Demon daughter by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Another novella starring Learned Penric and his Temple demon Desdemona will thrill fans of the series. When Otta, a six-year-old girl, becomes possessed by a brand-new demon Penric is called to the village that has taken her in. Unable to control the fire that she can call she has been cast into a well to keep everyone safe, and Penric must rescue her. His duty to his god means that he should cast out the demon, but Desdemona rejects this and the pair are cast into conflict. As usual, the pair’s quest is to help whenever they are called upon, but this time their difference in opinion is very painful. How will they resolve this problem and bring harmony back?

I found the background to Demon daughter very appealing. Scenes of domesticity are described and Penric’s love for his wife Nikys and daughter are very evident. The story is often told from the point of view of Otta who describes her tribulations in a matter-of-fact way, and Bujold manages to get inside the mind of a six-year-old with skill and empathy. Nikys plays a significant role in the novella; she is helpful, loving and clear sighted about what could happen to Otta and prepared for the upheaval that another child in the family could bring.

Although Demon daughter is short, it is multilayered and has a very satisfying conclusion. It is a powerful and memorable story and left me wishing I had another new book in this series to read immediately.

Themes: Fantasy, Demons.

Pat Pledger

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