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Penric and the Shaman

(Penric and Desdemona (Publication order) #2)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  4,410 ratings  ·  431 reviews
Young Lord Penric now wears the white robes of the Bastard’s Order, complete with shoulder braids marking him as a divine and sorcerer, while he pursues scholarly studies in the court of the Princess-Archdivine. His demon of disorder, Desdemona, is, of course, present, accounted for, and offering clever commentary, particularly when she grows bored. And so when a Locator o ...more
200 pages
Published February 2017 by Subterranean Press (first published June 24th 2016)
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Nirkatze Penric's Demon (Penric is 19)
Penric and the Shaman (4 years later)
Penric's Fox (8 months or so after Shaman)
Penric's Mission (Penric is 30, and has be…more
Penric's Demon (Penric is 19)
Penric and the Shaman (4 years later)
Penric's Fox (8 months or so after Shaman)
Penric's Mission (Penric is 30, and has been with Desdemona for 11 years)
Mira's Last Dance (starts up about two days after the end of Mission)
Prisoner of Limnos (follows soon after Mira, maybe a few months)
Orphans of Raspay (about two years after Limnos. Penric is 32 and has been with Desdemona for 13 years)
Physicians of Vilnoc (about a year after Raspay. Penric is 33 and has been with Desdemona for 14 years)(less)
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Elena May
A pleasant, cute fantasy story. So far I’ve read 5 of the 6 Hugo finalist novellas, and while this is the one to get the lowest rating from me so far, strangely enough, it’s also the one I’d most readily recommend. I believe it would appeal to any fantasy reader.

The world-building is impressive. The story is set in an established world, but I’ve read none of the author’s other works, not even the direct prequel. Yet, I was never lost. I admit I sometimes wondered how long-time readers would feel
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2016-shelf
This novella continues the exploration of the Chalion realm, but rather than focusing on what it means to be a Divine or a Sorcerer, we're given insight in what it means to be a Shaman.

It's very interesting in conjunction with everything we learn in the The Hallowed Hunt.

Wolf man, indeed!

Actually, even though I was hoping for more of Desdemona, the 12 personality demon lodged within Penric's head, I wasn't too disappointed just to have her causing him a bit of trouble instead of nearly taking o
Sherwood Smith
A while back someone was asking what books do religion well in SF and F. I thought about it, and only came up with one or two examples.

Most don't deal with it at all, or if they do, it's comic-level Evil Priests in Red who seem to have nothing to do but gallop about menacing questing heroes. The sophistication and subtly, intelligently developed dilemmas of the likes of James Blish and "A Case of Conscience" don't seem to be done anymore.

Except here. In this next short novel following young Penr
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas, fantasy
3rd read: Yep... still good!

2nd read: Still good!

1st read: I loved this one even more than the first. Penric is adorable and good and Desdemona is the right amount of sass. And poor Oswyl has to put up with the strangeness while Penric saves some souls!
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Penric's Shaman is the second in a series of novellas set in Lois McMaster Bujold's World of the Five Gods series. Pen and Desdemona's second outing was not quite as good as their first and the sle reason for that might be down to the fact that Desdemona played a more limited role in this one!

It was a typical Bujold story so it was still an enjoyable read. We got a bit of mystery, action, and magic as well as a nice blend of drama and humour. Bujold stories tend to have a fairly sedate pace but
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Penric and the Shaman is another bite-sized adventure starring Lord Penric and Desdemona, though four years have passed since that fateful day the two “met” on the road. Our eponymous protagonist has become a full-fledged sorcerer and a divine of the Bastard’s Order, having earned his braids. Now working in the court of the Princess-Archdivine, Penric is content with as a temple scholar spending his days poring over books
I loved this second novella about Penric. It was longer than the first, and it also jumped right into the action this time. It takes place about 4 years later, when Penric has finished his training. He's sent on a mission to help apprehend a fugitive shaman.

