“Off the Shelf” are reviews of books that I have quite literally taken off my bookshelf (or kindle). They are not new releases but books I have been wanting to read or series I am trying to complete and are books that I know I am likely to enjoy.
I am quite happy that I can give another great rating to this premier Urban Fantasy Series. It is the second best book in the series to this point trailing behind Dead Beat. Butcher continues to prove that he is a master storyteller by continually expanding the Dresden Universe while avoid staleness or repeating storylines. While there were a few issues that caused it to lose half a star, it is excellent and highly recommended series.
The story opens with Morgan, a warden of the White Council and nemesis of Mr. Harry Dresden, showing up on his doorstep. A member of the White Council has been murdered and the Morgan is the prime suspect. Harry believes that Morgan has been set up. What is really going on? Is Harry being set up to take a fall or is this evidence of the much rumoured “Black Council”? As the mystery unravels, Harry faces a summoner and his summoned beings, a skinwalker, some white vampires while enlisting the help of some powerful allies. New power is gained and explored while some relationships are irrevocably changed.
Some Things are Better with Age
Harry Dresden is aging quite nicely. The series still feels as fresh as when it began and Butcher continues to add elements to the story that increase my interest without coming off as ridiculous. In this installment, we get to know a few more council members, namely Ancient Mai and Listens-to-Wind a.k.a. Injun Joe. We get to see what kind of power century old wizards possess. Trust me, it is quite impressive. While Harry may be the most talented in his generation, Harry is put in his place when he sees the talent of the much older generation. The best Dresden novels are the ones in which Harry is not a Lone Gun. This is one involves a large number of characters which keeps the book interesting and the action hopping.
So That’s Where it is
We finally get to the see the headquarters of the white council and we get a firsthand look at the politics and the inner workings. This serves to integrate Harry in with the magic world as a whole and is a major step in the world building for the series. Plus, hidden bases are just plain cool.
Usually, the books in the series climax with a big battle and then end with a brief epilogue. In this novel, it was if Butcher had ended the story a bit too soon and needed about another hundred pages to reach his quota. The last 1/5 of the book was drawn out and left me thinking that it was so great up until this point. Part of the problem was that there were several story threads that were not completed or answered. I will assume that it is because they will be answered at a later time but regardless, the time normally spent cleaning up those threads was filled with Harry wandering.
Overall, one of the best in the entire series. Filled with action and very entertaining while Harry continues to grow in skill and power. A great story with some minor characters playing a bigger support role. I know a few authors that should be drinking from the same well as Jim Butcher. Whatever is in his Kool-Aid is keeping this series fresh. Keep up the good work Jim.
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest
Sex – 2.5
The White Vampires play a role in this book so you know that sex plays a role. As usually, any sexual content is not graphic. There is scene in which the characters enter a club where people are engaging is sexual activity. The sexual activity is mostly implied.
Language – 3
The usage of adult language was a bit higher than the last installment. There is moderate use of mild obscenities and low usage of f-word. The language is usually used during intense scenes so it is possible I missed bit during the scuffles.
Violence – 4
Fantasy violence abounds. There is a large number of battles and skirmishes. Monsters and men are dying often. There are a few scenes that are moderately to highly graphic. These occur during the major confrontation and involve vampires and disembowelment.