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Tag: vampires

Changes

by on May.03, 2010, under books

I will try my best not to spoil anything with this review, but it will be difficult.  I am going to assume, though, that if you are reading this review you already read the previous books.  So if you haven’t I apologize if I spoil anything from one of them.

When we left Harry last, the wizarding world was still deeply entrenched in a war with the vampire Red Court, he had helped bring the existence of the Black Council into the light, and had the White Council, some of his close friends, and himself from grave peril.  But it was not without costs and consequences – Thomas (Harry’s half-brother and ally in the vampire White Court) ended up embracing his demonic nature, Murphy ended up in even thinner ice than usual in the CPD, many White Council members died including the warden that Harry had committed to exonerate, and Harry and McCoy set out to start a Gray Council (a secret subset of the White Council that acknowledges the Black Council as a force to be reckoned with).

Now in the midst of the maelstrom that follows the previous events, something comes up that drags Harry away from all of it for something even more personal (spoiler here:   a daughter that Susan had kept secret from him who is now being held by the Red Court – not much of a spoiler since it is revealed in the first few sentences of the book).  And Harry goes to all lengths to deal with this threat – calling on every ally and asset, calling in every favor, and even makes personal sacrifices he wouldn’t otherwise have considered.  He also ends up making an array of sacrifices that he would rather have avoided.

As I read this and as I’m now reading the second book in Jim Butcher’s other series, The Codex Alera, I can’t help but be increasingly impressed and enamored with this author.  In this series, he has a great and subtle way of peppering in a few pop culture references that only readers of my generation are likely to pick up on (which you have to pick up on them or you’ll miss them as they are not at all explained).  And with both series’ Butcher shows as they progress that he had clear long-term plans in each, yet neither include volumes that are too incomplete to enjoy on their own or too reliant on past story to follow without pretext.

In a word, this latest book was brilliant.  I enjoyed every sentence of it from start to finish (even the ending that left me in shock and ready to cry).  I really hope that there will be more in this series.  I know that Jim is releasing a collection of all of the Dresden short stories that he has written over the years (including a new one related to this latest volume) which I will definitely be purchasing and reading when it hits the shelves in November.  But I cannot except that this story might be over – especially with so much still unresolved (e.g., the Black Council still at large, some of the swords still unallocated).  There has to be more in store for Harry and his intrepid companions.  So I will be waiting patiently, Mr. Butcher.  The ball is in your court.

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Proven Guilty

by on Jun.03, 2009, under books

In case you haven’t been keeping up, Harry Dresden – the same that has been on watch by the White Council for years – is now a Warden.  It seems the war with the Red Court (a particularly powerful brand of vampires) has hit the wizard justice league pretty hard and run their numbers thin.  So now Harry is charged with protecting the citizenry of Chicago and the surrounding region from supernatural threats … officially (he has been doing so the whole time anyway, now he just has jurisdiction).  But wearing that grey cloak is not a simple charge and as usual there are those who would see him fail.

In Jim Butcher’s eighth volume of The Dresden FilesProven Guilty – Harry finds himself helping out a friend in need.  But what starts as simply bailing a friend’s daughter’s boyfriend out of jail evolves into a struggle with a number of fairy creatures who look like horror villains and feed on fear and ultimately into a battle in the heart of the Winter Court in the Nevernever.  And all the while, Harry still is struggling with his own inner demons (or more specifically an inner fallen angel) as well as some conniving behavior by some White Court vamps who seem to leech onto the fear-feeding action.  And in the end Harry finds himself facing some tough decisions that may change the rest of his life.

Once again, Butcher places Harry in some thrilling and precarious positions and as usual Harry always seems to have another card up his sleeve.  Harry continues to grow and surprise all the while continuing to be himself without apology.  There is little else I can say besides queue up the next book.

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Blood Rites

by on May.20, 2009, under books

Okay – after five books, there are too many different enemies that Harry Dresden has gone against to list.  I wasn’t sure that there could be many more unique supernatural elements with which he could face off.  Enter a troop of purple gorillas flinging flaming, well, I’d imagine you could guess – and this is just in the first few pages!  Through the rest of Blood Rites, Jim Butcher pits our tall, lanky hero up against succubi, black vampires, and … porn stars?

Blood Rites finds Harry relying on some less likely side-kicks including an incubus who turns out to have an interesting secret, a fellow wizard and former mentor, a mercenary, and a fiesty puppy.  He has been avoiding one of his friends – Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross – due to the fact that he had picked up a coin containing a fallen angel and worried how Michael, a hunter of fallen angels, might react.  And he takes on a case where it seems a string of porn stars have been dying in bizarre accidents that may be black magic.  in his downtime, he opts to take on a nest of black vampires camping out in the Chicago slums.  He doesn’t come out of either debachle unscathed (nor do these two incidents add up to all the strife Harry must diffuse/survive).

Six volumes in and Jim Butcher continues to impress and amaze.  There seems to be no winding down for this series and I wouldn’t want to see it end.  The series has always been cohesive and fluid, but it is interesting seeing the greater arc beginning to develop.  Plus the fact that wizards tend to live for centuries, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this series survive its author (though that would be a long way off).  I know I’ve said it before, but I will say again that I can read this series forever.

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Death Masks

by on Mar.18, 2009, under books

The tally continues – so far Dresden has help his own against demons, sorcerers, mobsters, vampires, fairies, ghouls, ghosts, and werewolves (not necessarily in that order).  For Jim Butcher’s next trick, he will take on angels (fallen angels to be specific) … while still occasionally dealing with the usual vampires and mobsters, etc.  In Death Masks, Harry finds himself re-teamed up with Michael Carpenter – one of the three Knights of the cross.  And once he has a couple run-ins with some Denarians (fallen angels who partner with human hosts for a corporial form), he finds himself playing backup to all three of the Knights. (continue reading…)

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Storm Front

by on Jan.11, 2009, under books

As I previously stated, I plan to review all of the books that I have read in The Dresden Files series and will add more reviews as I continue to read the series. The first book in this series by Jim Butcher is entitled Storm Front. In Storm Front, we are introduced to Harry Dresden. Harry is a fairly normal guy – slightly above average intelligence, generally self-confident and self-made – living in modern-day Chicago. He lives in a modest apartment, works out of a small, rented office space where he does business in private investigation as well as police consultation. Only, Harry isn’t a normal P.I. – he’s a wizard. (continue reading…)

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