Regular price: $27.99
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $27.99
I have become a big fan of modern (often urban) fantasy because I've found that this genre is just the right fit for me when I have to deal with something I hate - mostly jogging, housework, or being sick in bed - those times that I really need a good distraction but don't have the wherewithal for "deep" literature. I don't expect this kind of fiction to be War and Peace, but I still really appreciate good writing; great characters, engrossing plot, wide and descriptive vocabulary, etc. There have been several series I have enjoyed a lot - Iron Druid, Dresden Files, Peter Grant, Sookie Stackhouse to name a few - but Felix Castor is my new Favorite because this is some of the best writing I've come across in this genre. I can hardly believe that Mike Carey is best known for comics and graphic novels because he is such a good writer.
Felix Castor is a exorcist in a modern world that has veered strangely off-track. Ghosts, spirits, and demons that may have been around all along have suddenly made their presence well and truly known to almost everyone and a lot of consternation and some mayhem is the result. Felix with his innate talent for being able to "name that ghost's tune" and play the spirit on outta here with his whistle is in a primo position to rake in the big bucks except for one thing - this spirit detective is carrying some heavy duty baggage. Felix isn't haunted by a ghost, he's haunted by his own past and although he's an avowed atheist he has never successfully shut down his own conscience. Felix's own moral sense is what drives him to be a detective in addition to an exorcist; he has to understand why things are happening as they are rather just banishing the spirit miscreant out of hand. The character of Felix Castor is wonderfully complex and so interesting - he's got a self deprecating dry humor that comes through in every thought or word; he's brash, thoughtful, stubborn, loyal and totally a guy you'd want to be friends with.
Like Dresden or Peter Grant, the Felix Castor series is all told First Person so the voice of the central character on audio is critical. Michael Kramer as the narrator for the first three books is simply marvelous. His voice has just a touch of the Joe Friday world-weary detective tone in it to sound just right for Felix and he does good character voices (including good voices for women and demons). My only criticism of the series as a whole is that the narrator changes to Damian Lynch with book 4. It's not that Mr. Lynch is bad, it's just that I find it really irritating that audio production companies have so little respect for their customers that they can't appreciate how frustrating such a change is especially with a First Person narrative. So, if you listen to The Devil You Know, you should just be aware that you will probably want the whole series and you'll have to face the narrator change down the road.
The magic system is unique, interesting, and consistent; the characters are engaging and multi-dimensional and both the real people and the other-worldly have unique personalities (interesting twists on zombies and succubi); the prose is dark and rich with much sardonic wit woven in; and the plot lines are very entertaining. The series is set up like the best of serial stories with a primary plot that is resolved in each book and overarching story lines that tie the series together and provide for a grand finale in the last book. I got so caught up in this series that I listened to all five books before I could make myself take time to write a review. However, the plus side of that is that I can recommend not only this book, but the whole series to anyone who has a taste for Urban Fantasy. And, there are rumors that Carey will publish a sixth book in the series (maybe 2013?) so you want to be ready!
51 of 53 people found this review helpful
This was the best urban fantasy audiobook I've listened to ever. I bemoan the fact that Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series isn't available here, and up to now, I've had to make do with Kelley Armstrong and Charlaine Harris. Both of the latter are competent writers, but they always bog down the plot with romance elements.
Then along comes Mike Carey and melds the world of urban fantasy with the quirky, cynical narrative voice of the hard-boiled detective novels I loved as a teen. The characters are sharply drawn, the plot moves along swiftly and had me guessing right to the end, and the hero is someone I would like to spend an evening drinking with.
I agree with other reviewers that the voice actor did an excellent job of narrating the story, hitting just the right balance between snarky and straight-on suspenseful.
I just wish it were July already, so I could listen to the next book in this series.
44 of 47 people found this review helpful