I liked this much better than the first one. The first book, for me, came across as borderline pretentious and preachy, leaving me wary and undecidedI liked this much better than the first one. The first book, for me, came across as borderline pretentious and preachy, leaving me wary and undecided whether I actually liked it at all once I came to the last page.
Not so with this book. Maybe my enjoyment had to do with the subject matter being poised on the promise of tragedy or perhaps instead the introduction of two new perspectives (Isabel, whom I adore and a new character Cole who steadily grew on me as the story progressed) helped me when Sam and Grace started echoing a certain Bella and Edward too much.
This may be a little thing but it does bother me that Grace can wax poetic on life and her surroundings in prose but continuously claims she's a boring, uncreative person. How can she be when she sees her life as she does? Or again, does this harken back to the idea of wolves communicating in imagery? Ho hum.
Edit: I must add that this book series is basically and entirely character development rather than a plot that strides decisively from point a to b to c. It sort of... gets there via the scenic route to a very obvious conclusion. This bothered me in the first book but not so much in the second (I don't know if this means I've gotten used to the writer's lyrical style or if I'm merely growing more tolerant? Ha.) I think if Isabel and Cole hadn't been a part of this book, I would've given it a 2 or 3 star rating. I think anything else I could say about the plot would be a spoiler though I will say there were some aspects I found... petty....more
... I'm not entirely sure what I can say without spoiling the plot. Honestly.
The hilarious lines are there as are the oh-so-redundant descriptions of... I'm not entirely sure what I can say without spoiling the plot. Honestly.
The hilarious lines are there as are the oh-so-redundant descriptions of just about everything--Butcher, darling, we get the picture. We know his Blue Beetle is a hodgepodge of parts and colors, his apartment an eclectic theme in a study of texture rather than style or reason, we know what a soul gaze is though I suspect that by reaching book 11 you've gone too far to stop repeating them now... But this is an old gripe and a familiar warning to my friends whenever I recommend the series to anyone.
What did I like? I liked the role reversal for Dresden, though I think the ending was fairly easy to guess at as for the perpetrator. I sort of feel like the characters are reaching the brink of some turning point in terms of their own personal direction and motivation, and I can't help but wonder if this will turn out to be groundwork for the books to follow....more
**spoiler alert** What fun! It was nice to see days in the life of Dresden without the 3-front-attack that he seems to face in the Dresden Files. But**spoiler alert** What fun! It was nice to see days in the life of Dresden without the 3-front-attack that he seems to face in the Dresden Files. But here I go, story by story (and beware! There be spoilers ahead!):
Restoration of Faith: I love the introduction (to each other, I mean) of Karrin Murphy and Harry Dresden. It's also easy to see that this really is his first plunge into the series. Also as I mentioned while reading this--very weird to consider that technically the little girl would be in her early to mid-twenties depending on just how many years there are between this and Storm Front. I sort of wonder if she'll show up in the Dresden Files main story line now that this side-stories collection has been published?
Vignette: Very short piece but who can say no to more banter between Bob and Harry? It's always fun.
Something Borrowed: What's interesting about the stories from this point forward is the back story information we get on the side characters. Sometimes the information is mentioned in passing within the series (I do recall myself wondering, "when did we cover this?" and "aww you're glossing over this?" a few times) Here we get to see the wedding of the two Alphas that was mentioned in passing in Proven Guilty. Naturally I was happy that Murphy got a part in this one.
It's My Birthday Too: I love all things Thomas really and this is no exception. Good fun too, I couldn't stop laughing though when they go into what Thomas is up to at the mall after closing... Also I think it's cute the brothers have holiday birthdays.
Heorot: Here we finally get more back story on the mysterious Ms Gard. I can't remember exactly which book they broke the news (rather nonchalantly at that, but then it is Harry Dresden so who's surprised?) but it was nice to see the revelation as it unfolded. I was a little surprised and amused that Harry wasn't quicker on the draw when it came to realizing just what it was that they were hunting (the name gave it away!). You never had to read that in school??
Day Off: While I liked the tale, it's not one of my favorites from this collection. Poor guy can't really catch a break.
Backup: THOMAS PERSPECTIVE. I was so pleased. Apparently Mike Mignola illustrates a version of this somewhere. I love getting a better look into the White Court and also the struggle Thomas faces with his literal inner Demon. It's just too much fun. And great seeing him interact with character's outside of Harry. Also him noting the changes in Justine (who has certainly grown on me as the books have progressed)
The Warrior: Here's the story where we get to see Michael in the aftermath of his injury in Small Favor. According to Butcher in his blurb before the story, he said a lot of his readers were mad/upset that Michael was taken out of action (I suppose they thought that the fight was his life) but I'm sure Michael rather sees it as a blessing (which is basically what the story shows you). He gets to be with his family 100% and while he was utterly amazing and absolutely enjoyable as a Knight of the Cross, I'm pleased he got his "Happy(ish) Ending". Though I still hope to see more of him as I do enjoy him as a character, even if it is only to rebuild/repair/salvage the Apartment Building. (I also enjoyed him losing his temper in this!)
Last Call: Poor McAnally. I can't help but think of hitting up the tavern in video games though, whenever Dresden goes there. The villain is sort of amusing in that "ohh yeah, they were like that weren't they?" way.
Love Hurts: Bittersweet and lovely. I really liked it. Again, probably because Murphy was in it.
Aftermath: This takes place after Changes and certainly is a great way to whet my appetite for the next one (alas that I must wait until next year for it!) I loved everything about it--that it was from Karrin's perspective, her interactions with the other characters (especially with Marcone and Gard) and also it makes me wonder if my guess may be right for the upcoming book. Only time will tell! ...more