden age of sword and sorcery. First published in the magazine Weird Tales in the 1930s, Moore's fantastic medieval adventures are heightened by a savage, romantic vision that helped define the genre, earning her recognition as a Grand Master for lifetime achievement by the World Fantasy Convention.… (more)
  1. 30
    The sword woman by Robert E. Howard (kroseman)
    kroseman: Dark Agnes de Chastillon draws inspiration from Jirel of Joiry. Howard corresponded with C.L. Moore, who responded enthusiastically about the Dark Agnes character.
  2. 31
    Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: Two unusual heroes. Elric, an albino, Jirel, a woman. Lively and exciting tales of sword and sorcery.
  3. 20
    Sword and Sorceress I by Marion Zimmer Bradley (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry is one of the original sword and sorcery heroines. This Sword and Sorceress anthology is dedicated to Moore and Joiry, and follows in the tradition of woman-fronted sword and sorcery.
  4. 00
    Swordsmistress of Chaos by Richard Kirk (SV1XV)
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» See also 29 mentions

English (11)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Echoing what some others have said: I found the descriptions worked well, Jirel herself not terribly interesting, and the plots godawful dull. The climax was almost always some variation of Jirel thinks/endures/waits/focuses/looks/imagines/stands/concentrates, which is about a dull a climax as you can wish for. The author appears not to care for multiple characters and/or dialogue very much, and eschews them as much as possible. It's mostly Jirel standing somewhere, with description of what she sees.

She also has an apparent obsession with blackness (story 1: the black god, story 2: the black god again, story 3: black stones, black stump, black hair, black-robed wizard, black sky (despite it being daytime), black mountains, black blob at the doorway, story 4: entire black dimension, black villain with black beard, black mountains, black ocean, black black black black black etc. ...

If she had written some variant of William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land it might have been amazing. But as far as sword and sorcery goes, yowzer, this is tiresome meat. So 5 stars for description, 1 star for plot/character, kind of a low 3.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve! ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Oct 13, 2020 |
Long, long ago, I wrote a master's paper about women in fantasy fiction. This book was one of the 40 I analyzed. Would it hold up to my memories? The answer is a resounding "Yes!"

Written for the classic pulp magazine "Weird Tales" during the 1930s, these stories were groundbreaking in some ways and a product of their times in others. The lush prose certainly is reminiscent of the fantasy of the time and hints at Lovecraftian horror. The descriptions are evocative of the places Jirel travels.

Jirel is amazing for the time. A true sword-and-sorcery character, she is a formidable warrior in what seems to be a fantasy France, holds her own keep and leads her warriors in battle, and is no man's play toy. Yet she is sensitive enough to realize that she makes mistakes and will work, even risking her life, to correct those errors. She is truly unique.

This collection contains Moore's stories: Black God’s Kiss, Black God's Shadow, Jirel meets magic, The dark land, and Hellsgarde.

This book is highly recommended for its historical significance. Sword and sorcery fans should give it a whirl as long as they don't mind that many of Jirel's adventures are more of a swordswoman facing sorcery. If you like sword and sorcery and Lovecraft, then this is a "must read" collection. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Sep 5, 2020 |
Statuesque ginger
so horned up she can't think straight
murderous hotpants. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
I found Jirel fascinating as a heroine of 1930s pulp fantasy. Throughout her adventures, Jirel's opponents constantly seek to victimize her, use her as bait, lure her in, or overpower her. Often she can't escape witnessing or even being part of horrific things, but she takes these impossible situations and confronts them on her own terms. I thought this was a nice alternative to always evading danger or using feminine wiles to get out of tight corners. Jirel is physically and emotionally capable without being a know-it-all or preternaturally lucky.

Moore paints incredibly vivid pictures of fantastical realms and creatures. I think this collection would translate well into a graphic novel. However, some of the descriptions got a little clunky and repetitive. This seems like it might be a byproduct of being published originally as pulp scifi/fantasy, and if they were published today an editor would have smoothed out some of the problems in the prose.
(Review also posted on Goodreads) ( )
  junerain | Aug 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. L. Mooreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Austin, AliciaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonard, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They brought in Joiry's tall commander, struggling between two men-at-arms who tightly gripped the ropes which bound their captive's mailed arms. ("Black god's kiss")
Through Jirel's dreams a faraway voice went wailing. ("Black god's shadow")
Over Guischard's fallen drawbridge thundered Joiry's warrior lady, sword swinging, voice shouting hoarsely inside her helmet. ("Jirel meets magic")
In her great bed in the tower room of Joiry Castle, Jirel of Joiry lay very near to death. ("The dark land")
Jirel of Joiry drew rein at the edge of the hill and sat awhile in silence, looking out and down. ("Hellsgarde")
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With her red hair flowing, her yellow eyes glinting like embers, and her face streaked with blood, Jirel is strong, fearless, and driven by honor. The fierce, proud, and relentless commander of warriors, standing tall above her enemies and simmering with rage, Jirel bids farewell to the world of treacherous men and walks through a forbidden door into Hell itself in pursuit of freedom, justice, and revenge. These are the classic tales of blood and honor that catapulted C.L. Moore into the legendary ranks of such acclaimed writers as Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs in the golden age of sword and sorcery. First published in the magazine Weird Tales in the 1930s, Moore's fantastic medieval adventures are heightened by a savage, romantic vision that helped define the genre, earning her recognition as a Grand Master for lifetime achievement by the World Fantasy Convention.

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