Stuart's Reviews > The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know by Mike Carey
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Jun 30, 12


I've read a fair few urban fantasy books over the years. I've even been responsible for a couple. But the Felix Castor series is quite a rare combination of things in that field. It has a male protagonist for one thing, it's set in the UK, and it's also doing proper urban fantasy rather than drifting off onto the edges of paranormal romance as so much of the rest sometimes does.

In Felix Castor, Carey has a hero who might remind some readers of Harry Dresden, in that he's a basically honest, occasionally rough around the edges bloke who has some magical powers, is inclined to make jokes, tends to be behind on the rent, and wears a long coat. Fair enough, but the detail is so different, it ends up being a lazy comparison.

For me, Castor is more of an ordinary guy with a few extra talents, and that's part of the appeal here. We've got a world where there is certainly plenty of 'magic' (or at least the manipulation of ghosts and so on), but the main character achieves whatever he does primarily through his wits rather than by being bigger and badder than the rest. This for me eliminates one of the major issues with urban fantasy, where the hero can end up looking like Superman after a few books.

Carey draws his world sharply, making use of the feel of a certain kind of London to give this novel and the sequels a really unique feel. There's a real feel for the geography of the city here, or at least the tone of it. I have no way of knowing if the detail is right, but that doesn't really matter.

Perhaps the best compliment I can pay this is that I read it in two sittings. It just held me from the first page to the last. This is a writer whose urban fantasy is as good as anyone else's out there.
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Anna Totally agree it's not ass kicking UF and that's what I like about it.


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