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Publisher's Summary

P. C. Hodgell’s latest high fantasy novel is the sequel to Seeker’s Mask, which in turn follows God Stalk and Dark of the Moon (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 that 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.”

©2006 P. C. Hodgell (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about To Ride a Rathorn

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Sequel to Seekers Mask, Read Prior Books First

I don't know how I missed this book for nearly a month. I've been checking frequently after I finished The Seekers Mask and someone didn't see this until I saw Bound by Blood pop up and looked specifically for this title because I could not imagine the books being published out of order.

Jennifer O'Donnell does a great job of narrating this series. Not easy considering that there are loads of unusual fantasy names and words, but she does not fail.

So don't try to start this series with this book. It won't work because this book is deep in the season and while Hodgell tries to fill in for new readers, the paper book had a lot of maps, floor plans and a glossary, aids not available in the audiobook.
This book like the previous one is about 20 hours long. I would have happily listened to another 20 hours but I am also a great fan of Hodgell's books with their complex interweaving of politics, humor, and fantasy.

I hope O'Donnell is working on the remaining books in the series. Now on to listen to Bound in Blood.

Oh, and there is also a Kencyr wiki. I presume that might help new readers. I can't say for sure because I don't really like fan fiction.

1 person found this helpful

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To Ride a Rathorn was an excellent novel.

The mysteries were propperly intriguing, and the storytelling was topnotch. The character’s actions and reactions were believable and the pacing wasn’t too bad. The narrator took some getting use too, but she grew on me.

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Love it

Amazing story narrated beautifully.
P. C. Hodgell, thank you for bringing all these people into my life. Jennifer O'Donnell, thank you for letting me allow you these stories Wash over me as I go about my life.

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Great story, well read

I first enjoyed PC Hodgell's story of the Kencyrath more than 35 year ago with God Stalk. After Dark of the Moon, I had to wait a long time for Seeker's Mask. I remember walking into bookstores and asking about the author through the turn of the century. Thank you Amazon for helping me to finally find these great books. I have them all, through By Demons Possessed and including Blood and Ivory. When a new story arrives, I often go back to the first to read them all in order. I think that it is a great story with very strong characters.

Last week, I learned about the release of the audiobooks. I waited to do a review until I finished the first three. Now, half way through this fourth book, I believe that I know enough to make a contribution with a review.

THE STORY:
The Chronicles of the Kencyrath are a great story about the highborn Lady Jamethiel of Knorth. This is volume 4. We meet truly terrible people and many good ones too as Jame makes her way. Most characters are simply ordinary people (not all human of course) who have a variety of ordinary flaws. Jame does not fit in. Her people really do not know what to make of her. She often discovers that "Some things need to be broken," so she promptly breaks them. What a trial for everyone in her wake. In the end, those who get to know her, friends and foes, both fully expect her to fail and yet somehow (likely while falling down) to succeed. Who could root against her, other than the darkest of souls of course.

PERFORMANCE:
In all my years of reading about Jame, inside my head I have pronounced many names and words differently. Jennifer O'Donnell's pronunciations occasionally struck an odd chord, but I lay the blame for this on me. My house of the luck bringers was always Res a-something-something rather than a particular pronunciation. Jennifer does well with the work. I admit that after my 30+ years with the story I like a Perimal Darkling with more perimeter than periwinkle flavor, but that is just me. Jennifer's performance is very well done and takes a bit of getting used to only for old/ancient fans like me.

The great thing is to simply move into Jame's story. Jennifer paints a wonderful picture and makes the characters distinct. Despite being quite familiar the story, the performance gave a new perspective that had never appeared when reading the books. Hearing the words made a big difference. A few times (very few), I noticed a missed/changed/substituted word that did not fit--I actually went back to the text to be sure that had actually caught an error.

OVERALL:
Great story. Great characters. Very Good performance.

My only complaint is for editing: there are places where the story seems to have a discrepancy--it has taken years of writing to get Jame to Tentir, so I cannot lay blame on the author--over the years, stuff happens. I see these as editing issues. Example: during the Wyrm Hunt on summer 1, Jame remembers a conversation with Tori while standing in the ruins of Kothifir. This should be Kithorn. The same error exists in the Meisha Merlin book, the Amazon Kindle ebook and in this Audible book. Somewhere along the line, an editor should have caught this. Jame does not arrive at Kothifir until the Sea of Time, that is still a few books away.