Penric's suit flops

Loved it. This novella is the conclusion to the previous one, Penric’s Mission. Remember I griped about that one: that it didn’t have an ending. Now it does, with Mira’s Last Dance.

This story is much lighter in tone than Penric’s Mission, with moments of unrestrained hilarity interlaced with sadness. Penric’s mission is a success, all the characters are safe; they found what they were looking for, or at least got as close as it was possible in the confines of their world, but the story doesn’t have a happily-ever-after I hoped for. The woman Penric fell in love with turned him down.

I thought about it. I like Penric and I wanted him to be happy, but I couldn’t blame the author for finishing her story this way. It was logical and couldn’t turn otherwise. Penric possesses a huge personality, plus his demon Desdemona with her dozen previous lives, plus Penric’s multi-faceted education. He is huge on the inside, a giant of culture and magic, a Renaissance man of his fantasy universe.

His love interest, Nikys, on the other hand, is a brave and kind woman, but she doesn’t seem to have a personality at all. No education. No goals of her own except a quiet and secure little life with a quiet and secure little husband in a quiet and secure little house. Penric couldn’t offer her that. His life is bound to be big and turbulent. He carries a demon of chaos inside himself after all. Of course, Nikys refused his proposal.   

Penric’s partner should be either 100% dedicated to him, like so many wives of the geniuses of our world. Nikys clearly is not. Her first priority is her brother. Or Penric’s partner could be a personality in her own right – a talented artist or musician, maybe. Someone with goals and aspirations of her own. Someone who is unusual herself – because her talent drives her towards nonconformity and originality – so she wouldn’t be freaked out by the weirdness that surrounds Penric and his demon. Nikys doesn’t have a talent either. She is just an average, prosaic woman who sees that they don’t suit and acts accordingly. Still, it made me a bit sad.


Note to librarians: the BL database doesn't seem to have the cover for this book, so I pulled it here from GR.