Prosper’s Demon, K.J. Parker – Book Review

Hello Humans! How often do you read novellas? I must say for me it’s fairly infrequent – I tend to find all my time is taken up by reading huge chunky fantasy tomes and I don’t gravitate towards shorter books very often. I’ve been making an effort to shake up my reading and slot more novellas into my TBR – that made Prosper’s Demon, an upcoming novella from Tor, the perfect addition to my January reading. But how did it go?

Prospers Demon

Goodreads Summary:

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 great follow-through and few doubts. His methods aren’t delicate but they’re undeniably effective: he’ll get the demon out—he just doesn’t particularly care what happens to the person.

Prosper of Schanz is a man of science, determined to raise the world’s first philosopher-king, reared according to the purest principles. Too bad he’s demonically possessed.

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I thought that most of this novella was excellent. I thought that the book did a good job of capturing the relentlessness of the unnamed narrator’s job, the constant ‘war’ against the demons that plague the world. I was expecting to really hate the narrator as a result – I don’t always get on with reading miserable perspectives – but there’s a certain give and take that managed to keep things feeling fairly light and not too intense.

I also enjoyed the dialogue between the narrator and the other characters, most notably the demons, which injects and an element of humour into the story that I wasn’t expecting. It’s probably one of the strongest elements to the story, the cynicism and the wit comes through best in the patches of dialogue.

My biggest criticism with this novella was the ending, it’s a common difficulty I have with short stories and novellas in particular, where the story has to have an ending and that ending sometimes comes out of nowhere. In this case it was incredibly sudden and very jarring, contrasting with some of the best short stories and novellas I have read which tend to favour a more open conclusion to the book. In a book that spends a huge amount of time going into the minutiae of bronze statue casting I did feel a little cheated by that conclusion. 

Overall, I think the writing is wonderful and the story is fascinating, the characters rich and worth a read – I just wish there had been a slightly different ending. 

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a digital advanced review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 

Prosper’s Demon Publishes January 28th!

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Is this on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below!


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