In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, with a dash of mysticism but firmly planted in the wild Wyoming landscape, these books and their charmingly flawedIn the tradition of Tony Hillerman, with a dash of mysticism but firmly planted in the wild Wyoming landscape, these books and their charmingly flawed characters are rapidly becoming my favorite mystery series. They are perhaps what Colin Cotterill would have written if he'd decided to set his sights on modern Wyoming instead of communist Laos, because these characters with their unexpected but totally authentic quirks and war-hardened attitudes, the whirling backdrop of vivid place and culture speckled liberally with visitors from the spirit world and the steady stream of corpses that intrude upon their otherwise bland days are cut along the same pattern, if not from the same cloth.
I wasn't planning on reading this right away, but I went to a Jim BUtcher book signing last week and couldn't help but pick it up. I am trying to finiI wasn't planning on reading this right away, but I went to a Jim BUtcher book signing last week and couldn't help but pick it up. I am trying to finish my Kate Elliot books first (because of a bet, not because they are better) but it's a struggle.
At the book signing, a fan asked Jim Butcher, "Why do you hate Harry Dresden?" And, indeed, it does appear that Mr. Butcher has been sitting around thinking to himself "What's the WORST thing I could do to Harry?" and then gleefully typing away. I really really like these books, and I am impressed at the relatively consistent quality across such a long series. As the title suggests, this book is shaping up to be different in many ways from the previous ones, but the wonderfully witty narrative voice with its laugh-out-loud moments is still present.
I can't wait to read the rest.
EDITED TO ADD:
Well, now I've finished it, and though I had seen a spoiler before reaching the end of the book, the end is still... pretty gutwrenching. As the puzzle unravels, there are numerous glimmers of hope that are twisted into horrible reality by circumstance, and resolve in a scorched-earth new beginning kind of way, until that, too, is taken away. I can't wait to read the next one.
There is some interesting LOTR imagery employed towards the end here, where Harry and his posse assign themselves fellowship characters before going on their desperate epic quest. Harry briefly protests not being cast as Gandalf... afterall, he IS the wizard. But, his friends cast him as Sam, someone who sacrifices everything for love and whose steadfastness ultimately saves the day. I have to wonder if the Gandalf reference was a way for Jim Butcher to tell us that Harry is not coming back from his tragic end, or whether it was a way to tell us not to lose hope? In any case, the post-Changes dresden files, which Mr. Butcher himself assures us will contain 8-10 volumes, will be interesting. I can't really believe that Jim Butcher would kill the golden goose, unless he is trying to pull a Rick Castle and permanently disappear his hero in a fit of writerly pique. But Castle is fictional, and Jim Butcher has a mortgage and kid going off to college soon, so I believe that the Golden Goose, one Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, will somehow reappear. ...more