Jim Butcher - Shastrix Books

Jim Butcher

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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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Death Masks

Death Masks

Jim Butcher

26th July 2015

Death Masks is the fifth book in the Dresden Files series, which tells the story of Chicago’s only Wizard Private Investigator. This time he’s hired by a priest visiting the city from the Vatican to help recover a stolen artefact, which leads to an intriguing and rather complicated plot which I’m not sure I completely followed.

There is the usual mix of apical action and witty banter, and a stronger emotional undercurrent than perhaps we’ve seen before in the series, as events from previous books are followed up and some plot threads are seemingly tied up. At the same time, this book introduces a number of new threads, which look like they are going to spread through the series to come.

While I enjoyed reading this, possibly the most of the books so far, I did feel that it was leaning towards the more implausible end of the urban fantasy spectrum, particularly in some of the detail around the scenario in this book. Additionally, the introduction of a range of new enemies made for a lot of new information to absorb, and I don’t think I managed to digest everything that it had to offer.

Unlike the first few books, which could be described along the lines of ‘Dresden does Vampires’, ‘Dresden does Wereworlves’, etc., this story defies such classification, and I think that’s a good thing - it shows a little maturity of the series that it can start to do its own thing, and begin to build up some of the ongoing plot threads that I hope build into something fantastic int he books I have yet to read.

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Summer Knight

Summer Knight

Jim Butcher

11th February 2015

Book four: Faeries. Jim Butcher's series about. Chicago-based wizard detective Harry Dresden feels by this point to be cycling through the list of available magical creatures to put the protagonist against.

It's an enjoyable trip into this world again and it's nice to see that the characters are living with the repercussions of the previous story rather than being like toys taken back out of the box for a new day.

A good chunk of back story is also revealed for the main character, although I couldn't tell if all of it was a sudden surprise revelation or something that I'd read before in the earlier books.

There were elements though that didn't grip me as much. I'm not sure if it's just that the genre doesn't quite excite me enough, or whether it was that there are a few similarities to other books that I've read from other series. I think that the naming of some of the characters didn't help - there are a set of six new characters here that all seemed to have similar names and I kept getting lost as to which the narrator was talking about.

Overall, I thought that this was okay. I'm not sure I've got enough invested in the series to make it really gripping, and perhaps I need to ensure I don't leave such a long gap between episodes in future.

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Grave Peril

Grave Peril

Jim Butcher

3rd May 2014

I was quite confused when I started reading this, the third novel in the Dresden Files series, as it reads like its a sequel to a book you haven't read. Set some 12 months after the previous book, there are a lot of references back to an adventure that Chicago wizard Harry Dresden went on in the interim, and a character, who it feels like we should know, who went on this adventure too.

Once I got past the feeling of having missed out though the pace seemed to pick up and I got really into this book. The plot twists with satisfying regularity and Dresden feels like he's in actual peril throughout.

The new characters and aspects of the universe are all interesting and we learn some more of the main character's backstory, though it remains sufficiently shrouded in mystery to make me want to dive back into the next book (and the ten plus that follow that).

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Other reviewed books

Fool Moon
Storm Front

Unreviewed books

Brief Cases
Captain's Fury
Changes
Cold Days
Furies of Calderon
Ghost Story
Princep's Fury
Side Jobs
Skin Game
Small Favour
Turn Coat
White Night

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