In the pitch dark, witty fantasy novella Prosper's Demon, K. J. Parker deftly creates a world with vivid, unbending rules, seething with demons, broken faith, and worse men.
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 outhe 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.
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|Product dimensions:||4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Having worked in journalism, numismatics and the law, K. J. Parker now writes for a precarious living. He is the author of Devices and Desires, Evil for Evil, The Devil You Know, and other novels. K J Parker also writes under the name Tom Holt, and has won the World Fantasy Award twice.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've found the best way to enjoy a book is going in with no expectations, and that' exactly what I did with Prosper's Demon. This witty, wicked little book was exactly what I didn't know I needed, offering up a serving of snarky commentary on a world that could almost be our own if it weren't for the fact that demons abound. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Our narrator, as the synopsis says, is both lacking in name and an exorcist of demons. He's not always the most reliable voice and his choices are often on the questionable side but he's almost a good person. It depends on the day. This ambiguous moral compass is exactly what sucked me into the story because you're in his head. You're experiencing the world as he does when he does, the decisions to be made, the tough choices where there are no good choices, only the lesser of two evils. There were sort of two stories going on despite the short length of the novella. We have the narrator, the exorcist, traveling around and evicting demons from human hosts who is faced with the choice of defeating evil now to hinder the Greater Plan marginally in the future. And then there's his relationship/vendetta against one demon in particular. Somehow both stories combine into this overarching examination of belief vs science, good vs evil, and reality vs art. To be honest, I expected Prosper's Demon to be... darker. After all, we're dealing with demons and exorcism and just look at the cover! Doesn't it suggest something less light and fluffy? But turns out looks are deceiving because though there are darker undertones to the commentary as a whole, the actual story presentation is lighter. Conversational. Even the narrator, who makes the claim that we as the reader won't be a fan of him, is intriguing. Yes, he does some questionable things and blurs the line between good and evil to the point that it no longer exists, but there was that little bit of goodness. He thinks about doing the right thing even when that's not always what happens, and it's enough of a redemption to hook me as a reader. I don't have much else to say about Prosper's Demon. If you like your protagonists with a twisted sense of humor and demons who aren't your typical demons, and some backhanded commentary on greater world questions, I think you're really going to enjoy this short book. I couldn't get enough and almost wish it was longer (though that would likely take away from its charm). Make sure to have Prosper's Demon on your reading radar!
Prosper's Demon by K.J. Parker is a somehow delightful novella about a man who has the special "gift" of detecting and removing demons that have taken residence in other humans. This man has found himself in a constant stuggle with one particular demon that can't seem to leave him alone. Told in first person, the narrator's sarcastic and self-deprecating tone really worked for me. The narrator is a deeply flawed human, which made for an interesting exploration of the nature of so-called heroes and villains. I also enjoyed the setting of the novella, where the idea of demons is just beginning to go out of style in favor of scientific explanations for possession, which gives the reader just enough pause to wonder what is really going on. Overall, Prosper's Demon is a nice short read to spend an afternoon with. Thank you Netgalley and Tor.com for my free review copy. All opinions are my own.
Prosper’s Demon is the latest novella from the mind of K.J. Parker, and it is a beautifully twisted mess of horror and superstition. This is a world in which demons and a select few mortals face off, again and again. Demons are real. And they can do all of the things whispered about in horror stories. And yet there are few – very few – humans with the ability to see them. Better yet, they have the ability to eject these demons from their unwilling human hosts - at a cost. “I have an idea you aren’t going to like me very much. That may prove to be the only thing we’ll have in common, so let’s make the most of it.” Prosper’s Demon was a chilling experience, and well worth the read. This disturbing tale is full of demons and terrors, alongside the best and worst that humanity has to offer. The juxtaposition was alarming at times, but done in the cleverest of ways. There was a lot to love about this novella. First, there’s the narrator – who is never actually given a name. The lack of name adds to his unreliability, as well as further distancing him from humanity itself. Such a clever and elegant trick. But one that took the writing so far. The complex relationship between demons and the humans that can see them is fascinating. It’s also disturbing, in ways that send off those internal alarm bells. You know exactly what I mean by that – those people that you just instinctively know never to trust. Prosper’s Demon was beautifully written, full of lush detail and character development, all the while showing a twisted war played out by a broken mind. It’s chilling and captivating all at once. And I very much wish that I could have kept on reading. But that is the price we pay for reading novellas, isn’t it? If so, then it was well worth the price.
This novella is a clever, sharp toothed little beast. It’s violent and wicked but not without some very black humour. From the first sentence I was drawn into this world, so very like our own but not quite the same. A resemblance to the Renaissance period with Prosper as a Da Vinci figure is unmistakable but with the alarming and often amusing addition of demon possession. From the unnamed demon hunter/exorcist main character, to Prosper and the demons themselves, the characters are vibrant and so very genuine in their terribleness. The ending was surprising and it made me shake my head and chuckle a little guiltily at the same time. I would love to see more stories with these characters and to delve deeper into this strangely familiar world. As it stands with just this one story I am satisfied by how it concluded but I would really love further adventures and mayhem. I can only hope for a novel or two in the future. Heck, I'd read a whole series! Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
An unnamed narrator has a special gift. The ability to extract demons from people, to violently pull the being out of the host… There are only certain number (72,936) of demons in the entire world and they are immortal. And it is in the odds that our main character will run into a couple of them several times throughout his life. This sets up a fun ongoing relationship that we will see in the novella. After a couple of opening purifications, we find ourselves amongst royalty and the “smartest man on the face of the Earth,” Prosper of Schanz. He has set himself the goal of instructed the newborn philosopher-king. But when you have a demon possessing the master, it will be a curious education indeed. I’m going with a list on this review. What I liked: The glorious descriptions of the extractions… “tendrils” that have found themselves anchored in the host. The banter between the narrator and the demons. There’s wit and threats… and a bit of pleading. But in the end… The atmosphere. Castles and clergy. Dark laws and broken men. It’s a fun world to explore. What was puzzling: Just one thing. There’s meat on the bone, but just not enough at times. At just over 100 pages, I was left wanting more. More of the narrator, maybe a bit more his backstory, and I just wanted more of this world. 4 out of 5 stars