Tuesday, September 25, 2012



I made the mistake of starting this series with this book - book 11 as it turns out. I didn't realize this at the time of purchase. All I saw was this book in the bargain bin at the bookstore with an attractive $2 sticker on it! Even though it was book 11, I did not get too lost in the story, even with the 101 references to previous books in the series. Butcher does a great job of explaining all the unique little things that make this 'world' different, like the supernatural beings, the magic spells, the White Council, etc. I'm sure I would have had a much better understanding of the nuances if I'd read the previous 11 books, but, I did not feel I was out to lunch.

This was a book that was easy to get into. What I really liked was the fantasy aspect, with the magic fights and the strange magical community. The 'urban fantasy' twist was interesting too - a wizard doing magical things in modern day Chicago - even though these things always strike me as being too unrealistic. The story was one of those old style sleuth mysteries, I was waiting for gangsters in Dick Tracy style fedoras to pop into a scene. However, that kind of story combined with the relaxed writing style blended perfectly. I got the feeling the protagonist Dresden even realized his life sounded ridiculous. He jokes that his half brother is a Vampire, his friends are Werewolves, and he has Wizards knocking on his door in the middle of the night! 

In this story, Dresden's arch enemy / rival wizard comes knocking on his door looking for a safe place to hide out. This wizard claims that he is being framed for the murder of some other well know important senior committee type wizard...and he only has 48 hours before his super powerful hiding protective spell wears off and he will be found! Even though helping out a suspected criminal wizard like this could mean death Dresden is on the case, trying to solve this mystery before he runs out of time.

For my first taste of Butcher, I found his writing entertaining and quirky. He has created a bunch of interesting characters who I feel would fit well into a series like this. I think you would come to love them after reading the previous 11 books.
The story felt well constructed and moved along at a good pace, I think the deadline helped give it that sense of urgency that made you want to keep reading. The magical world Butcher created, alongside modern day Chicago, was done very well. It was interesting, creative, and actually did seem like it could exist (which I find is sometimes a problem with urban fantasy).

I have to admit, I did not finish this book. Oh, the shame! But, aren't you really thinking, finally, one of those...secrets nobody talks about, like reading Fifty Shades. I would say this fits into a distinct club. There are not many books I pick up, read one hundred twelve pages, then decide to pass on to other unsuspecting friends or a charity shops. But, this is one of those lucky two or three in a year.

After about halfway through the novel I just lost interest. It was not just one thing, but, a variety of things. The story kind of felt drawn out and repetitive, but, it was probably just that mid novel flatlands you sometimes have to suffer through to get to a fantastic ending. Also, I had no connection to this series, which if you are a series reader will know, leads one to read bad or mediocre books just because they are part of your favourite series. And, lastly, because I have a stack of other books that have that appeal of mystery - not mystery genre, but, the potential to be better than this current book.

Rating: READ *

*Would recommend you read the other Dresden Files books first.

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