Harry Dresden’s faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you’re the only professional wizard in the Chicago area phone book.
But in all Harry’s years of supernatural sleuthing, he’s never faced anything like this: the spirit world’s gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble–and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone–or something–is stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn’t figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself . . .
“You’re a wizard Harry!”
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I hear it in my head every time I pick up one of these books, or look at a blurb, or its Tuesday.
So in this installment of the Dresden Files we’re dumped right into the action, which I loved. Phin thought it was out of character for the series and was happy with the flash back chapter to explain just what the effe was happening, which I was not a fan of. Clearly we can’t always agree… and clearly he’s wrong. Harry and his pal Michael (and why have we not met him before?) are out stopping a crazy ghost. Seriously, when you find out what her deal is *shudders*. Well Harry and Michael end up in the Never Never where things go from bad to worse when Harry’s Fairy Godmother shows up. In this case, “Fairy Godmother” is more like “mobster Godfather”. And this is only the beginning.
Harry’s troubles in the book grow to include a particularly nasty rampaging ghost, courtesy of a thinning wall between the real world and the never never, a shadowy figure behind the scenes manipulating all the ghosts in Chicago, a pissy vampire who just received a promotion, her minions, a missing girl, loved ones under attack, and the aforementioned Fairy Godmother. Oh, and a neglected girlfriend that Harry should just break up with. Ok yes, she does really seem to care about him and she’s there for him and she’s pretty and yadda yadda yadda, but she’s constantly trying to needle a story out of him. Can’t he see that she’s using him to advance her career? She even says something to that affect in the book! UGH! Seriously, down with Susan.
The book can get graphic in places, but what is far worse is when Mr. Butcher decides to not describe what’s happening, instead having Harry say basically that it’s too terrible to talk about, or that he passes out for the worst of it. He used this in “Fool Moon” and it was just as much of a punch to the gut this time around. The thing is my imagination is so much worse than anything he could’ve written, especially when he eliminates one of the possible torture scenarios. My brain kept yelling “Is it rape? Was he raped? Is he being raped right now?” In my own mind poor Mister Dresden has been violated countless times. Poor Mister Dresden.
I’ve also heard complaints that Dresden is a chauvinist, and perhaps this makes me a bad feminist, but I really don’t think he is. He suffers from a white knight complex where he feels the overwhelming urge to save the damsel in distress even if the damsel can damn well save herself. On top of that he’s very chivalrous, holding doors open for women, etc. That’s not chauvinism. It can be irritating to the women around him, and sure they probably feels like he feels they aren’t capable (especially poor Murphey) but it’s not like he’s ordering them into the kitchen to get him a beer and some pot pie. It’s old fashioned, and sort of sweet.
I was going to post our thoughts separately, but we’re in unison when it comes to “Grave Peril”. Like seriously, not a single fight, and that NEVER happens.
The secondary characters in this book are fantastic, especially the people on team Dresden. Bob, who I call a talking skull and Phin insists on calling an air spirit (which is what he really is but sounds so much less cool), is as hilarious as always. In this book he really seems to care about Harry even more so than previously. Michael.is.epic. Within a paragraph of his introduction you’ll love him. I promise you. Charity, Michael’s pregnant wife, is stellar. Well most of the time. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, which is usually endearing. Michael and his priest friend Father Forthill are constantly trying to convert Harry, and he is constantly coming up with polite ways to say no. The curses used in this series are to die for. “Hells Bells!” “Stars and Stones!” They’re even better in the audio book, especially when it’s Bob.
Susan. We really just don’t like her. Phin’s exact words were ” I feel bad for Harry that his girlfriend is a dumb bi…” (explative deleted). I miss Carmichael. The cop that replaces him is not nearly as entertaining. There was no Gentleman Johnny Marcone.
In this case we both gave the book (and the series) 4.0 stars out of 5.0. It’s a fantastic series and well worth the ride. All the characters have depth (even if it’s not a depth we care for,) the plots are interesting, and the story is well written.
Dresden Files #3