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 somet..Show More »hing 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!
I had been waiting for this book when I learned that there was a sequel to _The Devil You Know_, and I was not disappointed.
It loses a s..Show More »ingle star because there are a couple of points where the plot is just a little too contrived, but the depth of the characters and the skill of the storytelling more than make up for it.
yes, the world is gritty and realistic. Everything is well thought out. The characters are well developed and you really care about what happens to th..Show More »em. There is enough mystery involved to keep you guessing.
Story is as good as first 3, but they changed the narrator, which really ruins this series for me. Does the publisher really not understand how criti..Show More »cal the voices are in an audio book to building the character? I know the author creates the story, but the performance aspect of audiobooks should not be discounted, as it obviously was on this series. If the prior narrator was poor, that's one thing, but he wasn't. The history I felt with Felix is totally disrupted now with some "stranger" pretending to be him. I will not buy more audio books in this series.