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Prosper's Demon

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  147 reviews
In the pitch dark, witty fantasy novella Prosper's Demon, K. J. Parker deftly creates a world with vivid, unbending rules, seething with demons, broken faith, and worse men.

In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium.

The unnamed and morally questionable narrator is an exorcist with
ebook, 58 pages
Published January 28th 2020 by
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  483 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
fulfilling book riot's 2020 read harder challenge task #17 Read a sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages)

I woke to find her lying next to me, quite dead, with her throat torn out. The pillow was shiny and sodden with blood, like low-lying pasture after a week of heavy rain. The taste in my mouth was familiar, revolting, and unmistakable. I spat into my cupped hand: bright red. Oh, for crying out loud, I thought. Here we go again.

best. opening. ever.

short and not even a little bit sweet, unless
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

I have an idea you aren't going to like me very much.

By all accounts, the above quote should be correct. A morally grey, snarky, violent, heartless antihero main character? He's awful, truly, absolutely vile at times... and yet, the joke's on you, unnamed narrator, because I happened to love this protagonist.

Prosper's Demon features one of the most unusual devices I've ever read, in that we follow an anonymous narrator who plays both hero and villain in his own story, and the casualties of
Johann (jobis89)
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“And belief, like love and sleep, is something you can’t do anything about. You can’t make it come if you want it, and you can’t make it go if you don’t.”

A short and sweet review for a short and sweet novella! First of all, thank you so much to @torbooks for sending me a free copy! I dug the hell out of this one. This is not a horror book, by any stretch of the imagination - although a few parts are somewhat gory - it’s more of a fresh take on demonic possession.

Our morally questionable narrator
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, 2019-shelf
There's a lot of great stuff going on in this novella.

My first, I believe reasonable, reaction was one of, "Hey! This is like Bujold's Penric's Demon!"

But very quickly, it went down the rabbit hole, scaring away every mouse, drenching itself in blood, and proving that art really IS mightier than the sword.

I like. A lot.

I doesn't end there. It doesn't even begin there. What I got during the reading was a treatment of the prisoner's dilemma wrapped around a despoiled world much like our own and
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rating: 8.5/10

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Prosper’s Demon in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novella.

Prosper’s Demon is a darkly humorous take on demonic extractions, written with exquisite prose and featuring a protagonist that I absolutely loved and loathed. Only Parker (aka Tom Holt) has the chops to write something so profound and complete in such a short work.

I have an idea you aren’t
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella, netgalley

I have an idea you aren’t going to like me very much. That may prove to be the only thing we’ll have in common, so let’s make the most of it. I do terrible things.

KJ Parker has mastered the art of writing short fiction. With instantly recognizable voice, unreliable narration andhumorously cynical tone, he makes me laugh, think, and loathe his protagonists.

In Prosper’s Demon the unnamed narrator can spot demons and communicate with them. The church has authorized him to evict them from
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-n-sweet, horror
Set in a world surprisingly similar to our own, Prosper's Demon was a short, but very worthwhile read.

You're not given much to work with at the start, but the story comes out over the next chapters - and though our protagonist warns that you're not going to like them, I found them surprisingly sympathetic. Certainly intelligent, more than a little cynical, and of necessity willing to ignore the rules, there's a certain tenacity that I admired.

Definitely a great novella and one I'd like to read
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
2.5 Stars
As someone loves dark fantasy and possession stories, this novella was one of my most anticipated releases for 2020. From the premise, I thought it could be a new favourite, but I was disappointed to find that this piece of short fiction did not quite fit my expectations.

This novella was written in a very literary style. While this is common for novellas, I was still hoping for a bit more focus on plot, given the synopsis. The narrative voice of the main character was easily the
K.J. Charles
Short and nasty (in a good way) novella about an exorcist and his battles with demons. Very dark and bleak, drily witty in a grim way. I mean, you like KJ Parker or you don't. Excellent writing as ever.
The Artisan Geek
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcase
------------------VIDEO REVIEW------------------

I really enjoyed Prosper's Demon! It was a dark but funny read altogether, with a marvellous ending!! A full review is to come!! ;)

Oh my gosh! Look at that cover!! A sincere thank you to for gifting me a copy of this book. :) Can't wait!!

