I’ve finally dug through enough of my ‘haven’t read yet’ pile to start on Bujold’s novella series set in the World of Five Gods. And I will certainly be getting to the rest of the series. This hit all the to-be-expected notes from her, and was very enjoyable.

I will say it felt a bit short. As a novella, it takes what could be the introductory period of an overweight novel and keeps it at that. Penric slams into trouble at the very start, and then things kind of just move along, while the nature of the trouble gets explored a bit. And then there’s some action, and a final bit to resolve just where Penric’s life will go, and end. In one of those overweight books, that last would effectively be the end of the beginning. Here it’s the end.

I will say that Penric’s Demon suffers a bit from a lack of agency on Penric’s part. He’s largely swept along on events for decent parts of the book. However, that’s certainly not to say he’s not doing anything, and Bujold’s wit and character exploration certainly keep the entertainment up in what some people might find slow going. Also, we get another glimpse into how gods and saints work in this world, and I’ve always really enjoyed Bujold’s take on the subject. When we get some action, it comes very suddenly, and is just as well done, and then the end gets dropped on the reader right after; it’s something of an abrupt transition in pace.

As a shorter work, it’s probably as good a place to try out Bujold’s writing as any, and cheaper than most. As ever with her books, it’s fully independent of everything else, and all the strengths of her writing are on display here. The downside is that you’ll probably want more, like I do.