Friday, December 11

Jim Butcher: Grave Peril

When ghosts suddenly become restless and start causing trouble it is up to the only professional wizard in the phone book to discover why and put a stop to it before anybody else gets hurt. Assisted by a Christian warrior and hindered by his godmother (a fairy of the traditional kind-untrustworthy with a cruel bent), he tracks down the source of the problem and deals with it. Though he saves the day it is not easy and results in great personal loss.
This is the third book in the Dresden Files series and I can’t decide whether I liked it or not.
The fantasy element was stronger than in the previous book, as was the Christian message, though both were done well and neither seemed misplaced. There’s plenty of the action and humour that I enjoyed so much in the previous story and the world building-this time expanding upon vampires-goes from strength to strength.
So far, so good: so what bothered me? Two things.
Firstly, the trouble upon trouble that was piled onto the hero went just that little bit too far. He frequently taps himself out, both physically and magically and simply has no more to give and then the situation intensifies and, will you look at that, he does have just that little bit more he needs to get out. Once or twice this would be okay but at almost every turn it become less and less believable-a sin even in fantasy novels.
Secondly, as I read I kept feeling as though I’d skipped a book and was behind on the story. This is definitely the third book in the series, I actually went and checked to be sure, but it seems to draw on events that I don’t remember from previous books. Admittedly it has been nearly two years since I read the first book in the series and some of the events may have occurred there and I simply don’t remember them (the first book didn’t leave me with much of an impression). But there was an irritating sense of not knowing something I should right through the story. Perhaps there were some short stories with these characters that I missed or something along those lines.
Anyway, apart from these two quibbles I continue to enjoy the series concept and the writing isn’t bad so I’ll give the next title a go. Hopefully it will be a return to the unquestionable good form of the second book.-Lynn

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