Thursday, April 05, 2012
A Devil in the Details by K.A. Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked this one a lot. It felt like a very well-established world that we were just invited into, it just had a different tone than a lot of urban fantasy books. Part of that is because it was set in the real world, in Kansas City, Missouri, the Show Me State. It also came from the author's choices in establishing Jesse as a somewhat more mature man, not a young kid just starting out. He's around thirty, married and madly in love with his wife, Mira, a powerful magic user as well, and they have an adorable five year-old daughter, Annabelle. Yet he's also a cool young guy, kind of a hippie in appearance with a proclivity for tee-shirts with inappropriate sayings, but really a modern Samurai in spirit and actions. He's in the prime of his career as a Champion, helping people who've sold their souls to devils, reclaiming them by literally fighting for them.
The author does a great job of establishing this really normal world of suburban life juxtaposed with the jeopardy of someone needing to fight against the evil the devils are committing and showing how Jesse and his wife, Mira, are willing to be the ones take the risks involved in doing what's right despite the mortal jeopardy it puts him in every time. I likes the story and the twists, I liked all of the supporting characters, including Jesse's mentor, Ivan, a tough former probably-Soviet or Eastern Block agent of some sort, and Mira's best friend and Jesse's ex, Dr. Bridget. It was a little too convenient that Jesse's old neighbor and best buddy, Marty, was a welder with a passion to be a blacksmith, but it did explain how he took care of his swords and armor. And most intriguing of all was the demon, Axel, who was either trying to steal Jesse's soul or trying to help him by telling him that something sinister was going on beyond the normal contract he expected. Or both. It was a good set up for the next book.
And again, with all of these characters and situations there were so many touches that made it feel real and down to earth, such as the mention of how bad the padding in the armor smelled of sweat and blood, that no matter what he did he could never get it clean. It was just another thing made it feel really real. There was a lot in this book that felt more mature than I expected from a new author. It wasn't perfect, there were some pacing issues, but overall I really like Jesse and this situation the author has established and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
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