Prosper's DemonProsper’s Demon by K.J. Parker
My rating: 4/5 cats
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fulfilling book riot’s 2020 read harder challenge task #17 Read a sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages)

I woke to find her lying next to me, quite dead, with her throat torn out. The pillow was shiny and sodden with blood, like low-lying pasture after a week of heavy rain. The taste in my mouth was familiar, revolting, and unmistakable. I spat into my cupped hand: bright red. Oh, for crying out loud, I thought. Here we go again.

best. opening. ever.

short and not even a little bit sweet, unless you count the sweet sweet taste of revenge, this novella has more depth than its length would suggest.

it features a man whose honorable birthright is to hunt hell’s 72,936 demons on earth. a highly skilled exorcist, he stretches the definition of “honorable,” as honor isn’t really part of his prey’s makeup, and he’s rightfully peeved at the demons for their habit of invading his own body and making him do things he wouldn’t ordinarily do, like waking up beside the corpse of a murdered woman with his hands all bloody. part of a guild, he is himself only responsible for the 109 demons operating within his jurisdiction-grid, but that’s plenty to handle, especially when one of those demons really has it in for him. see the aforementioned bloody hands.

this is a tale of strategy and power plays, not-so-good and evil, double-triple crossings, demonic possession, and scruples? who needs ’em?

this exorcist is very good at his job. there will be casualties.

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