Audiobook Review: The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

The Devil You KnowScribd has been handy for discovering new books, and finding The Devil You Know by Mike Carey was a real winner.

I’m pretty sure I discovered it by doing a search for Michael Kramer, one of my favorite narrators, and he’s an excellent reader for this book. As an added bonus, since the main character, Felix Castor is British, you get to hear Kramer do lots of fun accents. He’s not at all bad for an American, although I did hear a few small goofs, mostly words not quite pronounced the way a Brit would, but nothing that detracted from my enjoyment.

The premise of the book is that ghosts are real, and, in the last few years, have become more active, to the point that people have mostly accepted their existence. Not everyone can see them, but enough have that national governments have even debated updating laws to acknowledge the rights of the deceased.

Felix Castor is an exorcist, and he made a pretty good living at it until two years earlier when he had an experience which made him question his vocation. A local museum has been having ghost troubles, and he gets sucked into helping them.

What starts out as a simple exorcism turns into something more complicated when he receives the message that pursuing it will lead to his death.

I loved the premise that ghosts, zombies and certain other creatures exist. I won’t spoil the nature of loup-garous, but suffice it to say that it was cooly awful and I didn’t see it coming. The very end was also more than a bit of a shocker, though as a good twist ending should be, completely obvious in hindsight.

The story dragged a tiny bit, and I think Carey could have tightened it up by a few thousand words without harming the plot, but it wasn’t enough to make me lose interest. Kramer is an excellent narrator, and he brought all the characters to life for me. I’ve already started listening to the second book in the series. I plan to finish all of them (five as of now), assuming the quality stays at least as good as the first one.

Musings on the Future of MCU’s Captain America

Chris-Evans-Captain-America-TrilogyI’m listening to the fantastic Captain America: Winter Soldier soundtrack as I write this. I think it’s slightly better than the Civil War soundtrack.

Speaking of which, one of the things I was looking forward to about this blog was the ability to get all geeky once and while and write stuff that’s totally off-topic from writing or reviews, and I think this is my first such properly geeky post. Fair warning. There will be significant spoilers for Captain America: Civil War. If you haven’t see the movie, you might want to stop reading now.

Anyway, in the lead-up to Civil War, I was worried about two things.

  1. That a “Captain America” movie with so many characters would suck.
  2. That Steve Rogers would die, as he did at the end of the Civil War comic series.

Early reviews eased my mind on the first point, and I was delighted that Steve was still alive at the end of the movie. However, I have heard that Chris Evans has only one movie left on his contract, so I’m suspecting we still might see his retirement from the role, which leaves the question: who, if anyone, will take up the shield?

In my apprehension about his possible death, I’d been giving this some thought, and the events of Civil War confirmed that I might be on the right track.

In the comics, Bucky, followed by Sam Wilson, take up the shield. I’ve been reading the Bucky-era Captain America comics, and they are (mostly) excellent. (The Man With No Face arc didn’t do it for me.) While io9 hypothesized yesterday that Marvel might be setting up Sam to take over the role, I was laying my money on Bucky before Civil War, and I still feel the same way.

Let’s start with the practical stuff. Although I can’t find the source, I’ve read that Chris Evans has only one more movie on his contract while Sebastian Stan still has six. Contracts can be renegotiated, and I’m hoping Evans signs up for several more, but, if not, Stan has plenty of movies in his future. I don’t know how many Anthony Mackie still has, and if anyone else does, feel free to link to a source.

Six movies gives Bucky lots of time to be Cap, but it also gives him plenty of time to continue as the Winter Soldier. (Based on the second post-credits scene, I’m wondering if we will see him in Black Panther.)

I started thinking Bucky because of this scene from Winter Soldier.


Obviously he has some affinity with the shield, and in the comics Bucky says he can use the shield because of his arm. And yes, I know, technically Bucky doesn’t have his arm at the end of Civil War, but I’m pretty sure he’ll get it back. Comic Bucky is working on his second arm, so why not MCU Bucky?

