Decided to try this series, as I keep hearing 'Dresden files' everywhere for some reason, and apparently it's even a tv series? I couldn't let an urba...moreDecided to try this series, as I keep hearing 'Dresden files' everywhere for some reason, and apparently it's even a tv series? I couldn't let an urban fantasy get so popular without knowing what its about!
There are many mixed reviews about this, some love it and some hate it. But I am suprised at the negative reviews, as many complaints could be raised against the genre as a whole, but if you pick up an urban fantasy book - don't you know what you're getting into? I've seen complaints about the following; the way Harry does magic, what Harry wears, the sexism, the private investigator cliche.. But I don't see the problem, as just about ever Urban Fantasy novel does it the same. And even despite this, the book is still original, well planned out, and generally very good.
If you want to find sexism in UF, try the Anita Blake series, thats 10 times worse, except no one would complain about that because it's the Woman surrounded by Good-looking males. Somehow, it's apparently a problem to some readers, that Harry happens to be a straight male, who notices good looking women, and some of those women happen to be attracted to him. Hey it's fantasy! If I wrote fantasy, It'd have sexy girls in it too! (And food.. possibly cake.) But anyway you can't complain that a Fantasy is too.. fantasy.. End Rant.
The best part? The potions! I have never seen a single wizard in Urban Fantasy use potions before now, I have to say it was the best bit for me. It was like Harry Potter for Adults, but not as lame as that sounds..
In the end, a very solid 4 stars, enjoyed it, nice easy read, with original interesting ideas, and a decent mystery. Definately going to continue reading the series.
Cal Leandros is only half human. His father was one of an evil otherworldly race that Cal and his brother refer to as 'Grendels'. And their mother was...moreCal Leandros is only half human. His father was one of an evil otherworldly race that Cal and his brother refer to as 'Grendels'. And their mother was an uncaring drunkard, so that side of the family sucks too. The only reliable and constant in Cal's life is his big brother Nik, and they have spent the last 4 years on the run together, moving from city to city, trying to stay away from the rest of the Grendels who are desperately trying to get hold of Cal for their own nefarious purposes.
But it turns out Cal and Nik just can't keep running forever, and sooner or later they have to find out exactly what the Grendels want with Cal, and you can bet its not for a polite afternoon of tea and cakes.
What I liked: Rob Thurman does really well at capturing the inner voice of a 19-year old kid, thats some seriously impressive grasp of character. She also does amazingly well at getting inside the head of the psychotic bad guy in later parts of the novel, and that guy is really truly sick and twisted, that has to have been difficult to write, so kudos to Thurman.
Cal is supremely witty, the whole thing is peppered with quips and clever remarks, and the banter between Cal and his brother is fun. I actually didn't get tired of the constant humour, in fact it was probably one of my favourite bits.
What I didn't like: Most of the action scenes. To me it felt rather like this is a novel that wished it were a manga. Most of the action was set up rather precariously just in order to build up what would be some rather visually impressive scenes, but none of it held up logically. For example: a horde of Grendels take absolutely ages to run towards our heros from mere yards away, which sure looks good when you imagine it in slow motion, but in real life that combat would have been over in seconds, and our heroes would not have had time to have their heart-felt moment.
That said, I did quite enjoy the novel overall. But I don't think I'll be carrying on with the series. It's just not quite my cup of tea.(less)
After reading Storm Front, I went almost directly onto reading Fool Moon. I'm glad I did. Although I did really like Storm Front, I think that Fool Mo...moreAfter reading Storm Front, I went almost directly onto reading Fool Moon. I'm glad I did. Although I did really like Storm Front, I think that Fool Moon was actually better; a bit of a step up.
This installment has Harry involved in hepling Murphy and the Police dept to track down the culprits of some werewolf style killings. And interestingly enough, it turns out things are more complicated than it seems, there are more than one type of werewolf to consider! And yet again the local Mafia leader, Marcone, is attempting to get Harry onto his own side and under his thumb.
What I liked most about Fool Moon was the total sense of danger. Harry gets in real big trouble more than once, and despite him being the POV of the book (he's not going to die right), I actually was in fear for his life several times. But he always finds some hidden untapped depths to his magic, or even just sheer mortal unwillingness to give up.
