Kristen's Reviews > The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, fiction
Read from June 27 to 28, 2012 , read count: 1

Not only did Carey manage to have everything in this book that makes urban fantasy great, but he managed to do it well. I was thoroughly captivated from the first, and that has everything to do with Carey's ability to weave a story. The man knows what he's doing.

I'll wax poetic about the characters and the plot and the writing later. But what really sets this book is Carey's understanding of how to put a story together. The plot really does flow. Shit happens, and it is exciting shit. Not only that, but Carey understands when a little action is needed, how much of the mystery we need to get hooked, and how long he can drag it out. He introduced a few sub-plots to keep the story going, but he didn't over-develop these; they were given the attention they needed until they provided their function and then were dropped. There was little repetition of ideas (view spoiler), which kept everything moving forward. He steps up the pacing at a perfect point, keeping the excitement going until the climax of the novel. The fifth star is for Carey's pacing alone - plenty of authors have an original, interesting, engaging story to tell, but fall short in the telling. Carey did not. Colour me impressed. Or stalker-style-in-love. I'm not sure yet.

Felix was a great main character to lead the story with. He is a typical urban fantasy male lead in a lot of ways, with his smart-ass humour, his white-knight routine, his dark past, his magic PI-type business, but Carey throws in some hardboiled aspects that work really well and gave the character and the world a grittier feel that makes it stand out. Felix has a place to go in this novel, and the transformation of his character is small but vital and gives us a chance to really get to know him. I liked it; it was obvious that he wasn't going to be a changed man, this is a series, afterall, but the character development was nice. The supporting characters were interesting and had some surprises to them that I really liked.

Speaking of, the demon-folk populating this story were so inhuman, it was disturbing. Often these characters populate the stories in this genre, only different from humans in the most superficial ways, but Carey really goes there with them.

The story itself, like I said, was well-written and really got me going. It was actually scary (I am probably a 2 on a to-ten tolerance scale of horror, keep in mind, with 10 being yawning in a horror flick and 1 being pissing your pants at the cover of Child's Play when you come across it unexpectedly), which doesn't usually happen for me in this kind of story. Carey borrows from the horror genre with some of the scene set-ups and the descriptions of the haunting, and does it really well.

I'm hoping the last-minute introduction (or, re-introduction, I guess) of a character doesn't ruin the second book, but I will be looking up Carey's other projects for sure. Loved this book.
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Reading Progress

06/27/2012 page 35
9.0% ""Most of the time... she'd just be standing there... You'd feel something, like the gust of air when a door opens, and you'd look around and see her. Watching you." Perfect. Now I'm not sleeping tonight."
06/28/2012 page 150
37.0% "Lights on tonight.. This book is messing with my head, no joke."
12/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Carol. Love your progress notes! I too am on the 'wimp' side of the scale of horror.

Kristen I actually did leave a light on, lol. It was something about that imagery that really freaked me out! It made the book so different from other UF books I've read lately, though, which was partly why I liked it so much.

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