I began this audio book with fervent anticipation based on the description and previous reviews. Fantasy with an erotic edge, great! Alas, I was seriously disappointed and I ceased listening after three hours. I've listened to several hundred audio books (very long commute) and this was only the third one that I put aside unfinished. The writing was all fluff, a morass of adjectives with a paucity of verbs and not a glimmer of suspense. The author did nothing to make me care about the characters or even curious about what was going to transpire. I switched instead to listening to "The Help" and was hooked from the first sentence. (I experienced the same sense of intense fascination listening to Shantaram and The Gathering Storm). I can readily appreciated a slow paced book if written well. This one failed to deliver.
First and foremost this is a captivating saga, one of Jim Butcher's very best. Harry's ghostly presence provides a host of new challenges - he can't muddle through relying on 'fuego' to roast his enemies. He has to depend more than ever on his wits and insight. Butcher uses this situation to creatively expand on his imaginary world and to bring in novel elements. New and refreshing characters are introduced and a few choice characters fleshed out. Further, Ghost Story brings to a satisfying conclusion the story arc that Jim developed over the last few novels, while leaving us hungry for Harry's next set of adventures. This is a vital not-to-be missed component of the Dresden Files. Several reviewers have given the book hideously low scores because of the switch in narrators. Yes, the switch from James Marsters to John Glover as narrator is disappointing, perhaps like missing that long anticipated hot date with Karrin Murphy, but not as devastating as a large caliber rifle round through the chest. Glover reads well – pleasant voice, good emotional expression, excellent pacing. What he doesn’t do particularly well are unique character voicings. Nevertheless, I was hooked from the outset and relished the ride.
Brandon Sanderson has done an extraordinary job continuing the saga and bringing it a step closer to resolution. I've listened to the entire series three times and felt that the personality and developmental progression of the major characters came through true to form. Clearly, Harriet McDougal made an inspired choice in selecting Brandon. I loved his Mistborn series and suspect from his work on The Gathering Storm that he will be the leading fantasy writer of his generation. Continuing the Wheel of Time series (which seemed to have lost some of its energy and coherence) was a nearly impossible task. This volume exceeded all of my hopes and expectations.
This book was an absolute pleasure to listen to, a well narrated, cleaver, compelling, amusing and original tale. To be sure this is a book for adults as it presents a great deal of violence in a pretty graphic manner and uses appropriately ribald language. If you love fantasy with a bit of an edge don't miss it.
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