I am starting to get the feeling that the plot line to these are all very similar. Something weird happens (Obviously its a magic world). Said weird thing is beyond Harry's abilities. Harry gets his ass handed to him multiple times. Harry figures it out and beats said bad guy. Some of the weird things are at least creative. This one did not appeal to me in the least though I found the ending amusing and funny, the rest of the book DRAGGED for me.
Note: I feel that Death Masks, Book 5 is where reading this series out of order starts to do you an injustice. This book does work as a stand alone to some extend, but you will get major spoilers for the previous books in the series and it also pulls in characters we have met before. So I recommend reading the previous books before you jump into this one.
It’s going to be another long weekend for Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. Mavra, a Black Court vampire that Harry has previously tangled with, blackmail’s Harry into seeking out the Word of Kemmler (a powerful book by the necromancer Kemmler). This will be no easy task for Harry and he will be constantly weighing which is the lesser of two evils for the entirety of the book.
This is one of my favorite books in the series for several reasons. First, I really felt the stakes were higher in this book and I like that Harry doesn’t have many clear cut good/bad choices in this story. True, he’s trying to save all his friends some grief, but in order to truly pull that off he has to deal with Mavra or find a way to double cross her that doesn’t put any of them in peril. Second, Harry gets more responsibility in this book. I think he’s ready for it even if he doesn’t and while he doesn’t like the guise that responsibility comes in, I think he will be a positive influence on others who share the same responsibility. Finally, there’s a dinosaur. Yup. Harry Dresden and a dino. Freaking awesome!
Waldo Butters, the mortician, gets a larger role in this installment of the series as well. I really like how Harry doesn’t discount Butters’s abilities just because Butters is afraid. There’s plenty of scary bad guys in this book and it makes sense that non-magic users would find them super intimidating. Polka will never die! – thanks to Waldo Butters.
Sheila Starr, a woman who works at a bookstore, is another interesting character. She offers Harry the chance to flirt but she also has her secrets. Then there is Carlos Ramirez, one of the Wardens for the wizarding White Council. I like his cockiness and willingness to jump into the middle of things. Then there is the Wild Hunt and the Erlking who makes life for Harry just that much harder. Bob the Skull also plays a critical role and we learn a bit more about Bob’s past.
Harry – the poor man! He has to face some tough truths in this book and one of them is about his own flexible moral compass. Another is about what powers he is offered by stronger beings and how much he is or is not willing to lean on them. However, the ending was just as satisfying as ever. I like that things are a little messy and that not everything is wrapped up with a pristine halo at the end.
Narration: James Marsters continues to do Harry Dresden justice with this series. I also like his nerdy, Jewish voice for Waldo Butters – he does a great job with this character when he is panicking. Ramirez’s smooth Hispanic accent was nicely done as well. Captain Antonia Luccio’s Italian accent was lovely as well as decisive and tired from the fight. Marster’s voice for Mavra once again sent chills down my spine.
Marsters and Butcher are the best combination available on Audible today. The books are excellent modern fantasy, and Marsters is one of the best voice actors out there.
It's always fun to spend a few days tagging along with Harry Dresden and living in a world of fairies, zombies, and this time necromancers. The story moved along well in this episode, with fewer sides stories to tidy up than usual and I appreciated the focus. Harry understands himself better with every episode and while the Shelia story didn't turn out the way I thought (or hoped) it would, I don't regret her presence as she does add something to Harry's life in a a rather interesting way. I hope we will see a return of Buttars in newer books. HIs sniveling counterpoint to Harry and his journey from extreme coward to brazen drum-thummer of zombies was one of the best part of the books.
James Marsters is a fantastic narrator, so good with voices I forget it's a single reader. In my mind, he IS Harry Dresden.
This is by far my favorite of the Dresden files so far, and I plan on listening to all of them. What I love about Jim Butcher is his ability to make you laugh out loud during a serious paranormal battle to the death! I listen to these books while quilting quite often, and I ALWAYS back up and listen more carefully several times so I am right there with the characters. One day I was so enthralled I yelled down to my husband from my sewing loft "I Love Jim Butcher!!! I mean, I LOVE him!!!!!!" He looks up at me pensively... "He's a writer, right?" Ha ha!! I'm not saying a word about this book in particular; why wreck it? Read it.