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Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
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    Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War Book 1) by T Kingfisher (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Traveling with demons; a study in contrasts.
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Good heavens, I'd never reviewed this before - I've read it several times. Excellent story; Penric is beautifully depicted in his ungainly adolescent search for a point to his life (that's just the first couple pages). Then he is abruptly reoriented, to a life he could never have imagined. Gods and demons meddling. I wonder if the Temple realizes just how unique Penric and Desdemona are - she will never willingly ascend. Maybe, maybe not - they certainly catch some of their oddities, and make good use of them. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jan 29, 2019 |
Bujold is the author of one of my favorite SF sagas, the Vorkosigan Series, but so far I have not been as fortunate when I sampled her fantasy works with The Curse of Chalion. So, when I heard about this cycle of novellas that promised at least some of the humor I had come to expect from the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan, albeit in a fantasy setting, I did not hesitate to try it out, and it turned out to be a winner.

The main character, Penric, is the younger son of a minor noble, on his way to a neighboring fiefdom for his formal betrothal to that lord’s daughter. While on the road, he and his retinue happen on a group of distressed people: their charge, a priestess of the Bastard god, has fallen suddenly ill and they are seeking help. Penric, a person of good disposition, kneels near the dying woman and tries to comfort her by holding her hand, not knowing that elder Ruchia is host to a powerful demon who gets transferred to Penric as Ruchia dies.

Being the host of a demon means a huge upheaval in Penric’s life, not because demons are inherently evil, but because now the young man will be able to work magic and as such, for example, he’s not good husband material anymore. While he tries to come to terms with this and the other changes, Penric gets to know his newly acquired demon, who is a mixture of the personalities of all previous hosts (including two animals, by the way): the only thing all these personalities, that survive through the demon as a sort of collection of memories, share is that they were all female, and the fact that Penric is not gives way to a number of humorous – and for him highly embarrassing – situations.

The element that I most enjoyed in this delightful novella is the juxtaposition between Desdemona (the name bestowed on the Demon by Penric, with a gesture that is unheard of and quite appreciated by the recipient) and the young protagonist: the demon’s great store of experiences gathered while moving from body to body and Penric’s essential naiveté make for a great contrast that fuels most of the narrative and helps define his character in a very promising way.

As a beginning to the two unlikely companions’ adventures, Penric’s Demon looks quite promising, and more than worth some further exploration.


Originally Posted at SPACE and SORCERY BLOG ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Dec 25, 2018 |
This is a promising start to the series where we basically get to know Penric and his demon which he names Desdemona. Penric acquires the demon in an interesting fashion and the book is pretty much about them getting used to each other. Of course there needs to be some kind of "trial by fire" to set the bond between them, and there is, and the end is rather touching. I look forward to reading further books. ( )
  RBeffa | Dec 7, 2018 |
Young Lord Pnric is on his way to his betrothal in Greenwell when, five miles out of town, he encounters a party of travelers. Learned Ruchia, a divine of the fifth god, the Bastard, en route to a house of that order, has suddenly fallen ill. In fact, she has had a heart attack, and is dying. One of her party has ridden off to get help from the town. Penric feels a need to help, even if the only help he can give her is to hold her hand as she dies.

She says she's accepting his help.

And suddenly everything changes.

Ruchia was a sorceress, and the demon she has carried for many years now needs a new home. It, or she, leaps to Penric.

His life is forever changed.

He's a problem and a confusion to the divines of the Bastard's order, with no training or preparation for a role the divines of the order study and train for for years, with a low probability of reaching that goal. He's an object of envy and a target of plots from those jealous of his new power, power he so far neither well understands nor can fully control.

Oh, and his betrothal won't happen and no one, not even his own family, wants to touch him.

Penric is likable and naive; his demon is old, wary, cynical, and also surprisingly likable. There's a lot of story packed into a short space, and very, very enjoyable. I'm pleased to note that there is another Penric novella already available.

Recommended.

I received this book as part of the Hugo Finalists packet, for the 2016 Hugo Awards. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Penric is a young man heading to his betrothal when he meets a Temple sorcerer and rather unexpectedly, rather unorthodoxly, is gifted with the source of her powers. Namely, her demon.

The concept of demon possession makes me more than a little uneasy, but Penric takes having his life turned upside down in his stride. His earnestness and unsophisticated upbringing prove to be strengths, allowing him to be open-minded in how he deals with his situation.

I particularly enjoyed Bujold’s writing in this one - her prose, her characterisation and sense of humour. ( )
  Herenya | Oct 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bujold, Lois McMasterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saint-Onge, LaurenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On his way to his betrothal, young Lord Penric comes upon a riding accident with an elderly lady on the ground, her maidservant and guardsmen distraught. As he approaches to help, he discovers that the lady is a Temple divine, servant to the five gods of this world. Her avowed god is The Bastard, "master of all disasters out of season", and with her dying breath she bequeaths her mysterious powers to Penric. From that moment on, Penric's life is irreversibly changed, and his life is in danger from those who envy or fear him.
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On his way to his betrothal, young Lord Penric comes upon a riding accident with an elderly lady on the ground, her maidservant and guardsmen distraught. As he approaches to help, he discovers that the lady is a Temple divine, servant to the five gods of this world. Her avowed god is The Bastard, "master of all disasters out of season," and with her dying breath she bequeaths her mysterious powers to Penric. From that moment on, Penric's life is irreversibly changed, and his life is in danger from those who envy or fear him.… (more)

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