Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Physicians of Vilnoc, by Lois McMaster Bujold

★★★★☆ A Satisfying Adventure in the Company of Great Characters

(Fantasy Adventure; Five Gods) Penric tries to deal with an epidemic, which stretches his powers to the breaking point. (42,806 words; Time: 2h:22m)

To fully appreciate this story, you need to have already read the seven before it, starting with “Penric’s Demon.” If you have not at least read the first two, this will likely be confusing.

"The Physicians of Vilnoc," by , published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2020.398 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Penric and Des are as entertaining as ever, and its nice to see them face a challenge that doesn’t lend itself to brute force. Desdemona is a tool for chaos, and an epidemic is already a force of chaos, so Penric is very much trying to navigate upstream with his boat in reverse.

Rede and Dubro are both fun characters. They’re both just as nice as Penric, but with very different backgrounds and perspectives.

I particularly liked it that Penric ultimately appeals to his god for help. Penric is a Divine, after all, and he’s supposed to be a religious figure, not just a superhero, so it was nice to see him in that role. And it was amusing and fitting that the god’s help involved showing Penric how the infection spreads—by infecting Penric himself!

Con: the plot itself is fairly simple; the only real antagonist is the plague itself. Everyone else is more or less on the same side. The Rusylli aren’t cooperative, but they’re also just a very small part of the story.

The story offers some mild emotional moments, but none of the big payoffs we got in stories like “Penric’s Demon” and “Penric and the Shaman.”

Other Reviews: Search Web, GoodReads.com
Lois McMaster Bujold Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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