Hodgell, P. C. -- The Sea of Time

I don't suppose anybody's going to start this series on book six, so I'll just do the short comparison.

Sea of Time brings Jame to the southern city of Kothifir. It's as colorful and madcap and fey as Tai-Tastigon was back in book one, though in utterly different ways. Jame, too, seems to be getting back to her roots; she even pulls out the thief-weeds for some second-story work. But she is not the same Jame. She's got claws. She's got a mature rathorn ("horse-rhino!", my friend said, looking at the cover art). She's got a coterie, if not a power-base, among the Kencyrath.

I am coming to think that Hodgell has never been good at book-scale story flow. (Eventually I will go back to the early books to check this.) She does wonderful incidents and set-pieces, and terrific characters, and they all get thrown into a bag and shaken until a book falls out. This is not a bad thing. As I said, I think it's what we've always gotten. You go with the ride and ignore the bumps.

The ride, in this case, is excellent. We get a little more about the arrival of the Kencyrath on Rathillien. (Which we already knew was a disaster for all concerned, right?) We get more of Torisen's early life. (Also a disaster, and he's going to have to deal with it someday.) We get plenty of the fluid mad logic that underlies Hodgell's writing at its best. A lot of people fall down stairs, or fall off towers, or both. Sometimes it hurts. I forgot that, even when Hodgell is being gentle and funny, she's also bloodthirsty as heck.

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