Flying to the Fire is a YA thriller with a unique plot. I have never read a story of this kind before and it was refreshing to read something so diffeFlying to the Fire is a YA thriller with a unique plot. I have never read a story of this kind before and it was refreshing to read something so different. The concepts of a young boy who can see where people's spirits go after they die, and that birds are the spirits of the deceased going on to the next life, were fascinating and kept me turning the pages. Being hunted by a scientist who wants to use his abilities for his own goals brings in an edge of realism and a sort of science fiction twist to the story, rather than a spiritual approach. Another aspect of this story I appreciated is that the main character, Danny, is deaf, but the author treats this as just another trait of the character. The character is not disabled, and his deafness is not a focus of the story. It's just one thing about him, like the color of his hair. But at the same time, this added layers to the characters of Danny and his family, and adds to the novelty of the story.
Authentic characters and a heavy dose of suspense create an exciting, fun story. If you're looking for something new and different than the usual YA fare, this is sure to entertain....more
The Hunt for Xanadu is a gripping, fast-paced story, right from the opening scene. The characters are refreshing and don't act predictable. The main cThe Hunt for Xanadu is a gripping, fast-paced story, right from the opening scene. The characters are refreshing and don't act predictable. The main character, Kelsey Porter, is a fascinating mix of skilled hero and vulnerable young woman. Events throw her together with Detective Desmond Gisborne, but because they share a common goal does not mean these two are happy to work together. The elements of Buddhism woven with fantasy created a unique story set in modern day that stayed with me after I put it down for the night. Multiple story threads came together in a wonderful web that took the characters around the globe and by the end had me breathless. Just don't plan on stopping in the middle of the last chapter! It's a doozy!
Can't wait for the sequel to see what Kelsey's up to next!...more
I had trouble putting this down! A real page turner, many nights I was up too late because I had to find out what happened, or the action and suspenseI had trouble putting this down! A real page turner, many nights I was up too late because I had to find out what happened, or the action and suspense kept me riveted. Interesting characters who weren't what they first appeared to be often surprised me with a new, previously unseen facet to their character that led to actions I didn't expect. I was always waiting for something else to go wrong.
The author developed the characters while continuing the action, rather than slowing it down. The result: three-dimensional characters and a fast-paced plot. No cookie cutter characters here! Even those you love to hate had their good moments that kept you off balance, unsure of what a character will do next.
The alien was fascinating and as complex as the other characters. His motivations developed with the story. Jane's new role was quite a twist. She has a really novel relationship with the alien. And with the ship. Terrific story with terrific characters. My only complaint - it ended too soon. I hope there's a sequel!...more
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)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Yes, that's right. I've never read Dune before now. Shame on me. I thought carefully before starting this monster tome - 800 pp! But it's about time IYes, that's right. I've never read Dune before now. Shame on me. I thought carefully before starting this monster tome - 800 pp! But it's about time I got to it.
I knew little of this story going in, just the way I wanted it. I wanted to discover the book as so many others did without knowing who lived and who died, without already seeing the end Frank Herbert envisioned for his hero.
Considering this was written forty years ago, Herbert's depiction of an advanced civilization is intriguing. In some ways, he seemed to see the future (much as Star Trek did). I was quite excited to read a description of the mini 'book' Halleck gave to Paul, which seemed to be a sort of thumb drive device at first. Later I realized it was a bit more mechanical and less electronic.
The world of Dune seems based culturally on actual Middle Eastern cultures. It makes for many interesting details that must have seemed exotic for readers in 1965. Today, those same details might be considered much more loaded. I wonder if Herbert would have written the same sort of story today.
The cast of characters of the planet Arrakis is a bit large, and many are introduced early on. I didn't have them all straight right away, but I felt I knew who and what I needed to know at the moment. The characters are intriguing and rarely predictable. I got to know them, see the many sides of them, gradually, though I quickly saw the depths to these characters ran deep.
