These are some creepy stories! I don't generally read horror, so I might be a bit of a wimp for this kind of story. After starting the first story, IThese are some creepy stories! I don't generally read horror, so I might be a bit of a wimp for this kind of story. After starting the first story, I decided this would be better read during the day. Ok, I am a wimp. Many of these stories are very short, but manage to convey just enough to portray real horror. The first story, Inside, for example - the demeanor of the changed people was unsettling. The briefness of the story, leaving you to imagine how it unfolds, adds to its disturbing nature. That is the way with many of these stories - short enough to set up a disturbing scenario and leaving you to fill in the blanks. Truly chilling. Some have a surprise ending, like Mr. and Mrs. Odd, that startle you at the last moment. Body Parts was appropriately creepy - until that ending! Did not expect that! I really enjoyed Mrs. O'Malley's children. The tension was high from the start, good characters with just enough backstory. I even got a little emotional a couple of times. Great climax, and this time we got a good, if not happy, ending. All in all, a great collections of stories that will chill you and keep you up at night. ...more
I enjoyed getting back to Harper Blaine, though this seemed to start out a bit slower than previous stories. It felt like Richardson was explaining aI enjoyed getting back to Harper Blaine, though this seemed to start out a bit slower than previous stories. It felt like Richardson was explaining a lot, but this simply could be that I've read all the previous books, and there's information a new reader would need. Still wish it was spread out a bit more. Harper is a bit more connected to the case she becomes invovled in, in that she becomes part of the case. Not quite a victim, but she suffers a bit more than usual. Well, she does tend to suffer in various ways for her clients, so perhaps this is usual. But she's more scared than usual, it seems. Like she has less control, more at stake. And she's more aware of that fear, and other emotions, than in previous stories. Like she's learned not to shut out the whole world. But I have a new character to hate: James Purlis. Ugh. Keep away from Quinton and Harper! He seems just the right balance of calculating, cold, resentful, and knowledgable to cause them a great deal of trouble. And it looks like he'll be causing plenty more in the future. A wonderful mix of ghosts and government spooks, the next story is already set up and promises to be quite the doozy. Lots of trouble headed Harper and Quinton's way. Perhaps this one was a quieter, more moderately paced story because the next will not be? A ghost story through and through, with all the creepiness you'd expect, just a little calmer pace than I'd come to expect from Richardson. ...more
Ghost Story is a very different story than the previous books in the Dresden Files. Which is saying something for the author. After nearly a dozen booGhost Story is a very different story than the previous books in the Dresden Files. Which is saying something for the author. After nearly a dozen books, he still comes up with something totally different. And, boy, is this one a ride and a half.
The one thing wrong with this story is not with the story, but the audiobook. James Marsters did not read Ghost Story! It wouldn't matter who replaced him, Marsters has become the voice of Harry Dresden in my head, and to have someone else read for him was just wrong. Apologies to Mr. Glover.
We learn a lot more about Harry's past in Ghost Story than in previous installments, both in passing and in full flashbacks. I'm not a big fan of flashbacks -- I feel like they put the story on pause -- so I was torn. We do learn about a crucial time in Harry's life, though: when he had to leave Justin DuMorne and fight his first battle at sixteen, a life-altering event. I'm not sure whether it needs two chapters to give us everything we need to know of the story, though. And I wonder if it could have been positioned differently, so it doesn't seem like a thinly disguised request by Lea for the story in exchange for answers to three questions. Yes, Lea says she doesn't know what happened at that time in his life. And yes, Harry says the Sidhe are ravenous for information. It is their basic currency, in fact. But it doesn't quite feel compelling enough as a reason for the two chapter flashback.
(view spoiler)[ This story, including the flashback, does help bring Harry to understand that much of his life, and the events that seemed to just happen around and to him, have been directed and planned, an idea that's been hinted at throughout the series. At times, he was even led to certain situations, as with He Who Walks Behind. But for all the storytelling, I was waiting for a bigger shoe to drop, a greater connection to Harry's life, his past or his future. Perhaps this will be revealed in time.
