Proven Guilty

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 8

The trick about writing book reviews is to do them immediately after reading the book, so that the book is still fresh in your mind, the parts you like, the parts you didn't like, the parts you want to read again and again and again.

This isn't one of my favorite Dresden books (those are Dead Beat, Changes, and Skin Game, in that order). This one was, however, an enjoyable read. Yeah, we know Molly can be annoying, she's written fairly well as the angsty teenager going through changes and being defiant. And I see how the introduction of her into the inners of Dresden's world can be.

I found the reference to the Parable of the Talents to be frustrating. It goes:

“Three men were given money by their lord in the amount of fifteen, ten, and five silver talents. The man with fifteen invested the money, worked hard, and returned thirty talents to his lord. The man with ten did the same, and returned twenty talents. The lord was most pleased. But the third man was lazy. He buried his five talents in the ground, and when he returned them to the lord, expecting to be rewarded for keeping them safe, his lord was angry. He had not given the lazy man the money to be hidden away. He’d given it to the man so that he could use it and make his lands better, stronger, and ...

The third man RETURNED the funds. He didn't lose any. No, he didn't gain any, but he didn't lose it either. So he didn't make a rich man richer, he didn't make the rich man any poorer. I swear this is exactly the kind of sermon that people in power use to abuse the people under them: hey, YOU need to work harder to make ME more powerful. I dislike that story a lot.

This book, however, I liked, it's a Dresden book. Keep reading.

Dead Beat

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 7

This is, hands down, my favorite Dresden book. I thought, "Wow." the first time I read it. And the second. And the third. And the fourth. And the lost-count time, too. Because I knew this, that this is my favorite Dresden book, I was aware of myself trying to figure out why I like the book so much, what makes it so good?

I figured out a few reasons, but I think the top reason is that this is the first (and one could argue only) book that Dresden is vulnerable. He asks for help. He reaches out. He reaches out to his friends, and they say yes. He confronts his own mortality. He talks about death. A lot.

Which is pretty much what the book is about, with necromancers and all happening in it.

This book also has Butters, an unassuming unmagicked mortal, seeing a horrible act and, screaming like a little girl the whole time, pushes against his fear to do what needs to be done to save a life.

In any book, you see the author come through in her characters. I would believe Butcher was experiencing loss when he wrote this book, perhaps even actual deaths in his family. I haven't looked up what was happening in his life when writing this book, so I don't know if he were. Yet here, for the first time, Dresden isn't just a know-it-all, isn't an all-powerful arrogant witty Warden wizard, he's also human. And that's what I liked so much about this book.

Blood Rites

Book Notes

Yep, rereading the Dresden series. This is Book Six

Dresden spends some of his time on a porn movie set, and while I want to think that Butcher was trying to convey that, hey, these women characters were strong, doing a trade they enjoyed, were compensated well for, and it was any other job, I really didn't feel any affinity for that particular aspect of the plot.

We do get a lot of background in the story, and a bit of foreshadowing on a number of future plot plots, which is great. We meet Laura Raith, thanks to Thomas. And Mouse! Oh boy, scads of flying, flaming poo. That's a visual for the ages.

This book ranks as a fan level recommendation. It's about Harry, I'm going to read it (whether Dresden, Potter, or Hole, let's admit it).

Human violence was at its most hideous when a woman was on the receiving end, and supernatural predators were even worse.
Location 1424

“Trite but true—you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. People change. The world changes. And sooner or later you lose people you care about. If you don’t mind some advice from someone who doesn’t know much about families, I can tell you this: Don’t take yours for granted. It might feel like all of them will always be there. But they won’t.”
Location 1723

I had to be paranoid, which in this instance was another word for smart.
Location 2735

Death Masks

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 5

Rereading books you've read before is always interesting, because you pick up on details you missed the previous times. Good books are ones where you learn something new, find something new to reflect upon, or revisit a thought you had before when reading the book previously.

I am rather enjoying rereading the Dresden series. I keep noticing details I might have missed before, subtle foreshadowing (or deliberate referral in later books by Butcher), and entertaining parts in the series.

This is the book that introduces Nicodemus, along with Ortega, Ivy, Kincaid, and Shiro. We see Susan Rodriguez again, which gives Dresdent some relief from the overbearing (and I'd argue misplaced) guilt he had in previous books. We have Michael Carpenter and Sanya, and oh boy this is one of those books in the series where we are introduced to just so many players in the game.

I enjoyed this book, and keep it as fan in the recommend column. If you're a Dresden fan, you won't be disappointed. I don't know how you'd take urban fantasy, though, if you prefer historical crime non-fiction, say.

Based on my notes in the book, I'm amused by a typo that's been around for a while.

The priest left my car almost before I’d set the parking break, hurried to the nearest door, and ducked inside as quickly as he could open the lock."
Page 24

Pretty sure that was supposed to be a parking brake.

And why this book is called UC_Death Masks on both kindle and audible, I will likely never know. Annoys me when I'm looking for the book.

“So if you’re not religious, you risk your life to help other people because…?”

Summer Knight

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 4

I might be rereading the Dresden Files.

Okay, yes, I am.

This is book four, and, oh my wow, can I not stand how Dresden is feeling guilty over the plight of Susan Rodriguez. Okay, she been partially turned into a Red Court vampire. Okay, her life is now going to be one of constant denial of the internal hunger to kill. Okay, yes, Dresden withheld information from the people close to him in order to protect them and that withholding contributed to their going into dangerous situations without full knowledge of just how dangerous the situations were.


