Jim Butcher himself admits that the Dresden Files series, the first volume of which was a writing exercise in the creative writing class he was in, really starts coming into it's own in the third volume, Grave Peril. I agree with him, the first two books where really raw. They are worth reading, don't misunderstand, but they are nowhere near as good as the books which came later.
In Death Masks, I personally feel that Jim Butcher really gets things into full gear. His writing gets into full gear and he tones down on the overdriven amounts of battery and damage his hero must somehow survive to levels that someone might actually survive. That sort of thing. The plot is great and you can really see him bringing the series into maturity. It's great fun and tons of action, I strongly recommend both this book and the series!
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