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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

The Demon and the City - Liz Williams A capable entry into the Chen series, I found that I did not enjoy it as much as the Snake Agent. Although billed as "An Inspector Chen novel," he doesn't make an appearance for quite some time; in fact, the book truly is about the demon on his own. Although a murder supposedly begins the process of investigation for the police, it is haphazard and largely driven by involvement from Chen's patron diety. Solving the mystery of the murder becomes almost an aside as there are larger theological and practical issues to deal with at that point. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see more discussion of the culpability of the murder, given who is was. Point of view continues to shift from a dowser, a female mogul, a worker in the mogul's company, and the demon, and it takes a little too long to weave the pieces of the story together. Others may enjoy the framework where divergent stories eventually converge. I tend to enjoy a more linear plot. The short shift given to the dowser turns him into little more than a caricature. The shifting viewpoint also brought the "everything is shades of grey" phenomenon, which meant the villains were less villainous and the heroes less heroic, blending them together in a stew of vaguely similar vegetables. The supernatural discussion of feng shui and meridians was much more challenging to follow. I am sure that had I understood it better, it would have had added another level of complexity; as it is, it was merely confusing and bothersome. Nonetheless, I appreciate Williams' work for truly being an original setting and being composed of a complexity of worlds and players in an era of the cookie-cutter supernatural. I also enjoy her language, the loving and complex descriptions painted in with a few choice words, and her flashes of humor.