Instead of further revelations, He Who Walks Behind and the story of their first encounter act as a window into Harry's earlier life. We've only gotten peeks at that time before, so I enjoyed learning more about younger Harry. It seems this is not the last we'll see of He Who Walks Behind. Whether or not there are larger connections remains to be seen then.
Harry is a bit more introspective than usual throughout the story, which makes sense as a ghost (ok, ghost-ish), so I'm okay with that. Especially since Harry is told that ghosts are made of memories, so it seems right when he slips into a memory from time to time, such as the first time he used magic. And eventually he has to reach for his memories to use his magic, and so we get more background, but these seem to have a purpose, which makes it part of the story. It is fascinating to see these bits of his life we've never seen. But it's so unusual, since we usually just get a tease, a droplet of a peek into his life, it was surprising at first. I realized how much I didn't know about Harry Dresden.
He does seem sidetracked from his mission at one point, but even he acknowledges that. Instead of looking for his murderer, he ends up trying to help Murphy find who shot up her house. When he finds them, he vows to help one of the boys instead. Then he sees Mort kidnapped and tries to free him. He does need him, since it's easiest for him to communicate with others through Mort, but others have found creative ways to get their messages across the life-death line, so he's not essential. What is important for him is that he has dragged Mort into his problems, and he feels he owes it to him to help him. Which is the same reason he wants to help Molly, whose condition is partly if not mostly due to Harry's actions. Eventually, Harry notes that he's not doing what he's been sent to do, even though Lea says he's been doing nothing but. He and we just had to wait and see how all these pieces fit together. It was just a bit more complicated than usual.
For most of the story, I wondered where Thomas was. It didn't make sense -- until we got the explanation at the end. I had considered that Harry might have been doing some memory blocking thing on his brother somehow. But I missed Thomas. I like the character. It's a bit of a stretch that he could block him out of his mind so totally that he would not think of him when he thought of the last time he'd seen Molly, when she was shot at Chichen Itza. That was also the last he'd seen Thomas, who'd pledged to guard Molly with his life. But the author's given an explanation, and I rarely have issues with these stories, so I'll give the guy some slack.
There were a couple of little inconsistencies. For example, as a ghost, Harry has to not only be out of the sunlight, but in a place considered a sanctum, a sanctuary of sorts, to be safe from the dawn. He goes to his grave the first two nights. But when Butters comes for him, he jumps into Bob's skull for safety, then jumps out at the warehouse. Why is he -- and Bob, who shadowed him the whole time -- safe in there? What makes it a sanctum (but without a threshold, which would have kept out him and Bob)? Or is it? Not sure of the explanation for that one.
Now -- that ending? Did not see that coming. Not. At. All. Yes, yes, it made a lot things make sense. But who his murderer was? Not in a million years. And the kicker? For all that planning, for all those gut-wrenching decisions that were made, it didn't work!
He now has to fulfill his promise to Mab to be the Winter Knight. Sure, he made a great challenge to Mab at the end as a condition to his service to her. But will it work? His experience as a ghost taught him that he was his own. No one can take away what is essentially him about him, what makes him Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Will he manage to remain himself? It's Luke joining up with Vader. Mulder working with Smoking Man. It can't turn out well. There will be some bad moments, maybe more bad than good. (hide spoiler)] This line made me laugh out loud: Murphy: There's a circle made of copper wire in the kitchen. If it gets hot in here, you can run for it. You know how to empower a circle? Mortimer: Yes, of course. Though I can't imagine running for my life and stopping in the kitchen. Meaning no offense to your protective ability, but I'll stop when I'm home, thank you.
That Mort, he's a smart fella.
What I'm more concerned about, really concerned about, is Cold Days, the next book, is the last book! I'll have to wait for the next! How will I do that? Some serious withdrawal ahead...
On my second read: And yes, this was a read -- I didn't listen to the audiobook, knowing it wasn't read by James Marsters. It was too jarring last time, and this time I've gone through the whole series by audiobook, so it would have been worse.