I soon saw the potential messianic path for Paul. Time hidden in the desert while he learned, matured. Then he would emerge, "resurrected," since so many thought him dead. Not far from how the story plays out, and yet I wouldn't call Dune predictable by any means. Familiar, perhaps, but not predictable. The widely held suspicion that Paul's mother was the traitor added tension on top of tension. I would not have bet she survived, but the hints of his sister allowed me to hope for her survival.
The setup was long and perhaps a tad slow, but when reading an 800-page book, you must be prepared for that. It wasn't an unacceptable pace, and the setup did its job. The buildup to the first major plot point was incredibly tense.
Though it revealed its secrets slowly, before long the world of Dune had drawn me in. At first I was aware of the many details about this new world, learning terms with the help of the glossary (knew this book was an undertaking). But before I knew it, I was thinking about the book when I wasn't reading and anxious to get back to it. I wanted to know more! The world certainly sucked me in!
The pace picked up as treachery revealed itself and events began to unfold. The web of connected plots, people, and power was intricate and fascinating. As I got to know the characters better, as they revealed more about themselves, I became attached to some and wished horrible deaths for others. I tried to predict who would turn against Paul or prove an ally. I wondered who would die and who would be left at the end of this sweeping story. It's no wonder this tale was told over six books. The layers woven over layers makes for a complicated story.
One problem I had with this book was the use of omniscient point of view. It reminded me why I don't like that POV: it feels like head-hopping. It was hard to keep straight whose head I was in at any given moment. Herbert even switched mid-paragraph at times. I guess this is true omniscient. But it was distracting.
"His voice was low, charged with unspeakable adjectives." That tells you all you need to know--a swift death would be too good!
Herbert knew how to turn a phrase and craft a story. Dune is gripping, full of suspense and political intricacies. I can't wait to see how the story continues....more
Lovers of Agent Pendergast may be thrilled or horrified by the opening part of Two Graves. But it is a hint, and perhaps a warniTrue rating: 4.5 stars
Lovers of Agent Pendergast may be thrilled or horrified by the opening part of Two Graves. But it is a hint, and perhaps a warning, of the depth of treachery and danger Pendergast will face. I took it as an indication of the depths of his misery. Pendergast doesn't wallow. He acts, and boy, it would have been quite the final act.
But I hate spoilers, so I'll try to keep them to a minimum here!
I was entranced throughout the story. It lived up to the reputation of the series, with suspense and action to spare even. Well, mostly.
With so much going on, about three-quarters of the way through I thought another book would be needed to wrap up the many story lines. Pendergast was hopelessly entangled in South America, rather far for D'Agosta to be of any help. Never mind how they'd left things when D'Agosta and Pendergast had last spoken! Then, in the span of twenty pages, things took such a turn for the worse, I was hoping D'Agosta could come in to help Pendergast.
Corrie's story line was a bit confusing, though. Aside from the fact that she found the Nazi papers that drove her into hiding, there was no clear reason for her to be in the story. Perhaps it's going to tie in to the next book, but it didn't seemed related to the story line at all. If I were the sort of person who skips over parts, I would have skipped over those parts. I just didn't see what her subplot had to do with the rest of the story. And with the suspense of the predicament Pendergast had found himself in, it was a bit of a let down to then be taken to suburban Pennsylvania to deal with a framed bank robber.
I would've liked more D'Agosta in the story. Usually D'Agosta comes to Pendergast's aid or to assist him, but this story was different. This was really Pendergast's story. He was teetering on the edge much of the time, came close to giving up, didn't care if he lived or died a number of times, was actually suicidal, had to face the grimmest of realities... To add his friend--one of a very few--as a witness to his turmoil might have been too much for him. I would have liked to see the repairing of the relationship between them, though. I needed a bit more than D'Agosta telling Laura that Pendergast once again called him 'my dear Vincent.' Perhaps more in the next book?
Don't get me wrong -- Two Graves was gripping, at times shocking, and a true couldn't-put-it-down read. Pendergast got himself into a far worse mess than he has before, came closer to having no escape than I can remember, left behind many more bodies, and faced a far more frightening enemy.
As I've read through the Pendergast series, I got used to lining up the next one while I was reading. Now I've caught up. I can't move on to the next one. There isn't a next one. I have to WAIT for it to be written. I'm not happy about that. I've been getting a Pendergast fix about once a month for maybe a year now. What am I going to do now?
Another excellent installment of the Dresden files. Are my reviews getting monotonous? I really have enjoyed every one of the books. They never feel lAnother excellent installment of the Dresden files. Are my reviews getting monotonous? I really have enjoyed every one of the books. They never feel like the same story shuffled around. Butcher finds a way to create new mayhem and near-apocalyptic conditions every time. And if you question that I've rated each with five stars, I'll say that my thinking is to start at five stars and consider what detracts from that. Things like a subplot that doesn't connect well with the main plot would knock down a five-star story to a four-star for me. A character acting out of character would lose a half or possibly a full star. None of those things have happened in any of the Dresden stories. In fact, I had rated the first few stories as four stars, but then realized there were no circumstances detracting from a five-star rating.
So I fully enjoyed this story. But, oh, Murphy, Murphy, Murphy. How could you do that to Harry! Come to your senses! Please!
(view spoiler)[The battle in the Nevernever was one of the scarier ones they've had to get through yet. It wouldn't have surprised me if they'd lost someone. The fact that they made it all back, well, I'm glad, even if it makes it tests one's suspension of disbelief. It didn't reach my limits of disbelief, though, since Harry had help from the Summer fire. Sure loved when he burned up the last Fetch and then yelled "Who's next?" And all the fetches went running. Awesome. I'm sure he would have looked kind of scary at that moment, but from this distance... cool. (hide spoiler)]
I finally figured out how to hide spoilers. Sorry if I've let any slip before this.
Eagerly anticipating the next story, I'm a true Harry Dresden fan now!
On my rereading, I see bits of foreshadowing, and I see the importance comments or actions will have later. (view spoiler)[The fact that Rashid risks messing with time, and with breaking the rule against messing with time hints to the level of danger they face in the future. I can only guess that Molly's future is deemed preferable or even desirable to the alternative.
I now see Murphy's demotion in SI as a setup for a possible future. I'm still holding out for her taking up the sword! Now I see the significance of Michael asking Harry to investigate how the sword was passed on to the next wielder in the past. I suspect he'll discover Murphy's ancestry is linked to it.
I did wonder: if had Harry killed Lloyd Slate like he had asked, would the mantle have passed to Harry right then? Or would it first have had to return to Mab? That would have changed everything. Possibly messing up Mab's and others' plans. Food for thought. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Codex was an enjoyable adventure of survival through the jungles of Honduras. The author, Douglas Preston, certainly put his characters through evThe Codex was an enjoyable adventure of survival through the jungles of Honduras. The author, Douglas Preston, certainly put his characters through everything imaginable during their travels. Not many surprises as far as plot goes, and yet the climax was still pretty exciting. Not bad for something to listen to on your commute. SPOILER ALERT! Read no further if you want to remain free of any knowledge of the story. The main disappointment I had with The Codex was with the character of Sally. In an effort to create a character that was combative and strong, Preston made Sally stereotypically feminist beyond what I found believable, given that her character's role as an "ethno-pharmacologist." Through her work, she had to have encountered people of many cultures, and if she had not accepted the differences among them, she certainly would have had to acknowledge them. And yet she acted so insulted when the old man from the jungles of Honduras displayed views of women typical for his traditional culture. His comments were usually made in fun, but she always became terribly insulted. I found it a bit ridiculous. Yes, perhaps at 29, she's still young enough (yes, that's young!) to be a bit idealistic. But it came across more of an ignorance of where the man was coming from. I didn't find her hostility believable....more
I've been happily working my way through Preston and Child's Pendergast series. My latest read, Dance of Death, kept the suspense high throughout theI've been happily working my way through Preston and Child's Pendergast series. My latest read, Dance of Death, kept the suspense high throughout the story by constantly upping the stakes and making the situation worse for the characters. Pendergast is a fascinating character, with tightly controlled emotions and many mysteries in his past. To see him reach a point where he nearly couldn't control his emotions and almost decided to accept defeat in the face of his enemy ratcheted up the tension further. These moments weren't overdone, though. Preston and Child used small details, such as a tremble in Pendergast's hand or voice, to betray his desperate state. It made more of an impact than if they had spent time on heavy descriptions of the man's emotions.
The thread of Bill Smithback felt a little extraneous, but that might be because I'm not a fan of the character. Even the whole background story of the museum and the delicate situation with returning a set of masks to the original owners felt not quite wedded to the story. But the main story was gripping enough for me to ignore these faults.
While The Wheel of Darkness continues the story of Agent Pendergast, it is a stand alone and not connected to the Diogenes arc. It is a very differentWhile The Wheel of Darkness continues the story of Agent Pendergast, it is a stand alone and not connected to the Diogenes arc. It is a very different story than the previous books, where Pendergast faced his nemesis and brother. Compared to those, this book is calmer, slower, and a bit less exciting. The height of suspense of the previous books isn't reached here. I was nearly midway through before I felt the pace and excitement pick up. There are far fewer characters as well, though that's not necessarily a bad thing, since some of the characters in the Diogenes series felt a bit extraneous. It also takes place nearly entirely on a ship, and the lack in change of setting sometimes felt limiting. Pendergast has to deal with some unique difficulties here, though I felt that part of the story could have been explored more than it was. I was glad to see Constance acting more independently, though. All in all, while an interesting read, and exciting for a good portion of the story, the book felt like a hiatus from Pendergast's usual adventures. Although, considering their location at the start of the story, and what they've already been through, perhaps this was what the authors felt Pendergast and Constance deserved. ...more
Pendergast is my new favorite detective! It would have seemed this modern-day Holmes faced his ultimate challenge in Brimstone but for the great teasePendergast is my new favorite detective! It would have seemed this modern-day Holmes faced his ultimate challenge in Brimstone but for the great teaser for the next story. Pendergast's ever-cool demeanor and eccentric ways have captured my interest. I liked seeing Pendergast and D’Agosta share the limelight pretty equally this time, with intriguing insights into both characters. The villain was a fascinating creation. Be sure to read the authors’ note at the end regarding him. The secondary villain that served to annoy Sgt. Hayward seemed a bit extraneous (and long-winded). But the story and the suspense soon got back on track every time. I admit I didn’t see the final resolution to the mystery coming (not before Pendergast, at least), and that was refreshing. Overall an exciting and enjoyable installment in the Pendergast series. And a note on the audiobook, which I listened to: Scott Brick has been great in the Pendergast series, and in Brimstone his Italian was fairly good. (It can ruin an audiobook experience to have a narrator mangle a language!) It was quite fun to see D'Agosta's discovery about his language skills!...more
This review is specifically for "It's My Birthday, Too," the short story by Jim Butcher in this collection.
I would highly recommend NOT reading thisThis review is specifically for "It's My Birthday, Too," the short story by Jim Butcher in this collection.
I would highly recommend NOT reading this until you've read earlier Dresden books (it's set after White Night). The premise of this story is based on a detail that is not revealed until several books into the series. I'm hiding the rest of my (short) review as a result.
(view spoiler)[This was a fun tale focusing on Harry and his brother Thomas. Of course an occasion for a birthday can't help but devolve into mayhem when Harry's involved. Harry was resourceful as ever, Thomas was in fine form, and their sibling relationship might be stronger for it. There's nothing like fighting side by side for a wizard and his vampire half-brother. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Enjoyed Sharp as much or more than Clean. Poor Adam suffered even more in Sharp - he just cannot catch a break. Things turned from bad to worse to worEnjoyed Sharp as much or more than Clean. Poor Adam suffered even more in Sharp - he just cannot catch a break. Things turned from bad to worse to worse and worse. And then they got worse! By halfway through the story, his ability to stay clean, his dignity, his freedom, his job, his livelihood, even his life - everything was on the line.
