Hugo Novella Nominee Review – Penric’s Demon  by Lois McMaster Bujold

The second of our Hugo nomination reviews from Andreas (originally posted on his blog)

★★★★ Oh, Mrs Bujold, you’re such a tease. Giving us a new page-turner, but only 100 pages instead of a Sandersonian-sized novel. I need 10 times more than that! Oh, Subterranean publishers, you’re such a tease. Letting me review an ARC in the form of a pdf but publishing it as hardcover which would fit nicely in my bookshelf besides my copies of Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.

Look only at the great dust jacket illustration by Lauren St. Onge which shows the key scene of this novella: Young Lord Penric crosses the way of an elderly lady who had a heart attack. She is the Temple of the Bastard’s divine – one of the five gods of the Chalion world. When she dies, she transfers her demon to Penric – one of the oldest, mightiest demons, a bunch of female incarnations. Now the real fun begins, when the two get to know each other, and others get to know that Penric is now the demon’s rider.

Contrasting the wide ranging historical references of Curse of Chalion, this novella concentrates more on the world-building in the form of internal Temple politics. And of course, the adventures of Penric and his demon, both being decent, hm, beings. Which means: nothing boring at all.

Although Penric’s Demon takes place approximately 150 years after The Hallowed Hunt, it can be read as a standalone, as there is no real overlap with the other Chalion-books. It helps if you understand the general concepts of the Five Gods but besides of this, even newcomer to the series might enjoy it.

A fun reading with a satisfying ending. Wait, did I say satisfying? No, I meant: This ends like it would be the start of Penric’s adventures. Did the Bastard swallow the rest?

Meta: isfdb. This Fantasy novella will be published as a hardcover edition by Subterranean.

Originally posted by Andreas on his blog at

Source: Penric’s Demon • 2015 • Fantasy novella by Lois McMaster Bujold