(view spoiler)[I said above I thought that a bigger shoe would have dropped when they linked Harry's first attack by He Who Walks Behind, when he was sixteen, to everything that had followed, hinting that much of his life has been manipulated or at the very least linked. I think instead the information is just coming out slower. That was a big confirmation of what was slowly becoming obvious, but there will be few big reveals here. Although Cold Days has a few of its own in store.
Anyway... Knowing what was coming didn't always make things easier. Watching Murphy try to accept Harry's death was just as heartbreaking. As was Harry's goodbye to Mouse and his daughter at the end. No, I think that was worse, actually.
I realized Molly was way more messed up than I first thought. She's been killing humans, those helping the Fomors, and found it "easier than it should have been." She's not the same Molly that went to Chichen Itza.
And I understand the end, the explanation for it all, a bit better this time. How Harry was manipulated by so many beings of great power: Mab and Demonreach wanted him alive, but Uriel was the one who wanted him to take care of the Corpsetaker, as I understand it. Except he thought he'd been given the choice more clearly than Jack had laid it out. Uriel was still manipulating him in the end, since he didn't tell him he wasn't dead. He just said he had to accept the consequences of his actions. All these powerful beings putting their two cents into how Harry's life works out says a lot about Harry. He must be someone crucial to the future. Or at least with a lot of power to change things, to alter the course of the future, to act where perhaps others can't. Maybe. Something huge is in store for Harry. Even bigger than being the Winter Knight, I think.
Butcher manages to find new ways every time to create trouble for Harry and not have it seem like 'been there done that.' Implications the White CouncButcher manages to find new ways every time to create trouble for Harry and not have it seem like 'been there done that.' Implications the White Council isn't all it seems, changes Harry's going through, and a hint of romance to boot. Bring it on!
Great evolution of characters in this one. We still get action and suspense, but we also get to know the characters better and see how they've changed. At the same time, the larger arc for Harry continues to develop. But I feel sorry for him sometimes! He continues to get banged up, attacked from multiple directions, and the pace of events is unrelenting. Which for the reader is awesome. For Harry, not so much.
Harry is definitely the flawed hero, and at times even a dark hero. His choices can be questionable. He has weaknesses that get him into trouble -- too often. But why oh why, Harry, did you say yes? No spoilers here, but dear Harry, you know that's going to bite you in the ass, and probably sooner than later...
A fantastic, wild climax, everything you want, and still laugh out loud funny. The wrap up was a bit briefer than I'd like, but that's mainly because I'm waiting to see what happens to certain people. I know they'll be addressed in the next book -- I hope!
I must say--and I should have said this in one of my earlier reviews for this series -- that I highly recommend starting this series from the first book. While Butcher does give brief reviews of the basics of the story world and how Harry's magic works, etc., there is a larger story arc that unfolds gradually, a little bit in each book. If you started a few books in, or say, in book #6, you'd miss a lot of the implications of what was going on, you'd be missing an understanding of the characters and how they developed, and certain revelations or events wouldn't have as much meaning for you. It's even possible you wouldn't understand what's going on -- though I can't say for sure, since I'm reading them in order. So, do yourself a favor and start from book #1. You'll enjoy the series all the more -- and I bet you won't be able to stop there!
And on my second read: (view spoiler)[I appreciate Butters so much more this time around. His attempts to reconcile his scientific knowledge with the magic he's seen is quite believable, even though this second time around it felt like it took a while. And his sarcasm is priceless. He's a trooper!
I have tons of questions about Malcolm Dresden. He wasn't allowed to visit before "others crossed the line" - what line? Necromancy? That he knows about his brother? And Malcolm refers to the beast in the woods as "the Demon." Does he mean Lasciel? She's not really a demon. I had thought it was He Who Walks Behind. Is that a Demon? I supposed they all could come under the general term of Demon. And by what power is Malcolm appearing? And who sent him? Or was it his idea?
