Jim Butcher - Shastrix Books

Jim Butcher

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The Olympian Affair

The Olympian Affair

Jim Butcher

7th April 2024

The second full length Cinder Spires novel and it really does feel its length. It took me two goes to read it, having a pause halfway for a holiday and two other novels.

The book does little to recap or reintroduce its world, although I’m not sure I remember much of that from the first. Instead we are thrown straight into the world and the plot. I felt that if I hadn’t recently read the novella in this series I would have been totally lost, particularly as this book follows on almost immediately and directly from the events of the novella.

It’s then a slow burn as we see a lot of politics and conversation between an array of pairings from different factions, and it’s not really until the final quarter that the action level picks up. I didn’t find it as engaging to get through as I had wanted to.

I’m not convinced at this stage that I’m going to bother to pick up a third book in this series if one comes. It wasn’t gripping enough to justify occupying so much of my limited reading time.

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Warriorborn

Warriorborn

Jim Butcher

28th October 2023

I was surprised when I found out that this had been published without any recommendation having been made to be by a bookseller - as I’ve bought all of Jim Butcher’s works to date and already had the second book in the main Cinder Spires series on my wish list.

It’s a novella - so a fairly short single-act story in which we follow a ragtag group of Warriorborn (seemingly part human, part cat) as they attempt to investigate what happened at another spire and retrieve some documents for their leader.

It’s a nice reintroduction into the Cinder Spires world - it’s been eight years since the first/previous book, and this was a nice taster and reminder of the world before diving back in properly in a few weeks.

The story itself is really compelling - there’s a solid mix of action/adventure and character interaction. It feels almost like a D&D adventure in some respects. And although it only really took me one train journey to get through, I really liked it.

However, the printing quality seems very weird. From what I can guess, it feels like this has really been produced to be an audiobook (which makes sense as audio is a massive market at the moment), and the print version is just tacked on for people like me who prefer the old fashioned format. It’s explicitly a “printed by Amazon” paperback, and I don’t think they’ve yet got the hang of making it feel like a book rather than a brochure. The paper is high quality, but not the right quality - it’s a bit like someone’s read about books but never touched one. And the cover feels cheaply printed and cut.

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White Night

White Night

Jim Butcher

16th August 2020

It’s been two years since I read the previous Dresden Files novel - they taunt me a little from a bookcase, because I’ve got the whole series but don’t feel I enjoy them enough that I constantly want to read them. The release of a new entry however prompted me to pick up this, the ninth novel.

There’s been some suspicious deaths in Chicago, and Harry Dresden is brought in on the quiet to have a look for anything that might be up his street - and surprise surprise that’s exactly what he finds.

Ultimately my struggle I think with this book was that it was about 100 pages longer than I wanted it to be. I’d had enough by three quarters of the way through, and that’s just about where the narrative really started to pick up some pace.

Part of my reluctance may be that I’ve read a number of comments online that Butcher’s characters have a slightly unhealthy attitude towards women - and actually it is quite noticeable once you are aware of it. While there might be an argument that it’s the character’s viewpoints, it seems to be a lot of the characters, particularly those we’re meant to like as readers, and it goes down without being addressed.

I think it’s likely to be a while again before I pick up the next novel, although I don’t doubt that I will eventually.

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Proven Guilty

Proven Guilty

Jim Butcher

25th July 2018

I find myself with an interesting relationship with the Dresden Files. I put off reading this one, concerned that as I wasn’t feeling excited at the prospect of picking it up that I’d gone off the series. But actually once I did lift it from the shelf and get stuck in I found myself really enjoying it.

The story begins with a cry for help from a family member of a friend, which in turn drags Dresden, Chicago’s only wizard PI, into an investigation into supernatural occurrences around the city and beyond.

There are a number of things about this book that I enjoyed. It’s a proper investigation, and I am a fan of detective stories. It reveals more about the characters, their backstories, and their relationships - and develops them in new directions as well. It builds more into the world and the mythology of the series. And it’s a good adventure.

So overall I’m left feeling much more engaged with the series, and I hope I can keep that feeling forefront in my mind when I’m choosing what to read in the future and my gaze drifts to the shelves for B.

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Dead Beat

Dead Beat

Jim Butcher

8th October 2016

Zombies are the monster of the week in this, the seventh book about Harry Dresden, Chicago's local wizard for hire. Knock-on effects of the previous books in the series lead to several uglies seeking out the secrets of necromancy, and Dresden is once again sucked in.

I found it quite hard to get into this story. The beginning relies on recalling who a number of people are that are hanging over from previous stories, and continues to introduce new ones to Dresden's gang. Once I'd reached about halfway though the story seemed to liven up a bit and start to draw me in to the point where I was racing through.

One of the standout aspects of this particular story is the way Butcher has littered foreshadowing subtly throughout, and while I picked up on some of it from the classic Chekov's _______ presentation, a lot still surprised and delighted me when it came to the later reveal.

The climax of this one is excellent, and it does continue to build up the complex world of these stories - though I perhaps think I need to consider taking some sort of refresher course before hitting each new entry.

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Blood Rites

Blood Rites

Jim Butcher

25th March 2016

Harry Dresden book six, in which the modern day street wizard faces a complex curse placed on a local adult film production company. It's a strong entry in the series that really seems to move the overall plotline forward in interesting ways - definitely not one to miss if you're following the ongoing story.

The plot here is solid and brings together a mix of new and existing characters to tell a story that, while remaining action filled and brilliantly comedic, feels much more about the characters and exploring them further than some of the earlier novels.

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The Aeronaut's Windlass

The Aeronaut's Windlass

Jim Butcher

1st December 2015

This is the first book in a new series by the author of The Dresden Files, set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has migrated to living in monumental 'spires' above the earth, separated by great distances of mist traversable only by great airship. We meet a group of youngsters preparing to do their bit for their home spire by signing up for the local Guard, as well as a veteran airship captain who spends his life flitting between the spires. And there are cats.

When I picked the book up I was expecting a sort of steampunk vibe, or at least some sort of fantasy, but if anything I'd classify it more as a proper science fiction novel, featuring some technology which to me is indistinguishable from magic. This made it unexpectedly delightful, and a new world which I enjoyed exploring along with the characters.

The variety of characters that Butcher has created are fantastic, creating a range of viewpoints from which to tell his story. There are some hilarious comic moments, some excellent intrigue and interesting revelations into which we barely scratch the surface, and a great plot for this opening story that creates a world that's begging to be explored. I'm really looking forward to continuing to read this series as it progresses.

And did I mention there are cats?

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Other reviewed books

Death Masks
Summer Knight
Grave Peril
Fool Moon
Storm Front

Unreviewed books

Battle Ground
Brief Cases
Captain's Fury
Changes
Cold Days
First Lord's Fury
Furies of Calderon
Ghost Story
Peace Talks
Princep's Fury
Side Jobs
Skin Game
Small Favour
Turn Coat

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