The story gives us a peek into what's been happening with shamans since The Hallowed Hunt. I finished that book earlier this year so it was still fresh. I enjoyed the meeting of the sorcerer and the shaman, and I'm really enjoying the persona
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was delightful. It is always fun to visit the world of the Five Gods and Penric and Desdemona are delightful characters. The Hallowed Hunt is one of my favourite novels and I was happy to see one of Ingrey and Jiada's descendants and just as happy that the shamans and great animals of the Weald remain in play. I did miss being actually inside of Penric's head and I missed hearing more of Desdemona's voice but that is a minor issue.
Olga Godim
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
This novella is a curious blend of a murder mystery and a theological tractate. The three main characters – the murderer, the temple policeman chasing after him, and the sorcerer Penric, dispatched by his superiors to help apprehend the murderer – are all good guys. Yes, the murderer too. The entire murder seemed so steeped in mystical shamanic mumbo jumbo that the only clear fact I extracted from the story was that someone was murdered, and the murderer might have had some vague arcane motives ...more
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf-for-adults
*4.5 stars*

When I first bought this (the day it came out), for some reason (I don't even remember why) I wasn't grabbed enough to keep reading, even though I'd loved the first novella in this series. However, I still bought the new one when it came out this week (because I really love LMB's writing in general, and this fantasy world setting in particular), and when I went back to this one (starting where I'd left off originally, about 1/3 of the way through) to give it another try, I was immedia
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Yeah, this one was quite enjoyable as far as entertainment goes, but want as great as the first book. I enjoyed learning more about the shaman magic and the 3 MC’s were interesting and complemented one another, but it just didn’t grab me quite as much. I will still continue with the series, but I’m hoping to find the books in an audio omnibus eventually, or just get them from the library from here on out.
2017 Hugos nominee for Best Novella. 3.5 stars rounded up: this was actually my first time reading Bujold, and I really liked the worldbuilding, the wry voice, the fun characters, the playful dynamic between Penric and Desdemona. Rating mainly just dropped because of my struggle with novellas -- as usual they're not long enough to be a fully-developed novel, just whetting my interest in this world, but they also drag on a bit too long. Still, though, this has made me seriously interested in chec ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
In the midst of all the chaos of recent events, Penric and the Shaman was a gloriously gentle read. We jump back into Penric's life about four years after the events of Penric's Demon, after he has become comfortable with his place in the world. But when Senior Locator Oswyl asks for the support of a sorcerer in chasing down a dangerous shaman, Penric finds himself setting off on a quest led by the rather disapproving Oswyl into the rural mountains in search of a stolen ghost.

I thought Penric a
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second novella in the Penric and Desdemona series felt a bit unrefined, that is why it only gets 3.5 stars from me.

The tone is darker than in the first novel. Penric is now a sorcerer and in command of his abilities the demon gives to him. He is sent out to find a Shaman, a person who can connect with the soul and way of animals, who is accused of murder.
The introduction of the Shamans is an interesting addition to the world of the Five Gods. I loved to read about them and their abilities.
Althea Ann
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading a few rather slow-moving and occasionally laborious long novels, jetting through this novella was tangibly refreshing!

As always, Bujold's writing is a delight, and the story here is light, fun and wholly entertaining. Of course, this is a sequel to 'Penric's Demon' and although this is a wholly self-contained episode, I'd recommend starting with the first one to get to know the characters.

Here, Penric is assigned, in his position as a Divine sorcerer, to accompany a lawman who's tr
Melissa McShane
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the blurb for this one, which begins "In this NOVELLA" because I'm sure a lot of people were pissed at how short it was. Because people don't always pay attention. Anyway, Bujold packs a lot into this short tale, and I was satisfied regardless of length. That's the great thing about experienced authors: they know how long a story should be, and if they're lucky, they can publish something that isn't novel-length and get it noticed.

