The Devil You Know Review

The Devil You Know - K. J. Parker

The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the Devil. All he wants is twenty more years to complete his life’s work. After that, he really doesn’t care.


Okay, so this was my first KJ Parker book that I've actually picked up.  I have is other series on my TBR list, but until I finish a few of the series that I've started, I haven't wanted to start a new one.  Now, all that being said, technically, The Devil You Know is the second book about Saloninus.  The upside is the two books do not need to be read in order.  In fact I haven't read Blue and Gold, the first book about Saloinus, and I didn't have any trouble following along with the story line.  Mostly because this story isn't so much about Saloninus, but the demon he summons.


I read this book again before writing this review, mostly because I wanted to make sure I read it right the first time.  The Devil You Know is a novella, but I feel like so much sort of happens in just 128 pages.  It was in fact nothing I thought it was going to be when I first requested it from the library, but that was alright.  The book went a little deeper and made me think.  All while I was enjoying both of our characters.  Anyone who can make you root for a demon is doing something right in my book.


K.J. Parker created a wonderful world in just a little over 100 pages of story.  In just a few short pages I was able to see some of the world through our main characters narration, and Mysia is now one of the fictional places I'd love to go. 


If asked, I probably couldn't pick a favorite of our two main characters in The Devil You Know.  Personally I adore them both for different reasons.  Both the demon, whose name we never get, and Saloninus are both well thought out and rounded characters.  Our demon is flawed because he is sort of a hive mind set when it comes to how he is do things.  Which sort of hinders him while dealing with Saloninus.  The hive mind keeps him from seeing the whole picture as it were.  As for Saloninus, he's a crafty thing, but as you read you see how his lifestyle as sort of ruined him.  Which kind of make you bleed for him a bit, but I had to admire just how underhanded Saloninus was in all of this.  Clear up until the last page he had even me fooled.


The only real complaint I have about the book was in the beginning when the book would switch point of views it would take a minute to realize who our narrator was.  In fact there was a couple of times I had to go back and reread to see that the demon was no longer telling us the story, but Saloninus.  However, once I got use to the personalities it was easy to see who was leading the story. 


At the end of both reads I had come to the same conclusion, I really enjoyed this novella.  I was sad that it was so short, but I felt the length was perfect.  Any longer and it might not have been as good.  I like that the plot moved quickly and nothing pulled away from the demon trying to figure out the Father of Lies ploy.  In fact, I have already added Blue and Gold to my TBR.  I really do adore Saloninus.  


Personally, I reccomend this book to anyone, especially those who are a fan of the play Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlow.  The Devil You Know has a sort of similar theme to it. Really it's a fun and quick read that I'm glad I didn't wait too long to pick up.  Really glad this novella slid across my screen a few months ago.