I thought this was going to be a decent, but somewhat cheesy Urban Fantasy knock-off of the Dresden Files. Given that the Dresden books are the current standard at least for male UF, I am going to provide a little insight into my feelings about that series so that you will better understand my comment about this books superiority. HARRY DRESDEN THOUGHTS For the most part, I am fan of the Harry Dresden BOOKS because I think that the world that Jim Butcher has created is really something special in the realm of Urban Fantasy and that the plots are well developed and engaging....HOWEVER, I have ONE BIG PROBLEM with the Dresden books and that, unfortunately, is good old Harry Dresden himself. END HARRY DRESDEN THOUGHTS So given my feelings for Harry and his sense of humor I was very happy to come across Felix Castor in this story. As for the writing, I thought it was much better than I had expected and had a real crisp, polish to it that came across especially well with Felixs dry, sarcastic dialogue.
Shades of horror and dark urban fantasy blended into a noir mystery that kept me guessing until the end. Felix Castor gets added to my roster of male lead urban fantasy go-to characters. Instead, he merely chooses not to look deeply into those aspects of the world he is confronted with, much like a stubborn person who refuses to look at the person who is in authority over him. I never thought of weres the way that Carey explains them, and I appreciate the novel elements here. Clearly zombies (although not called by that name) exist, but they are just another aspect that Carey doesn't explain to death. He merely puts this oddness out there in a real world context, and lets the reader do what they like with the information. His characterization is very good, he sets atmosphere with a deft, expert hand, and he imparts a sophisticated flavor to this noir urban fantasy that I found very seductive. It captures what I like very well in my urban fantasy.
I too thought of Harry Dresden while I was reading, but I found Felix Castor to be more likeable, and the overall story more enjoyable. His self-reflection lacks the self-indulgent, whining, "why-me?" tone that some heroes have (I'm talking to you, Harry Dresden). The plot is along the lines of a "resolve the mystery and figure out how the pieces fit together" with a fair amount of action keeping the pace going.
Hell, I like Constantine, so this is pretty much perfect for me.
Yay, this was on my Kindle for a long time, and since my romance-kick has cooled, I picked it up.
There is a huge difference in this character, the world he functions in and the overall "feel" of the book. "Fix" is a far more nihilistic guy than Harry will ever be and the book feels far more "chill" to me in it's over all point of view. The more comfortable you are with English idiom, probably the better, but that can be said about American idiom in many other books, Australian, in others and so on. Fix had a bad experience that introduced him to his "gift" when he was young and then later, as a young man had another that caused him to "swear off" his exorcist gig. The novel has a few subtexts and we see Fix all the way through mentally chewing over the after life, what may be going on with all the dead and undead and...big question....where do these ghosts etc.
Also, it's one of those books where the main character does a lot of thinking and explaining to the audience and I'm left wondering what the other characters are doing when he's taking 10 minutes to explain demons or whatever.
The protagonist Felix is a likeable guy - his outlook works, his humors fun, he's a good sort. Overall a dark, gritty Urban Fantasy with a strong mystery, an enjoyable voice via the main character, and creepy touches with demon and ghost appearances. I couldn't get fully emerged in this story, but it warrants trying the sequel out.
I think what really hurt this novel was that Mike Carey was writing in a new format and was over-compensating. Carey is used to writing for 22-page comic books, so hes forced to get to the point.
He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. Mike has also adapted Neil Gaiman's acclaimed NEVERWHERE into comics.