Calling up Lea and getting Mab was even more scary now that I know how scary she really is, how badass she is. [Unless you've read through Cold Days:] (view spoiler)[And her certainty that Harry will one day take up the mantle as her knight is nothing less than creepy. Ominous, seeing as she's right. (hide spoiler)]
Even Captain Luccio bowed deeply to Mac. Can't wait to find out who and what he really is.
A reanimated Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue gets the prize. And polka will never die. (hide spoiler)]...more
"Wow," Bob said. "You're dying. What a great plan."
Bob always knows how to put things.
Still loving Harry Dresden. The third installment offers a broad"Wow," Bob said. "You're dying. What a great plan."
Bob always knows how to put things.
Still loving Harry Dresden. The third installment offers a broader picture of Harry Dresden's world, and like before, he starts playing with the line between good and bad magic.
Jim Butcher is teaching me a lot about writing, about story, and storytelling. How to continue to make things worse for your character. Don't just put a time limit on him saving everyone. Make him take poison that puts a time limit on his life-saving! How to unfold backstory: in drips and drabs. He mentions the Nevernever nearly immediately in the first book. But I don't think he ever outright explains it. Harry will mention, say, Faeries, and Bob will elaborate: "Either we get the Disney version of Faerie, with elves and tinkerbell pixies and who knows what sugary cuteness, or we get the wicked witch version, which is considerably more entertaining, but less healthy." He drops bits of information only when we need them. And sometimes even then we have to wait. It makes for a smoothly flowing story that seems to unfold effortlessly and keeps you turning the pages.
I like the character of Michael, though I don't know exactly what he is. I don't know if we'll see him again, but I hope so.
And Harry continues to make mistakes and pay the price for them. He loses people. He makes enemies. He starts wars. And he doesn't even get paid.
And I love him even more for it.
And upon my rereading: I can now see how well Jim Butcher does his foreshadowing. Rarely is anything we read for nothing. (view spoiler)[In some small ways, like when he's hit with some nails in Faerie. Or his taking the poison to avoid fulfilling his bargain with Lea -- won't be the first time he tries to use suicide to avoid becoming a lackey of Winter.
I can see how in this book the Big Bads stepped up their game a bit. Harry had to go bigger and badder. But he only sees it in the context of the current situation. I'm thinking something was afoot overall, even from this early on. And earlier, likely. Lea bargained with Harry for his fealty when he was a kid. Even then, people/beings were trying to get a piece of him. There's a reason for that.
I'm so glad this wasn't the last we saw of Michael or Thomas. They were great additions to the cast. I really wish Susan hadn't been so obstinate about going to that ball, though...
And I've finished a third read! Still having new insights into the characters and series arc. I really enjoy seeing Michael and Harry's friendship develop. But this book made me realize that even this early, Michael is a lot older than I realized. Which makes him even more badass. And he is badass.
I'd really like to know what made Harry's mom make Lea his godmother. Lea clearly had interest in Harry from the beginning. And she was interested in Molly even now, since she did ask Michael for her.
I also wonder about Harry's memories of his nightmares of "monsters" shortly before his father's death. Could they have not been nightmares? Were there beings -- monsters -- after his father, or after Harry? (hide spoiler)]
"There should be some kind of rule against needing to kill anything more than once." Yes, Harry, there should be.
Oh, such torture, and loving every minute of it. ...more
I'm so happy to have Harper Blaine back! Similar in some ways, Seawitch was a different story too. This trip with Harper Blaine and her ghosts kept meI'm so happy to have Harper Blaine back! Similar in some ways, Seawitch was a different story too. This trip with Harper Blaine and her ghosts kept me turning pages. The characters' interactions were funny, intriguing, or sometimes curious , and I enjoyed getting to know them better, especially Solis. It was interesting to see how Harper's abilities (and her understanding of them) have changed. I sensed a change in her relationship with Quinton too, but I hope that doesn't change too much! His secretive exit before their boat ride made me nervous. I guess I'm a little attached to him...
