harry-dresden

Skin Game

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 15

This is the third of my three favorite Dresden Files books, along with Dead Beat, book 7, and Changes, book 12.

All three of these books have the common theme of Harry being reflective of his choices, of contemplation of his part is the larger scheme of things, and self-doubt without the self-immobilization that often accompanies self-doubt.

Also in this book, ADVENTURE!

And ACTION!

And romance! Okay, less this one, but still some of this one.

The twist at the end, the mystery of the why of the plot, is great. As is the double twist of Goodman Grey. I hope he comes back in future books.

One of the difficulties with the arc of Dresden, however, is that he keeps getting stronger. He was already in the top six wizards in terms of raw strength. With his training of Molly, he developed finesse. And with the alliance with Mab, he has the power. Where do you go from here? I don't know, but I'll keep reading. If only Butcher would keep writing them. It's been three years and he's off onto a different series.

Strongly recommended if you're a Dresden fan, this is one of the good books. I, of course, believe the series is worth reading, just get through the first couple books to really enjoy them.

“Scared that some bug-eyed freak is going to come calling and kill innocent people because they happen to be in my havoc radius.”
Page 28

Cold Days

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 14

While this isn't in the top three of my favorite Dresden books (those all have Harry thinking about past actions, about life and the choices one makes, and about maturing during those reflections), this is a good, action-packed Harry Dresden book.

I enjoyed it the first time I read it. And the second. And the third. I'm unsure what the count is for this read, but it is at least the fourth read. Yay Butcher.

Aspects I really like about the book revolve around Demonreach and Kris Kringle (I mean, hello, Dresden has freaking Santa Claus on his side, how cool is that?). The major aspect I didn't like about the book is the lack of reset on Harry's powers. I mean, think about it, he died. Before he died he was becoming more and more and more powerful. He was already the sixth strongest wizard alive in the first book, at this point, with his growing into his power and other wizards dying off, he's probably closer to the top spot (but isn't, hello, Merlin). Dying could be a huge reset button, allowing more growth.

But that's not how it is. Instead, he's still mighty powerful, and still attracting even more powerful enemies, and, well, isn't that how Dresden likes it, poking his finger in the eye of the enemy?

Definite read is you're a Dresden fan. Marsters narration is amazing, if you like audio books.

“Life’s about more than breaking even,” I said.
Location: 1,963

“Sometimes I think that’s where most of us are,” I said. “Fighting off the crazy as best we can. Trying to become something better than we were. It’s that second bit that’s important.”
Location: 2,264

Ghost Story

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 13

Okay, if you've been following along in all my Dresden Files reviews, you know that I've read these books numerous times. This particular reading is the rereading having reread all the books in order, unlike my usual rereading of picking up the books in the series I like and just rereading those. As a result of this re-read the whole series plan, I'm reading Dresden books that are part of the series, but not necessarily ones I'm really excited about reading.

Which is to say, Harry is in this odd state, the "Ghost" part of the title of the book, and has "not long" to make things right. Except it is hard for someone who is used to being in control, who is used to having power, who is used to brute-forcing his way through things, to actually have no control, no power, no forcing function.

And it makes things awkward. I don't feel Butcher actually conveys how the loss of power, vitality, life actually feels, however. Dresden is still Dresden, even without his ability to do, well, anything.

I enjoyed the book. If you're reading the series, keep going. It's still good, just not a great Dresden book.

I felt like I had when I was a kid, when I was full of energy and the need to expend it doing something enjoyable.
Location: 238

Tough to blame the kid. I’ve been a young man. Boobs are near the center of the universe, until you turn twenty-five or so. Which is also when young men’s auto insurance rates go down. This is not a coincidence.
Location: 1280

Changes

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 12

I suspect I will have multiple reviews of this book before too long (where "too long" is a couple years, but not "too long" given this site is over 13 years old).

This is my second favorite Dresden book, after Dead Beat. Knowing this when I read it, I, again, tried to figure out what parts I like so much about this book. I'm unsure if I have all the reasons, but I believe Harry's vulnerability, his willingness to ask for help, the good pacing with the action, and the perfect, horrific climax are the major reasons why.

We learn of Harry's daughter in this book, no spoiler, we knew this from the ending of the previous book. Since Dresden was an orphan, being a good parent, being the parent he didn't have, would be incredibly important to Harry. Those emotions and needs we see in the book. Butcher does a good job with hiding just enough from the reader, and revealing other details, that the action pulls the reader along.

I didn't like the ending, but, well, that's to be expected, given the ending. There were following books, so I guess I'm okaaaaaaaaay with the ending now. First reading, not so much.

Of course, I recommend this book.

“Anxiety, anger, and agitation cloud the mind. That’s why the Worry Room is here.”
Page: 53

“You get yourself an apartment and your plumbing goes bad, he’ll still be there,” I said quietly. “Some guy breaks your heart, he’ll come over with ice cream. A lot of people never have a dad willing to do that stuff. Most of the time, it matters a hell of a lot more.”
Page: 101

Turn Coat

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 11

Turn Coat is not my one of my favorite Dresdent books. I don't dislike it, I don't dislike any of the Dresden books, but I'm not enthusiastic about this one. Of course, I'm more likely to read this one than the first two Dresden books, so it's all relevant.

What I don't like about this book is the assumptions that Dresden makes and goes all half-cocked about them, then boom "reality" returns. It's normal, I'm rooting for Dresden, I lurrrrrrve the image I have of Dresden, I'm biased towards Dresden, how can he possibly be wrong?

Yeah.

I'm a fan of Demonreach, though, and love that Dresden has no f'ing clue what he has done with the island (our awareness only happens by knowing the Dresden future, which is cheating, of course).

I'm less a fan of Peabody. Unsurprising there.

If you're a fan of the Dresden books, keep reading. If you're not a fan, start at book one - get through the first two books in order to understand the beauty of what Butcher has created.

There are bad things in the world. There’s no getting away from that. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be done about them. You can’t abandon life just because it’s scary, and just because sometimes you get hurt.
Page 27

I had to leave messages for two, but Bill Meyers in Dallas answered on the second ring. “Howdy,” Meyers said. I’m serious. He actually answered the phone that way.
Page 46

Yep, this is how I answer the phone, too.

Small Favor

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 10

Okay, Small Favor is weird.

It opens with Dresden being afraid of Mab. Like terrified of Mab. Like, what the hell is going on, terrified of Mab. Which is weird. First time I read this book (wow, nine years ago), I commented on this odd opening to Andy, and he agreed, it was strange to him, too.

Essentially, Dresden is cornered by Mab, who insists he accept a task from her. Except that wasn't what his agreement with her was. And it's all confusing.

That said, I enjoyed this book. It is one of the better Dresden books, the opening not-with-standing. The mystery of the blasting rod isn't really clear, but the "You should listen to her" comment is haunting.

I enjoyed this book. I lurve all the Dresden books. I want everyone to get through the first two books, to the enjoyment of the next thirteen. Wait, there are that many? How many times have I read this series again? Thanks, Heather.

Proud doesn’t always outweigh practical.
Page 21

It’s amazing what you can get used to if your daily allowance of bizarre is high enough. “As it was before the working that rent it asunder.”
Page 43

What they say is true: There’s nothing as exhilarating as being shot at and missed. When the shooter happens to be a fairy-tale hit man, it just adds to the zest.
Page 58

She stared at me for a long moment and then said, “Families stay, Harry.” She lifted her chin, sudden and fierce pride briefly driving out the grief in her eyes. “He would stay for you.”
Page 395

White Night

Book Notes

The Dresden Files, book 9

Previous book review.

Okay, this is a middle of the road Dresden book. It is a Dresden book, so OF COURSE I enjoyed it. However, it is neither one of my top three Dresden books, nor one of the Dresden books that I'm not particularly fond of. It is, as a Dresden book, a fun ride. "But of course!"

This book does have some pivotal points, though, that I keep replaying even after reading all the books for the third (fourth?) time. The fight scene in the Deeps replays. The relinquish of the coin. The sacrifice for love with the conversation of free will. The description of pain, and how it is for the living. Small things, standing out in a larger work.

If you're a fan of Butcher's Dresden Files series, keep reading. If you don't know about the series, start at book one and read to at least book three before stopping.

“You’re right,” he said. “This is a war. Bad things happen to people, even if no one makes any mistakes.”
Page 215

I couldn’t. Being a wizard gives you more power than most, but it doesn’t change your heart. We’re all human. We’re all of us equally naked before the jaws of pain.
Page 235

“Hate,” she said, “and love are not so very different things. Both are focused upon another. Both are intense. Both are passionate.”
Page 262

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

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