Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold

Recommended for fans of light fantasy
Read October  2021
★   ★   ★   

An improvement on the first book, Penric and the Demon, the shaman’s story picks up four years later. Penric has finished school and is working for the Princess-Archdivine.  There’s been a murder, and Penric and Desmonda have been sent to aid the Locater Oswyl  to find the chief suspect, Inglis the shaman. Penric is very interested in learning more about shamanic magic while Inglis is struggling with his own metaphorical demons.

I had fully expected this book was going to be Penric at the magic academy, so was surprised to pick up the story four years in advance of the first book. Once I accepted the new and more decisive Penric as part of the new status quo, it was easier to enjoy the story.

The shaman’s story has a dual plot line, shifting between focus on the shaman and on Oswyl and Penric’s search.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of context for the shamanic story, picking up in media res of him on the run. This might be Bujold’s way of maintaining suspense as to whether or not Inglis is the murderer. At any rate, eventually it all becomes clear.

The style reminds me very much of Mercedes Lackey’s By the Sword and early Valdemar series. There’s very much a set of core values operating here; everyone is sincere, honest and courageous. It’s refreshing, honestly, when there are so many anti-heroes and moral dilemmas. It goes down quickly and easily, a pleasant little diversion. On to the next.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
This entry was posted in Book reviews, Epic fantasy, fantasy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold

  1. Andreas says:

    I‘ve read this but left no review. Liked it, but wasn’t particularly impressed. It’s a kind of fast food in between.
    I thought about reading Valdemar but just can’t decide if I really want to dive in.

    • thebookgator says:

      This is very much in the same philosophical and stylistic vein. I’m not criticizing, mind you. But this is the grilled cheese/tomato soup of the fantasy world. 😀 If the meal translates. 😁

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