The Dresden Files [Books 5-7]
by Jim Butcher
I can definitely see why Jim Butcher is considered a staple in the Urban Fantasy genre – he has an excellent main character (who is a tad whiny at times, but that’s kind of why I like him), loads of paranormal that will continually ding your creep-o-meter (even though I admit it doesn’t take much to set mine off), and plenty of action, humor, and intrigue. Overall, if you’ve never read an urban fantasy, this author is a great place to start. The best thing about him is that he seems to get better with each book.
I have the least to say about this book because admittedly I’ve read so many of them recently that it took me a couple of hours and some seriously strenuous brainpower to remember what Death Masks was about… That could be because I’m partially brain-damaged, or because this one didn’t stand out with the clear theme as much as all the other books have. I do remember the Fae being involved, which means there’s a chance I’m mentally combining this one with the book before it and actually remember more than I think I do (kapeesh?). In any case, I enjoyed this one at least as much, and especially loved the addition of Mouse. The best thing I can say is, up to this point the series doesn’t seem to be losing any of its momentum.
Just when I think the over-sexualization of every female character in sight might be finally starting to mellow a little bit, Butcher sets this novel in the middle of a freaking porno film studio. I don’t necessarily find the content offensive (although I probably should, but I’m really sick of hearing about people being offended about everything), but I do find it funny, so I sometimes have trouble taking any of these characters/villains seriously. Despite that, somewhere around the middle I found myself really engaged in the story and think Blood Rites might be one of my favorites yet (although that’s not saying much because all the books have been on pretty equal footing). What made the difference was Murphy, who was heavily involved in the plot – I especially loved learning tidbits about her background. Frankly, as much as I love Dresden, anytime I get to hear more about Karen Murphy makes me incredibly happy. I’ve read a few harsh reviews about this novel in specific accusing Harry of being too chauvinistic and annoying… I can see their point, but have yet to find myself at odds with the main character. Whatever his personality, he always makes me laugh. I will say, while I’m enjoying the series immensely, I’m not as emotionally invested in Harry as I could be and I often find myself more concerned with what’s happening to the people around him. Not being emotionally invested is usually a deal-breaker for me, but I’m still enjoying the series so much for all of its other factors (especially the humor) that it doesn’t seem to be a problem. Overall, Blood Rites was just as entertaining as all the books before it.
Dead Beat focused on necromancers and zombies and I thought they were sufficiently creepy. And can I just say how happy I am that finally the over-sexualization of every woman in sight was finally toned down in this novel – and for the first time, I felt like I could really take them (and the plot) seriously. Granted, a novel focused primarily on the undead was a lot less glamorous than the ones focused on Fae, vampires, or even werewolves, but the handful of female characters introduced were still gorgeous and sexy without the descriptions taking them to the ridiculous. But really, that issue is only been a minor criticism for me. I have to say, it’s a mark of a great author that his books have been consistently four star ratings for me and, if anything, getting stronger with each one. I’m as excited to continue the series now as I was near the beginning. Also, Butters rocked my world. Alas, my only lament is Dead Beat didn’t have much to do with Murphy…
If you haven’t picked up a Dresden book yet, just know you’re in for a well-conceived and sustainable series, jampacked with scary monsters and a lot of snark. I consider them a must-try for any fan of the genre.
Other books you might like: