Himself was thrilled when he realised that another slice of Penric goodness was coming our way – quite right too as this series has not only been consistently excellent, it also is very good value, given that each novella is modestly priced. So would this next slice of the adventure measure up to the very high standard already set?
In this sequel novella to Mira’s Last Dance, Temple sorcerer Penric and the widow Nikys have reached safety in the duchy of Orbas when a secret letter from a friend brings frightening news…
And the answer is yes – this book is a joy to read and difficult to put down. However, I do feel quite strongly that although each book is designed to be read as a standalone, in order to gain the maximum enjoyment from this particular adventure, you at least need to read Mira’s Last Dance. As this narrative continues from the ending of that story, there are too many allusions to previous storylines – and besides, why not double the reading pleasure?
One of the delights of this series is charting the growth in Penric’s confidence and maturity since his first fateful encounter with the demon he has named Desdemona. Initially, he had a lot of adjusting to do, given that he wasn’t Temple-trained and his hosting of Desdemona was a complete accident. We don’t get so many tussles between them and neither does Desdemona bait him so much – instead, a strong bond is evident and interestingly, at one stage, it is Desdemona who is panicked and overcome in this adventure, with Penric providing the necessary reassurance to get them out of yet another tricky situation.
In amongst all the tension and excitement, we are also treated to Bujold’s hallmark humour, which is every bit as quirky as her characters. While the stakes are undoubtedly high, I found myself sniggering once Penric manages to successfully get into the prison complex, when someone wholly unexpected pops up… Their indignant exchange was a nice bit of light relief in amongst all the tension and danger.
I found this one almost physically painful to put down and when I finally finished it with a sigh – it was part happiness at having had such an enjoyable read, along with the inevitable pang of regret that it was all over. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, this book – and the series – is recommended for anyone who enjoyed the Miles Vorkosigan books or loves reading well-written fantasy with appealing characters and plenty of adventure.
It’s so good to see a series holding it’s own like this. I still haven’t read this author which is definitely something that I will remedy.
If you get a chance to do so, this series is a lovely introduction to her work – each novella isn’t all that long, but is perfectly paced. And the other consideration – neither are they unduly expensive. I’d love to know what you think of her writing!
I really enjoyed reading your excellent review, S.J.! Now I’m checking out this entire series on Goodreads! I had heard of Bujold before, but have never read any of her books. Well, that’s about to change now!! : )
I’m also going to check out your own books, as I’m a HUGE SF fan!! : )
Thanks so much for commenting on my “Can’t Wait Wednesday” post, and sorry for the late comment back…. : ( Have a GREAT weekend!! ❤ : )
Thank you so much, Maria – I’m delighted to hear you’re going to give Bujold a go. And I really appreciate you checking out my books – Running Out of Space was published in October and Dying for Space is coming out in December – if you are interested and would like a review copy, do let me know:).
Yet another review of the series that is on my radar. You read them faster than I can type “I’ll get to them one day”. 😉
lol… my reading rate is fast slowing down, so you’ll soon be able to catch up:)
I don’t think I can keep up even with your slow rate. After all, last year I didn’t manage to read 2 books per month… T.T