There's only so much guilt one person can take for THE CHOICES ANOTHER PERSON MAKES. The guilt that Butcher writes into Dresden abdicates Susan of the responsibility for her own choices, which is bunk. While I'm not saying he didn't contribute to the situation she was in, and that his attempts to reverse the damage aren't admirable (yes, yes, fictional character and all that), the guilt thing was a bit tiresome after the fifth or sixth woe is me.

That said, Dresden. Love it.

Less about all the death and dying in the book as the faerie go to war, but the humour and characters and plot movement are top notch.

“But this is where it always begins. Monsters are born of pain and grief and loss and anger. Your heart is full of them.” I shrugged. “And?” “And it makes you vulnerable. Vulnerable to Mab’s influence, to temptations that would normally be unthinkable.”
Page 202

Grave Peril

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 3

I remember when I first read this book being very surprised at the abrupt introduction of Michael Carpenter into the Dresden Files series. He shows up on the first page of this book, yet is already Harry's best friend. He's also a Knight of the Cross, having been one for the previous twenty years. The man had killed a dragon and knows a lot of lore that Harry doesn't know.

There are a number of other series characters introduced, what with Thomas showing up, Charity having incredibly stilted speaking patterns, and Lea revealing more of Harry's past.

I recall thinking while reading, that the book felt choppy. The plot rather goes along nominally linearly, but references a lot of events that had happened a couple months before. It also has a few jumps from location to location, and starts a lot of unfinished threads.

This is, however, the first book in the Dresden series where Butcher catches his stride. Harry is Harry, and starting to come into his own. The world is fleshed out a bit more, with the lore starting to solidify. If I could direct an author's hand (which I can't, and wouldn't even with the chance), I'd rework the first two books to be more like this one and later books: being Dresden and less Dresden-becoming.

That said, yep, Harry, love the series. Recommended.

Fool Moon

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 2

Okay, continuing in the "re-read the Dresden books because, well, why not (okay, really, because I want a brain rest)" trend, I started in immediate on Fool Moon after Storm Front. And again, I'm surprised at the animosity between Murphy and Dresden, along with the total suspicion from Murphy on everything. Have something you can't explain away, blame the crazy person even though you've seen him do crazy stuff.

That said, this book seems to be the turning point in the relationship, with Murphy deciding to trust Dresden, even as Dresden becomes more and more paranoid and suspicious of everyone around him, trying to figure out the clue of the wolf attacks.

I recalled who the ultimate bad guys were in this book, from previous readings. I didn't recall the details, though. I'm amused that some parts that are BIG in my memory of the book are actually small in the actual book.

I also wonder if this is the last book of Harry Dresden as vulnerable. Dresden keeps becoming more and more powerful as the series goes on, to the point that even after he dies, he is still more powerful than most but a handful of wizards around him. I will, of course, have to read them all to figure this out.

So, right, this book.

Werewolves. In the Dresden universe, the multitude of (mythologically existing) types of werewolves are all present. We have the loup garrou, the hexenwolves, the lycanthropes, the theriomorphs (er, shapeshifters), and your standard werewolves. They're all different flavours of the same thing: a human in wolf form who do a lot of damage. People die. Harry exhausts himself and survive by thinking. Totally great.

Storm Front (Harry Dresden)

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 1

Okay, yes, I might have read this book before. And yes, I might have read it a number of times before. Okay, yes, a large number of times before. Sometimes, however, you just want to sit back, relax, and read something you're familiar with. Again.

What I found interesting about this reading of Storm Front is the reminder of how rough Butcher had fleshed out Dresden's world. There are a lot details like how a soul gaze works, and why electronics self-destruct around wizards, that Butcher doesn't have quite worked out. And, of course, this is unsurprising, since this is the first Dresden book, and Butcher was just getting started. The Dresden banter, however, was there, and, oh boy, was entertaining.

And yet, even with the first book, Butcher manages to plant clues that are referenced and revealed ten, twelve books later. Love it.

Another thing I didn't recall about this book just how much Dresden and Murphy were at odds. Their relationship evolves into a better friendship with significant trust, but in this book, the trust hasn't been established.

I will likely keep not reading this book as frequently as the other Dresden books, many which I like more anyway. Still fun as an establishment of the Dresden world.

Of course I recommend the Dresden series. I don't recommend reading this first one more than once, though, unless it's been, say, four or five years since you read it last. Then, yes, reread.

Working for Bigfoot

Book Notes


Another Dresden book!


At least Butcher keeps his fans somewhat happy between Dresden books. Unlike some people *cough* GRRM *cough* *cough*

This one is a collection of three novellas, each longer than a short story, none able to stand on its own, all previously published. The theme of the stories is Bigfoot (-ish, he's one of the Forest People, with a tremendously strong aura) and his son, who seems to get in a lot of trouble.

What I like about this book, aside from DRESDEN (duh), is that it spans many of the books we've already read and loved about Dresden, and follows the life of a kid, Irwin Pounder, as he grows from elementary school to college. We see some of the cases that Harry takes between the big stories we read about in the novels.

And the jokes are pure Dresden / Butcher. Enjoyed the book, wish for more.

White Night

Book Notes

I am uncertain how many times I've read this book. This is at least the fourth time through; my count is likely higher, though. It has one of my favorite Harry scenes in it, even though it isn't one of my top three favorite Dresden books.

The book has the typical Dresden banter and an interesting plot twist. It wraps up a couple ongoing story points, presents Harry and human, and gives us a moment to see Harry's breaking point. The story arc of this book isn't quite the typical Dresden story arc, which is refreshing if you've been on a Dresden streak and understand Butcher's Dresden formula.

I like that Elaine is back in the storyline. The glimpses into her life, as well as the display of her power, are interesting. Reading about Molly and her apprenticeship from the perspective of having read the subsequent seven books is also refreshing.

As always, love the Dresden books. I will, unsurprisingly and of course, read this one again.