Book Review: Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (Four Stars)


Book Review: Penric and the Shaman (Penric and Desdemona #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold

Four Stars

“Sharing my life with a two-hundred-year-old demon with twelve personalities speaking six languages and an underlying yen to destroy everything in her path …. Try me.”

Wanted to like this, and did. This is my first Bujold fantasy. She delivers the same mix of characters you care about, even the villains, and fine storytelling.

“His powers had not wholly deserted him in craven company with his hope, faith and courage.”

Awesome descriptive ability. With a few words, she takes you right there. Into the scene, into the action, into the mind and heart of the point of view characters.

“Everyone talks to the gods, no one expects them to answer … almost no one.”

Fascinating take on a culture with a fully-developed spiritual dimension. One which occasionally intersects with the mundane.

“Our daytime minds, I’m told, are too full of ourselves to let Them in. At night our gates come sometimes ajar, just enough.”

This is so much better than the other 2017 Hugo novella finalists that one wishes to not vote for second or third place. (The rules allow that; I can’t decide whether that’s good or bad.)

“I’m a sorcerer, not a poet.”

If you’re thinking of reading this, you may want to start with the series opener. That said Bujold skillfully brings the new reader up to speed without insulting your intelligence.

“I try not to bother the gods any more than I can possibly help. Once, one answered me back. Makes a man cautious.”

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