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Review: The Devil You Know by 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.

But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions, because the philosopher is Saloninus–the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster and cheat the world has yet known; the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust.

He’s almost certainly up to something; but what?

My thoughts

Loki is getting loki-ed basically, which is what reading The Devil You Know felt like to me and why I had a hell of a lot of fun reading this novella.

“I don’t do evil when I’m not on duty, just as prostitutes tend not to have sex on their days off.
That’s the very first sentences and after reading it, I already knew I’m going to love this one. Even though I usually love villains that are bad through and through, this idea of a Devil’s demon assistant, only being evil on the job, is nothing but great. And that there isn’t just the Devil, but many assistants working for him, and as something like a bureaucracy? Fantastic!

The best about The Devil You Know is that you know the whole time that the Devil/assistant is being played and that the philosopher has it all planned out but you can just sit and keep reading because you are just as clueless as the demon himself. You can actually feel the assistant’s frustration at being unable to figure it all out before it’s too late.
Both the philosopher and the demon were interesting enough characters that I didn’t know who I wanted to root for: the demon to figure out the philosopher’s schemes, or the philosopher getting away with it all.

And the end? Utterly brilliant! All these twist and turns, I absolutely loved it!

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  • I’m so excited. I was going to complain about all these Tor novellas I want to read but not buy, but I just saw that the library has this one on order! I love my library. Your review definitely makes me want to read it. :D

    • I made a list yesterday of all the upcoming ones that I want and THERE ARE SO MANY. I didn’t even look at the ones that are already out. At least of few very short ones are for free on

  • Wie machst du das eigentlich mit den Novellas? Kaufst du dir da immer die eBooks oder die richtigen? Oder kann man die auch online lesen?
    Diese hier klingt auf jeden Fall richtig, richtig gut :D

    • Die ganz kurzen gibt es auf zu lesen, das hier hatte ich jetzt über Netgalley bekommen und ansonsten kauf ich das ebook. Als richtiges Buch sind die mir viel zu teuer auch wenns echt schade ist, weil die alle so tolle Cover haben.

      • Oh ja, die Cover sind wirklich ein Traum. Aber auch irgendwie schön, dass da so viel Liebe reingesteckt wird, obwohl es vorrangig als eBook verkauft wird (vermute ich mal), da gibt’s ja sonst auch ganz schöne Coverkatastrophen ;)

Apr 18, 2016