Every few months, I check Amazon for a new Bujold story. Bujold is brilliant at making her characters engaging, seems like a modernized version of Georgette Heyer (Heyer is a modernized version of Jane Austen) in her character development. I yearn for just one more to read.
The Orphans of Raspay is not the place to start appreciating Penric. In my view, the first Penric book, Penric's Demon, is the best, because it sets out the rules for magic, demons and gods. Then, the subsequent books deepen your understanding of Penric, Desdemona and magic.
Orphans is like a sherbet course at dinner: it is small and focused (whole story occurs during a fairly short timeframe). Penric is captured by pirates, meets two orphans, realizes he is the Bastard's answer to the prayers of the orphans' mother, appoints himself their caretaker since the orphans are children of his god, the Bastard, then spends most of the rest of the book escaping, using Desdemona's demon magic to unleash chaos on the bad guys. The joy of this story is in the character interactions crafted by Bujold - you are reading a master's work and you know it. The best part is the interactions after the ships are damaged (not gonna give the plot away, read Bujold's novella).
Orphans seems like a set-up for the next book (whatever it will be), wherein the orphans will be young adults and command magic themselves. Just my guess. So, my appetite for Bujold stories, already voracious, is further whetted. Ms. Bujold, if you're reading this, please know that I want more of your characters!!! I love and often re-read the part in Paladin of Souls (occurs about 100 years after the Penric series) where Ista eats a demon (not going to spoil the story for those who haven't read it).