Friday, April 13, 2018

Short Book Reviews: Another Novella Gem from Lois McMaster Bujold

Penric's Fox, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Subterranean Press)

I’ve loved Lois McMaster Bujold’s World of the Five Gods ever since I picked up a copy of The Curse of Chalion. This novella follows the adventures of a sorcerer-scholar (Penric) and his resident chaos demon (Desdemona) as they encounter a murder mystery. In this world, chaos demons bestow various powers upon their hosts and carry the personalities of those hosts as they shift from one to the other when each host dies. 

The mystery centers of the death of a sorceress and the absence of any trace of her demon, since no other human was nearby at the time of her passing. Where has the demon gone? Who killed the woman, and why? Where has the demon gone? (Yes, I know I asked that, but it's really, really important to not have a chaos demon either floating around or destroyed because it can't leap to a new host.)

Throw in a handful of utterly charming shamans, as well as other nicely depicted secondary characters, and the result is a delightful novella, just the right length to both savor the world and move the plot along nicely. When’s the next one coming out?

The usual disclaimer: This review arose from the gift of a complimentary review copy and nobody paid me to love the author's work because I already did. Are you happy, FCC?


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    1. I have noticed the recent publishing trend to charging novel prices for trade paperback novellas ( does this, too). On the one hand, publishers are scrambling for sales, and most authors can write 2 or 3 novellas in the time it would take them to finish a novel, BUT you have put your finger on the downside, the increased cumulative cost to the reader.

      One option might be to see if your public library has the books (in either print or ebook format). Or write an irate letter not to the author but to the publisher. Maybe they should offer a program where you get the collection free if you've bought the equivalent price of individual novellas -- wouldn't that be a thought?