What to Expect
In this second novella, Penric and the Shaman, the protagonist is more mature than his new-adult start. The story itself alternates between three viewpoints, those of Penric and his companions, showing us how remarkable Penric really is. It is a story that builds up on the magic system, on the world and its gods, it is a story of hunting and being hunted, but above all its a story about redemption.
What I liked
The writing style is charming, the protagonist approachable and likeable, and the world is interesting. Even though it’s a short novella, it captures the sense of the fantasy world and makes you want to read more. The dense multi-layered construction make for fascinating and engaging reading on many levels.
What to be aware of
As mentioned, this is a very quick read with sympathetic characters. Don’t expect sprawling intrigues or world-crushing dangers, but more of a classic fantasy stories like those of LeGuin.
Felix was intrigued by the concept of sorcerers being possessed of demons as the source of their power, and of a world where it snows so often (at least to his Mediterranean-like sensibilities). He wasn't sure what to make on Penric, a tad on the naive side, but recons he'll grow up to be a very interesting and formidable sorcerer.
Highly recommended for the sheer joy of reading. Get your copy, and dive into this charming tale of a young man venturing out into the world and finding his place. I am certainly looking forward to the other Penric’s novellas, as well as the rest of Bujold’s fantasy writing.