The side characters also seem more developed in this book, Murphy especially became more real and solid, I like her character a lot. I hope she and Susan are both developed more in the next book.
The city has been plagued by an unusual amount of violent ghost activity, and Harry along with his friend Michael (a new character to the series) have...moreThe city has been plagued by an unusual amount of violent ghost activity, and Harry along with his friend Michael (a new character to the series) have been doing their best to exorcise the spirits. It soon becomes clear that the ghosts have been incited by someone with evil intentions, and then theres even worse than that in store, A girl with visions of the future (not good visions), Possessions, and an invite to a vampire ball that Harry would be very wise not to attend.
At first I was somewhat confused, as the book begins by introducing a new character, Michael, but as Harry already had a long aquantence with him, I was left wondering if I had missed a book out as I had no clue who this new guy was! It was a bewildering way to introduce a new character, but once I got past that I really loved Michael's character. I always love it when faith plays a tangible role in magic and fighting evil. So a holy knight was just a brilliant addition. The mechanics of the magical/holy interaction were done really well, it completely made up for every episode of buffy or supernatural where a demon/vampire walks on consecrated ground without blinking, haha.
I also loved the portrayal of vampires in this one, we got a little glimpse into the true form of vampires with Bianca in the first one, but here they take a much bigger role. I like my fantasy to have a little bit of horror with its glamour!
Harry has had a rough time of it lately, he hasn't seen his gf-turned-almost-vampire in a while, and he blames himself of course. He hasn't been worki...moreHarry has had a rough time of it lately, he hasn't seen his gf-turned-almost-vampire in a while, and he blames himself of course. He hasn't been working, he barely eats, he's broke, and he certainly hasn't washed. So when werewolf friend Billy books him an appointment with a client he really needs to take it. Even when it turns out it's the Winter Queen of fairy, and she wants a murder and theft investigated. It seems good and simple but you know theres going to be a catch.. poor Harry.
I actually quite like fairy fantasy when its done well, and I thought this one was. The fairy aren't all fun and games, they're mostly cruel and selfish, and don't really have a care for mortals apart from how they can use them. And they also happen to be very attractive! My favourite fae probably had to be the Winter Lady, I loved her multicoloured hair, and I liked that she was a little bit crazy. I also like that Harry notices womens breasts, if I'm going to be looking through the protagonists eyes, I always want it to be someone like Harry. Go Harry!
One of the best opening scenes for a Dresden novel yet, Dresden is fleeing for his life, carrying a box of puppies, and being chased by purple monkey...moreOne of the best opening scenes for a Dresden novel yet, Dresden is fleeing for his life, carrying a box of puppies, and being chased by purple monkey demons that fling flaming poo. Awesome. Just awesome.
Then Thomas, Harry's white court vampire friend, persuades Harry to take on a job as a favour to him. Arturo Genosa is a producer of x-rated movies, and women around him are being killed off by an entropy curse. So Harry has to protect the women, whilst trying to find the actual perpetrator, and he gets to work undercover on a porn movie set while he's doing it! He also gets much more involved in vampire politics, and white court politics in particular thanks to Thomas, and uncovers a very HUGE secret.
Perhaps I'm easily amused but the book opening was probably the most memorable part for me. And funny really cos I actually hate monkeys, and this just proved that monkeys are Bad of course.
I've recently watched the entirety of the Dresden Files tv series (it really didn't last long did it), and I did actually love it, although it was different to the books. But now it's confusing my mental picture of Harry, I really liked the tv characterisation, so I'm trying to see Harry that way, but it's not working because his 'voice' in the books seems a little too young to me now. But then I can't really blame the book for that, because the series came after.
The one point where the book did actually let me down, was near the ending, things got very convoluted in the magical explanations that Harry was coming out with, and my brain just couldn't keep up with it all. I ended up not sure what the problem was, or who was in danger. I thought about going back and re-reading, but in the end I just carried on, which made the resolution a bit anti-climatic, because I didn't know what was going on in the first place.. Ohwell we can still say it's my fault and not the books fault, because I was probably just not paying enough attention.