You can find me on
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Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
There's a lot to like here in what amounts to a very amusing and unusual urban fantasy in a medieval like setting.

The story follows the exploits of a brash, hardboiled, remorseless yet somewhat cheeky exorcist for hire, who is frequently a target of demonic possession himself. The demons seem to be more intent on making trouble, or even just hiding from the protagonist, than actually committing evil deeds. Anyway, unable to permanently dispatch the demons, they are immortal after all, he takes
Delightful new novella kindred in style to Blue and Gold. Clever, witty and cynical... A great example of Parker’s writing.

Enjoyed a lot! It is definitely one of the better ones...
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
See this review and others at Whispers & Wonder

Sometimes I wonder if it's more that I hate Them than that I love my fellow humans. But nobody pays me to think that, so I don't do it often.

Prosper's Demon was my first descent into the mind of K.J. Parker, and what a curious and entertaining introduction it has been. Upon turning the final page, I immediately questioned why I've waited so long to finally dive into the works of such an incredible author, and truly regretted not doing so
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
I received an ARC from in exchange for an honest review!

I wanted to like this more than I did.

It's a very interesting premise and a fresh take on demonic possessions. But I never felt like I had enough of a grasp on the world to fully understand what in the hell (pun slightly intended) was going on. It's interesting and written well, but in the end I felt like it lacked details that made it fully immersive for me as a reader.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Here’s the deal. It is probably unwise in the extreme to be reviewing this book right now. I am soooooooooo tired and my post-surgery pain is really kicking my butt today, but I finished this book last night and I’d feel a bit remiss without saying something about it.

So, here I am.

It’s no secret that KJ Parker is my favorite author. Something about the mix of cynical wit, dark humor, and his realistic worlds just work for me on every conceivable level.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perfect Parker.
If you’re a fan already then this 100 page novella has all the best features of his writing.

It’s set in a typical Parker late Medieval world, which doesn’t have to be described in detail as its secondary to the story. The story is about our first person narrator who casts out demons from people who are usually unknowingly possessed by them. This world has a number of such demons, looking for a home in human minds, just enough of them to give him a living in this profession. Our
Christine Sandquist (eriophora)
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.

I have an idea you aren’t going to like me very much. That may prove to be the only thing we’ll have in common, so let’s make the most of it.

Prosper’s Demon is an absolutely stellar example of KJ Parker's signature wit. As always, Parker's protagonist is more than a bit of an asshole, but you have to love the wry, humorous prose he's couched in. This would be a great entry point for someone new to Parker's short fiction,

This is a novella set in the magic/demons etc universe (sort of, as details sometimes vary, but with Saloninus, Invisible Sun etc) of the author and it is one of the best of its sort - I generally prefer the smaller scale pieces in this universe, but Prosper's Demon which touches on the bigger scale issues (for example, we find out that there are some 70K odd demons per religious authority, but any demon hunter/exorciser will generally encounter only a few as they tend to stay local) manages to ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally posted to I Should Read That

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.

Prosper’s Demon was one of my most highly anticipated January releases, in part because of its astonishing cover -- yes, I am shallow. While this horror novella wasn’t necessarily what I expected or craved, I enjoyed this strange and snarky tale of demonic possession and exorcism.

This novella is a funny one, because while it does everything it says in the blurb it
Jon Adams
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The protagonist is despicable and I loved it.
Jonathan Strahan
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2020
A really strong instalment from Parker, one of his better novellas of recent year.
Thank you to for providing me with a copy of Prosper's Demon via Netgalley in exchange for my open and honest review.

