Kristen's Reviews > A Devil in the Details

A Devil in the Details by K.A. Stewart
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's review
Jun 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, fiction
Read on June 06, 2012 , read count: 1

This book made me tremendously happy.

The most obvious let's-bring-a-smile-to-Kristen's-face moment was the humour included in the book. Stewart is a witty lady, and she uses parentheses like a goddess. The character was funny, his observances were amusing, and there were plenty of moments when I was laughing out loud.

While I was reading (and I started and finished this today, so there was little time to do non-essentials... like eating, and feeding the cats, and chasing those damned robins away from my garden; PS, robins, the war for the strawberry patch begins anew tomorrow, you little-), I was completely pulled in by the plot. Let's be real; this is no Gardens of the Moon; the plot is easy to follow, it's one character and his adventures, there is not a tremendous amount of world building, and there is little in the way of new magical rules for us to learn. However, this was a very well-written, interesting plot, and Stewart takes the time to be intelligent with it. She has several threads to weave in, and they are cleverly introduced. Most of them I saw coming, but the narration is not obnoxious about them(coughA Local Habitationcoughcough), and the surprises to Jessie are believable.

And while the deal-with-the-devil is not necessarily a new idea that takes a lot of explanation, it is by no means poorly used here. Stewart brings us into a fully realized world where the Champions are battling to save those repenting few who have found themselves at the other end of a bargain with a demon and realize that the fine print always holds a nasty little trick... or that eternal damnation may be a steep price to pay for whatever they were so desperate for. The way in which this hidden world is written is actually completely believable, and doesn't feel out of place in the shadows of our own universe. The scattered, solitary Champions is a great image in itself, and Stewart sets up an entire culture, history and community that I really want to play in.

Lastly, the joy only grew as I finished this book an went upon my merry way, blinking in sunlight, feeding a starved body, trying to coax my cats from their hatred, etc. I think what I really liked about this was the original way in which Stewart wrote the main character and narrator, Jessie James. (view spoiler)

And what I think I liked most about this character was that he chose to become the hero of this story. He has chosen a way of life he believes in, and the place he is at the beginning of this book is clear from a series of choices he has had to make. He hasn't been born with magical powers, or wealth, or genius intellect, or prophesy... He made the decision to be an honourable man, and then made the even more difficult decision to stick by that honour even when it meant that life was going to get tough... That's a pretty cool hero. Yes, he is probably too self-sacrificing to live more that a year outside of a bubble, but overall the more I think about him, the more I like him. (view spoiler)

The secondary characters are fully fleshed, for the most part. You have some of the stereotypes here, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. My current favourite has to be Axel (view spoiler), but the whole idea of the Grapevine, his family dynamics, the drama-queen blacksmith and the Mr Universe-style hacker geek creates a strong world for Jessie to move around in.

I am disappointed that my local library doesn't have the sequel in yet, since I was so into this story and universe that I was (and am) really looking forward to getting the next in the Jessie James books as soon as possible.

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message 1: by Carol. (last edited Jun 08, 2012 06:37PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Carol. *cough, cough* Whatever plot could you mean?
I think I'll have to check this one out--your review makes it sound like a good read. Oh wait, it is. Well, I'll bump it up. ;)

Can't you put your cats to work in the strawberry patch?

Kristen I wish I could. If my cats didn't hate my guts, they may be more inclined to help me out. As it is... they would probably bite me and then run away.

And then come back and then bite me again.

It was good. Whenever I write a good review, I always feel like I have to go back to it and edit some critique into it after. There is a little bit in here that's not perfect, but I still like the character, plot and writing, overall, so go ahead and read it. But don't blame me if you don't like. Blame my cats. (This is why they hate me)

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