Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hugo Reviews: Penric and the Shaman: A Novella in the World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold

Penric is back. Last year he appeared in a Hugo-nominated work that explained how he hooked up with his demon, Desdemona, who possesses him and enables him to do magic. This time Penric is playing detective with regard to a deceased shaman, teasing out the worldbuilding and magic system as he goes. It all takes place in a congenial civilized fantasy world with all kinds of rules regarding religion, and education, and etiquette – and we’re going to learn about them, oh yes we are. 

This is the kind of story all those “how to write stories” articles are talking about. Clear, articulate, has a plot, the author devoted some brain cells towards making it contiguous, I could see how some people might love it. I thought it was enjoyable enough but it didn’t really stick. The characters seemed similar, the magic is a little convoluted and Penric’s amiable demonic possession creeps me out a little.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it. 

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