I still love the Dresden books, and I can't wait to see what next with the black court, the white court, Thomas, and most of all the lovely new addition to the Harry team.
Harry has been though so much crap since book 1, and yet he just keeps fighting. He's had his hand burned to a crisp, his girlfriend Susan was partial...moreHarry has been though so much crap since book 1, and yet he just keeps fighting. He's had his hand burned to a crisp, his girlfriend Susan was partially turned into a vampire (and as much as she's fighting the change, it seems like its rather killed their chance at happiness together), and now he has the fallen angel Lasciel inside his mind.
Now Harry is being blackmailed by Mavra, a particularly nasty black court vampire, who threatens to release pictures of Murphy killing humans (they were mindless vampire slaves, but that won't matter, it'll still ruin her). And all Mavra wants Harry to do is get hold of the legendary book of Kemmler - pretty much the definitive black magic book for necromancers. And it just so happens that theres a bunch of necromancers in town that want the book for themselves.
All that Harry has suffered lately.. has changed him somewhat, not that he was ever naive or innocent in the first place, but now he's certainly a bit darker, and he knows it. It's a scary thing to think that while Harry continues to fight on the side of good, every time he fights the bad guys he has to dirty himself a little bit more to defeat them. And it breaks my heart a little bit every time he has to make such a hard choice, it really does. Thats the mark of a great character I guess.
At least Harry has friends on his side, Michael and Murphy are just the best. And now Harry has Mouse the dog and his brother Thomas. Even Butters the Medical Examiner gets a good role as sidekick in this episode - in what is arguably the greatest, most awesome 'holy shit' moment in the whole book! And I suppose even Morgan isn't all bad.. sometimes.
With book 7 this is getting to the stage where most novel series start do go downhill, not so with The Dresden Files, it really does just get better. More heartbreaking, but better. And as long as Jim Butcher keeps writing, I will keep reading.
See my other reviews of The Dresden Files: ← #6 Blood Rites | #8 Proven Guilty (review coming soon!)(less)
Alexia Tarabotti, is awoken by her irate werewolf husband, who promptly dissappears, and leaves her with an encampment of soldiers and werewolves on t...moreAlexia Tarabotti, is awoken by her irate werewolf husband, who promptly dissappears, and leaves her with an encampment of soldiers and werewolves on the front lawn, and instructions to visit a certain hat-shop. At the hat shop she makes the aquantence of Madame LeFoux, a fascinating suit-wearing mechanical genius, and gains a new parasol. Then when Alexia finds out about the problem of whole areas where vampires and werewolves are entirely losing their supernatural abilities.. and that this area has moved north to scotland, precisely where her husband has gone.. Alexia takes matters into her own hands, and takes a dirigible north, accompanied by Ivy Hisselpenny, her sister, Tunstall, and Madame LeFoux.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than the first one. Most entirely due to the introduction of the new character - Madame LeFoux. With her top-hats and suits, her mechanical prowess, and her subtle interests in Alexia; it wasn't so much openly noted that she was a lesbian, (but then it's never entirely openly said that Lord Akeldama is gay), but it doesn't need to be. Maybe I should be suprised about how much I can enjoy a book because of a single possibly lesbian character. But you just don't expect this in a popular paranormal book! And she was a well-written character, and certainly not one written for straight males, I applaud miss Carriger for this!
The plot was actually fairly good, and I was fairly suprised by the nice twist of the ending. I still wish the cause and the mechanics of this 'soulless' thing would be gone into in more detail, rather than just being a term for something she is, without any other repurcussions. I mean, the way things stand there is no evidence to say that she doesn't have a soul, and her powers could be explained just by any other meaningless arbitrary term. But I'm sure I said that in the first book review.. maybe book 3 will have more answers?
I'm still not entirely convinced on the style of writing, but thats just me. And I still have niggles about little things, (like calling a meal breakfast because they ate it in the morning, when really it can't be breakfast unless it's the first meal after fasting during sleeping - hence break fast). But, I am picky sometimes, thats just me.
Overall, I really thought it was a decent book, and you shouldn't let my niggles put you off, it's worth ignoring any possible failings and getting into!