I'm glad to see Solis back too. Their interaction is always fun, but the reveal changed things. I was surprised Harper told him her secret so quickly, though it turned out well - it meant he would be a full participant in the madness that followed. And he was due to find out. It was amusing to watch him struggle with something so outside his experience. I'm not sure he didn't question his sanity - or Harper's - by the end of the story.
I did like this line that came early in the story, when Harper was debating telling Solis: "I… sometimes have little disagreements with… um, with reality. And physics."
Finally, a new Odd Thomas story after quite a while (the Odd Interlude series was a good warm-up to this new one).
I enjoy the tone of the Odd Thomas bFinally, a new Odd Thomas story after quite a while (the Odd Interlude series was a good warm-up to this new one).
I enjoy the tone of the Odd Thomas books. Casual, as if we're having a conversation. His sarcastic remarks or odd observations at tense moments make this a fun read even when there are mutant pig people trying to rip him apart. This lightens the otherwise ominous tone of Odd's struggle with the darkness he must use to accomplish his missions. I don't care for the repeated references to his short life span. It's as if Koontz is preparing us for his coming demise. I hate to think of it, yet it feels inevitable.
Overall, I think it's the character of Odd Thomas that draws me to these stories. He's a unique character, one that you can't help empathizing with and even growing to care about. And not wanting to DIE.
A third of the way through Apocalypse, I was missing the character of Annamaria, wishing she was more a part of the story. It's not that her character is so brilliant. We actually don't know much about her, though we do learn a bit more about who she is in this story. Annamaria provides Odd with clues, encouragement, and even hope. But she's not a part of the story. Although Odd talks about her often enough that she feels like she should be, like at any point she will become more central to the story, she doesn't. When Odd wants or needs to speak with her, he goes to her room, which she never leaves. It's... odd. Perhaps Koontz will reveal more about her in the next installment. On the other hand, Nikola Tesla was an interesting addition, since we didn't know what he was for a while.
Koontz seems to explain a bit more than I remember him doing in previous Odd Thomas books. At first, there are some good reminders, but at times it feels like Odd is repeating himself.
I also noticed that there are fewer spirits in this story for Odd. Just the one, really, and a brief visit by another. It makes it feel less like an Odd Thomas story and more like an ordinary mystery. A good mystery, but there is something of the previous Odd Thomas stories that's missing.
Despite these disappointments, once Odd found the weird mechanical things, I was fascinated. The tension and action build from then on, and there are few disappointments after that. Perhaps my familiarity with Odd Thomas is what makes this story seem a little less out of the ordinary. And yet, a fascinating mystery.
In Odd's words: There is in me a darkness that, by darkness challenged, will rise up and have its way. I act in defense of the innocent, but I sometimes must wonder if I will be innocent in my own heart, or even redeemable, at the end of my strange road.
I can't help but wonder at Odd's fate myself....more
**spoiler alert** Richardson took us on a ride this time! I had many bleary mornings because I could not put the book down the night before. I was fas**spoiler alert** Richardson took us on a ride this time! I had many bleary mornings because I could not put the book down the night before. I was fascinated by the change Harper was undergoing as well as the new abilities she gained with each passing day. The mystery of what Wygan would use her for was just as riveting and became more horrible as more was revealed. A thoroughly exciting story. The only thing I hold against the author is the torturous ending, where she almost had me believing Harper wasn't coming back--till the very end! ;-) I loved every moment of torture and suspense. ...more
Previously I read this book for the short story by Kat Richardson. This time I read the Jim Butcher short for the Dresden Files, "The Warrior." This sPreviously I read this book for the short story by Kat Richardson. This time I read the Jim Butcher short for the Dresden Files, "The Warrior." This short story was a satisfying follow up to the end of Small Favor. We see another side to Michael that he'd never shown before. We also see a bit about how other powers view Harry and his efforts, which so often go unappreciated.
And I've found my favorite Harry Dresden quote yet. It sums up Harry perfectly: "Harry Dresden. Saving the world one random act of destruction at a time."
That's Harry Dresden, in a dozen words or so....more