Review: The Devil Incarnate

At the end of my review of The Devil’s Concubine I wrote “it would be nice to think that the sequels will be about something other than her approach-avoidance dance with the guy, but experience has taught me to be pessimistic in such matters.”

To my pleased surprise, my pessimism was not fulfilled. In The Devil Incarnate (Jill Braden; Wayzgoose Press), the romance element is almost disappeared; this book really is about QuiTai’s struggle against the Thampurians rather than her sex life.

The Devil is dead. Qui Tai and Kyam Zul have split up. But there’s no rest for Qui Tai, as the scheming head of the House of Zul (Kyam Zul’s grandfather) seems bent on driving the Ponongese into a revolt that can only fail. It seems to be up to her to stop this from happening…and what is the old man really after?

Not only does the form of this book shift away from romance, it shifts towards SF. The one supernatural element in the setting transforms into something else in a revelation that destroys one of Qui Tai’s few certainties.

The setting continues to develop in interesting ways, and the author’s dexterity with prose and facility at scene-setting are undiminished.

This is clearly the middle book in a trilogy or longer sequence. But it leaves me anticipating its sequel with more interest than the first one did.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Devil Incarnate

    • >In one of the earlier reviews you said that you read fast. How is “fast” defined here?

      Typical modern SF novel in 90 minutes to 2 hours. Now that I have netgalley as a source I’m generally reading one a day or so.

  1. Can you quantify your reading rate in bits per second?

    I’m finding I can get most of a text at 500 to 800 b/s.

    To calculate my reading speed, I’m using ‘/usr/lib/xscreensaver/phosphor -program “cat textfile” -delay $CHARACTER_TIME_IN_USECS -ticks 1 -scale 2’

    I’m then taking (1000000/delay) * 8 to get the number of bits per second (assuming 8 bits per character)

  2. @Jon Brase
    If you measure reading speed in characters per second I would report it as characters per second. Because how many bits a character occupies is encoding dependent and bits per second evokes the idea of how much information (in the information theory sense) one can take in per second.

  3. BTW it is usually more interesting not how fast you can read, but how fast you can read with good comprehension ;-)

  4. @Emanuel:

    I was thinking in terms of bits per second because my initial idea for testing myself was using stty with a normal gnome-terminal session. However, while I’ve heard that stty changed terminal speed in a bygone era, and the man page claims that it does, that era seems to have passed long before I started using Linux. “stty speed” actually does report the speed that I set, but the terminal continues to blast out characters at full speed.

  5. I budget my reading at 100 pages an hour. That seems to hold up pretty well across genres and formats.

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