He used it a second time in Winter Soldier, during the causeway fight, and a search for the above image pulled up a screen cap of Bucky using it in First Avenger, which I had forgotten about until now. Plenty of set-up that Bucky can handle it almost as well as Cap.

Then we get toCivil War, and the final fight scene with Bucky and Cap double-teaming Tony by passing the shield back and forth kind of clinched it for me.

Clearly, they want us to get that Bucky can use the shield. My husband commented that to make Bucky the new Cap would require a redemption arc somewhere, but I disagree. He’d not been redeemed in the comics, which is why he had trouble going to the one year anniversary of Cap’s death in costume. (Totally think that sucked!)

Would there be complications to having Bucky take over as Captain America? Sure, and I think it would make for some great story telling. While I do think Sam would make an excellent Cap, and my first choice is for Rogers to be Cap forever, I do think Marvel is setting up the possibility for passing the shield, and Bucky is a prime contender.

Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Oh, and if you just want to geek out over your favorite scene(s) from Civil War, feel free to do that too. 🙂

Impressions of Scribd’s New Terms

scribd-logo-marketingbuildingIf you’ve been following the ebook world at all, you probably know that Scribd, the subscription ebook/audiobook/comic book service changed its terms starting in March. Where the ebooks and comics had previously been “all you can read,” now users accumulate monthly credits (3 per month, and you can accumulate up to 9) to “spend” on books. There are also rotating monthly “Scribd Select” books which can be read for that month without using credits, and there are a number of unlimited books which can freely be read at any time.

Understandably, there was little rejoicing in the land when the new terms were announced. Readers were upset at being limited to only 3 books a month, and many felt that the unlimited selection was pretty limited. I’m certain that many unsubscribed, but I had never been one to read tens of books in a month, so I decided to stay on and see what I thought of the new terms.

Short impression. I actually like it more than the old terms, if you can believe it. Not only that, I think I am actually reading more than I did. And now that you are convinced I am insane, let me explain.

I am someone who thrives on a certain amount of structure. I have been a huge fan of Scribd since the beginning, and I personally never wanted to overuse it, so every month my question was, “How many books should I read in it?” (I’ve had doubts about the viability of their business model from the beginning, and since I loved the service, I didn’t want to be one of the ones who “broke” it.) Yes, I’m probably the exception here, but anyone else who loves structure will understand where I am coming from.

Now, it’s clear. If I want, I can read until I run out of credits, or I can bank a few credits for vacation months.  I’ve generally used the service for big publishing books, so I know the ones I read are the expensive ones. If Scribd thinks they can afford for me to read three in a month, then that’s what I’ll read. I don’t need to use the unlimited books because I always have plenty of library books and purchased books to keep me going when I’ve used my three credits. I’ve been using Scribd as a supplemental source of reading, not the primary, and that hasn’t changed.

A note to comic book lovers. Comics are considered unlimited. While I prefer using Comixology and their guided view, if you don’t care, you can read all the comics you like. Since comics go quickly, I’m glad they don’t fall under the credits option. I could use three credits on comics in less than an hour, if I weren’t careful.

I love the “Scribd Selects” options. The May selections showed up a day or two late this month, and I checked every day until they appeared. Happy Day! One of the May select books was the one I had been wanting to read next anyway. Superb timing.

I admit I have been taking advantage of an intermittent glitch. I’ve been able to read several books without spending a credit on them. I’m sure they were neither unlimited nor Select books. I think their program isn’t handling books in series correctly. I spent a credit for the first book in a particular series, and then was able to read the rest of the series for free. Scribd folks, if you are reading this, you might want to take a look at that. Readers, take advantage of it while you can. 🙂

I’ve been pleased that the service still meets my needs. Since most of the books I read in it are priced at $9.99 and up, reading three or so in a month still saves me a lot of money. If the big publishers wise up and lower their prices, I might revisit this, but for right now, it’s working for me