There are shades of Miles Vorkosigan in the Penric of this
3.5 rounded up
set 4 years after the events of Penric's Demon (so thankfully skipping Pentric's school days in divinity), the novella is fairly interesting but its structure did not quite work for me - it is split in 3 pov's, one from an animal spirit shaman which was very boring as I never get the fascination with animal spirits in general, another from a sort of inquisitor chasing the shaman (who is accused of murder and absconded) and who serves as a sort of external observer of Penric as the inquisitor fin ...more
The word I keep coming back to for this series of novellas is "pleasant." There's nothing here I want to chew over after finishing it, but this is exactly the sort of book I want to read while curled up in front of a fire or on the sun-lit grass. There's some lovely bits of description, especially of the mountain valley, and I enjoyed the outsider PoV on Penric. I do feel like the main theological plot retread a lot of territory already amply covered by The Hallowed Hunt, but then, that's my fav ...more
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this second novella in the series Penric, who continues to be an utterly charming character, is faced with a theological puzzle and a hunt for a maybe-murderer. Although I didn't find the story itself quite as engaging as the first, I was bowled over by its resolution, and the way in which Bujold (again) manages to combine lightness and humour with the seriousness and weight of characters' inner lives.
A murder-mystery of sorts. Enjoyable but not to the level of Penric's Demon. The plot seems weaker and there are fewer amusing scenes. Part of the problem could be that I listened to the audio version instead of actually reading the novella.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gotta say -- if I were a writer, I'd be desperately jealous of Bujold's writing chops. She never fails to make me smile, and this one is no exception. From the opening paragraph with the stellar description of a curious vulture (seriously), to the scene where a Very Special Dog steals and eats scraps of deer hide and then promptly throws them up again in front of several characters (seriously!), she is always tons of fun. All the characters were great, and Bujold writes so efficiently that she ...more
Not quite what I was expecting. Quite a boring one for me. I think I will stop here. Had potential, but it's a long & tricky road to fulfill it. And , from what I've read, the writer has gone on an entirely different voyage than what I was hoping to really happen.

Leah Bayer
The last Hugo-nominated novella! And for me, my least-favorite (though I did still give it 3 stars).

I think the most impressive thing about Penric and the Shaman is that it's a sequel novella set in an already-established world but I went in blind and was never confused. The worldbuiling is handled so well, and there is enough recap of the main elements that I felt like I understood it by the end. I do wonder if that is tedious for a long-time reader, though! Are they just sitting there like "n
Peter Tillman
This one sat on the "stalled" pile for a LONG time. I can't complain about the quality of the writing -- but it just wasn't a compelling story, for me anyway. It did come to a rousing finish, though the divine-intervention business reminded me why I quit on the Five Gods stuff. I'll be a bit more skeptical about my next Penric outing. 2.5 stars, rounded up. Oh, well.
Diana Green
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I've never read anything by her that was poorly written. This however is one of the Penric and Desdemona novellas I enjoyed the least. I still liked it, but there was an overabundance of info dumps and not enough focus on the interactions between Penric and Desdemona. Des in, all her demon complexities, is one of the highlights of this series, and her presence was sorely lacking.
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: well-edited
I enjoyed this novella, as I did the previous one, though in both cases I wished there was more. The plot is quite linear, without as many complications or as much protagonist agency as is often the case with Bujold's best work. Compensating somewhat, the characters are well developed; in fact, the development of the three viewpoint characters is what primarily happens in the book.

The three are also very different: a middle-aged man who is basically a policeman, a young sorcerer/divine, and a y
You know, I did not like this as much as the first one, Penric's Demon. But Penric is adorable enough to forgive a lot, and his sweet (if a bit morbid) relationship with Desdemona is enjoyable to read about. And it is a fast read. On to the next book - Penric’s Mission!
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Somehow this manages to be better than the first. Penric has grown as a character but he's still the good, honest person introduced in the first book. Desdemona has the perfect amount of sarcasm and her (their?) relationship with Penric always makes you smile. Oswyl is a great character, having to try to do his job with the strange seeming Penric. He's far more than just a background character created for only forwarding the plot.
Christina Pilkington
A fun and entertaining fantasy. Even though we don't get as much interaction with Penric and his demon Desdemona like we did in the first novella, it's still great to watch his character mature and become more comfortable in his role as a sorcerer and divine. I also enjoyed the plot of this book more than in Penric and the Demon. Bujold has a great way with crafting characters. I look forward to reading her novel length works in the World of the Five Gods someday.
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Romance Lovers fo...: "Penric and Desdemona" by Lois McMaster Bujold 50 57 Nov 07, 2017 04:01PM  

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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse

Other books in the series

Penric and Desdemona (Publication order) (8 books)
  • Penric's Demon (Penric and Desdemona, #1)
  • Penric’s Mission (Penric and Desdemona, #3)
  • Mira's Last Dance (Penric and Desdemona, #4)
  • Penric's Fox (Penric and Desdemona, #5)
  • The Prisoner of Limnos (Penric and Desdemona, #6)
  • The Orphans of Raspay (Penric and Desdemona, #7)
  • The Physicians of Vilnoc (Penric and Desdemona, #8)

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