Sunday, July 01, 2018

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day to me!!!!!!! and to any other Canadian's reading this post. If you are celebrating I hope you are doing something fun. I have been busy trying to keep cool. We are having a heat wave in the UK. Practically unheard of but it has been in the high twenties for the last 2 weeks. It would be great if I didn't have to go to work as commuting on the tube is a bit like having a sauna with several hundred people. No fun! However, I am not going to complain its still nice having sunshine and blue skies. Enough of my weather report what did I read?

My sister and I love Lois McMaster Bujold and she especially loves the Penric novella series which is set in the World of the Five Gods. We went on holiday to Rome together and in between visiting one amazing landmark after another I would steal her Kindle to read the Penric series. I will tell you a little bit about each book in turn and then review the series as a whole so that I don't have to repeat myself too much.

First in the series is Penric's Demon where we are introduced to the young man Penric as he travels to meet his betrothed. On the way he stops to help an elderly lady who has fallen ill and near death. Little did he know this chance meeting would change his life forever. The elderly lady is none other than a servant of a god - The Bastard God - and she gifts to Penric something that many think is a curse - a demon. With one simple touch Penric now shares his body with a demon who has lived over 12 lives ...10 of which were women. Now Penric has to share his body with a female demon. What mischief and mishap will the demon (who Penric names Desdemona) get Penric into?

Book number 2 - Penric and the Shaman finds our hero Penric a few years older and now a Divine in the Bastard's Order. When a shaman is accused of murdering his friend and escaping the 'law' Penric is called upon to help with the search. However, its not just a simple search and apprehend for Penric. All of his skills and those of his demon Desdemona will be needed to avoid further bloodshed.

In Penric's Fox Penric has joined his two new friends who we meet in Penric's Shaman - Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl. When they stumble upon the murder of a fellow sorceress whose demon is missing Penric knows he needs to team up with his friends to solve this mystery. Needless to say Desdemona has a huge part to play in both helping solve the murder and ensuring that Penric doesn't become the next victim.

It was supposed to be a simple undercover mission to enlist the support of the Duke of Adria in Penric's Mission. Penric's first mission ends almost before it begins when he is captured and locked in a dungeon. Luckily he isn't alone as Desdemona is always there with him (really inside him). He manages to escape and ends up helping a young widow and her grievously injured brother. Penric and Desdemona have to use every trick in the book to get out of this situation in one piece.

Hot on the heels of Penric's Mission is Mira's Last Dance. Penric is injured while trying to help the widow Nikys and her nearly blinded brother General Arisaydia, escape across Cedonia. He finds he has to call upon Desdemona and the expertise of one of the demon's twelve riders - this time of the courtesan Mira. This is almost the biggest test yet for Penric!

Finally, ending the series is The Prisoner of Limnos which is the sequel to Mira's Last Dance. Having helped Nikys and her brother escape to Orbas Penric had hoped that his life might return to normal. It's not the case for the young man and his chaos demon. When Nikys mother is kidnapped and held prisoner in a women's sanctuary Penric knows he needs to help free her. Another adventure for Penric and his chaos demon Desdemona.

I really enjoyed this series. Bujold knows how to create interesting and emphatic characters. I don't always enjoy stories that aren't full novel length (short stories especially) as I feel that characterisation can be lacking or that the story/plot isn't as rich and full as it could be. Not the case with the Penric & Desdemona series. The internal dialogue between Penric and Desdemona helps to shape both characters giving both background and description of the surroundings/environment. The plot in each of the earlier books is well constructed and each work well as standalone stories. The final 3 are all interconnected but the main plotline is resolved at the end of each. I read these back to back and I really wished they could have gone on further. If you are new to Bujold then this is a great introduction to this fantastic author.

That's it for me. I hope you had a great week and have a great book ready for next week. I know I do! Until next week Happy Reading.

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