Prosper's demon, written by author K.J. Parker is a ride through sarcasm, nihilism, and philosophical morality. Even though the ending made the reading of the rest of the story worth it, this book is not for everyone. It employs time jumps, a stream of conscious writing style, and an unreliable narrator.

All is not what it seems with this story.

The story starts with a
The attention to detail that KJ Parker evinced in the Two of Swords series is on full display here. The tone is equally acerbic and drily amusing, as with the account of Prosper of Schanz attempting to cast the largest bronze horse statue ever seen in this version of demon-infested Renaissance Europe. If the Trojan horse immediately springs to mind, note this is not a casual reference … but in a completely unexpected manner that makes for an explosive ending.

Not to mention an ending that seems
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exorcist who pulls immortal demons out of people's minds tangles with a genius who - yep- has just such a demon.

I have loved all four novellas and one novel by K.J. Parker that I've read. His stories are like mental puzzle boxes. They demand attention and thought. The next step in the plot is not an obvious given as so many books are today. His main characters are multi-layered, always selfish, and very intelligent.

At this point, I automatically put any new work by Parker on my TBR and
Micah Hall
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To believe or not to believe?

It's no surprise that I loved this as I've become a massive fan of KJ Parker over the years. So much so, I had to take a reading break from (the wonderful) Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams when this novella landed on my doorstep.

As per usual, you find yourself following a cynical, witty Parker lead who specializes in exorcising demons from unwitting citizens in a vaguely Renaissance inspired time frame. What makes this story so interesting is the philosophical
Ayesha (The Fifth Marauder)
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Well this was a surprisingly dark and wonderfully intelligent read.

Prosper's Demon is a well crafted gothic novella that combines a darkly satirical narrative with a brief but interesting plot line.

While the narrator repeatedly warns the reader that he is unlikable, I found him to be very interesting. His actions, especially at the end, were positively ingenious.

The book started off with a bang, and I was immediately hooked. While it got a little redundant around the middle, regarding the making
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it

Prosper’s Demon is a darkly funny novella about an exorcist.

The story is well told, through the snarky, sarcastic voice of the narrator. Even though the tone is funny, the writing is absolutely beautifully crafted, There were stunningly vivid descriptive phrases that really caught my eye.

“The pillow was shiny and sodden with blood, like low-lying pasture after a week of heavy rain.”

The plot itself is pretty fast-paced, there’s not much space for unnecessary details. Parker does a really good
J.A. Ironside
ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Prosper's Demon is a strange, compelling little tale. Told from the POV of a cleric/ demon hunter (though not in the Winchester way) the reader is taken on a journey through a world like ours or a historical version of ours, but different. Demons exist alongside humans but they are unseen and intangible to all but those with particular aptitude. Demon nature seems to be to cause mischief and harm which they do via possession. The
Stefan Fergus
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Another intriguing novella, with a fascinating narrator and story. Superb.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: january-2020
Thank you to for providing me with a copy of Prosper's Demon via Netgalley in exchange for my open and honest review.

Prosper's demon, written by author K.J. Parker is a ride through sarcasm, nihilism, and philosophical morality. Even though the ending made the reading of the rest of the story worth it, this book is not for everyone. It employs time jumps, a stream of conscious writing style, and an unreliable narrator.

All is not what it seems with this story.

The story starts with a
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K.J. Parker is a pseudonym for Tom Holt.

According to the biographical notes in some of Parker's books, Parker has previously worked in law, journalism, and numismatics, and now writes and makes things out of wood and metal. It is also claimed that Parker is married to a solicitor and now lives in southern England. According to an autobiographical note, Parker was raised in rural Vermont, a
“It’s a bizarre but widespread myth that only heroes have good qualities, and the only qualities heroes have are good; villains are, by definition, all bad. Bullshit.” 2 likes
“Partly, he said, he enjoyed my company; it wasn’t often that he had a chance to talk to someone whose mind was so little cluttered with education or accepted opinions— (“You mean I’m stupid.” “Good heavens, no. Just ignorant.”)” 1 likes
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