No one seems to notice how hard Adam tries. No matter what happens, he's at fault.
The stakes continued to rise with every chapter! No one trusted him, no one but Swartz. If he lost him, he'd lose everything... (view spoiler)[Adam kept losing ground, with more and more at stake, more clues to follow up, more of the mystery to uncover, with fewer answers, until he literally had a gun to his head. Cherabino was forced to use their link to get to him. Maybe now she'll start to see the good things about the link? She really needs to cut him a break! (hide spoiler)]
And when all was settled, the author dropped something else on us, just enough that I've got to come back for more! Hope it's not to long till the next book!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This didn't grab me quite as quickly as I was told it would. At first, I was just curious. A few more pages in, and I was curious and intrigued. The mThis didn't grab me quite as quickly as I was told it would. At first, I was just curious. A few more pages in, and I was curious and intrigued. The main character, Tris Prior, is strong, the writing is solid. Only occasionally did the dialogue feel off. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Fast-paced, suspenseful, and largely unpredictable.
(view spoiler)[But I do have questions and some misgivings. Once Beatrice chose Dauntless and saw how it was in initiation - we do dangerous things and people die - I would have thought she'd question her decision more. I wasn't clear on why she wanted to be in the Dauntless faction. Because she wanted excitement? Because she thought she was brave? Because it looked fun? Dauntless is described as the faction for people who protect everybody else. That would mean soldiers and policemen and firemen. I didn't see any firemen or even policemen. They seemed more like adrenalin junkies. There was some similarity in the initiation process to some sort of boot camp, so it had some militaristic aspects. It was like they were being trained to be soldiers. I wonder how long their plan with Erudite had been in motion.
My main problem is with the story world. The whole dividing up society into five factions according to personalities felt a bit contrived. I waited to see something that showed how these factions evolved out of the society naturally - because that's how societies change, out of necessity, out of evolution. But I didn't get any answer to that.
I was intrigued as I saw hints of larger things going on, like that the fences are locked from the outside and the guards outside. Tris wasn't sure of their purpose and neither was I. But I also had questions that weren't being asked. Like where are the Dauntless people older than 25 or so? Do they just die? There aren't any children either. It's a rather unrealistic place. And why do they live underground? Did they always feel the need to stay hidden? And who does the laundry? Tris was surprised to find someone acting as a nurse, because the Dauntless have limited options for jobs. So who does all the other normal jobs that need to be done in the real world? These details weaken the coherency of the story world for me. (hide spoiler)]
Despite my misgivings with its world foundation, the story is exciting and intriguing. And a killer ending. I'm interested to see how things continue with Insurgent. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Picks up right where the last left off. Continues the relentless pace, gets a bit more brutal. Still, the characters intrigue me and engross me enoughPicks up right where the last left off. Continues the relentless pace, gets a bit more brutal. Still, the characters intrigue me and engross me enough that I can't put it down.
(view spoiler)[I got a few questions in this book answered I had been wanting in the first. The world they live in now makes more sense. What had been nagging me was that it didn't seem like a complete world, a self-sustainable world. It seemed there was an endless yet mysterious supply of "new" stuff, simple stuff, like new paper towels. They had functioning things like watches. Who made the watches? Where were the paper towels made? For that matter, where did all the weapons come from, the computers, etc. There were no factories, no plants. They did provide their own food, but the rest was a mystery. I'm still not sure the rest is supplied by the outside, but now I know there is an outside.
I started getting inklings that this was all an experiment early on, when they started talking more about the fence, and about secrets, what was out there. But that their memories were wiped, that they were the hope for the rest of them? That the Divergents especially were the ones to save them? Did not see that coming. Or that ending. No doubt people will be suspicious of Tris, knowing that her mother was the one in the video, even though everyone's memory has been wiped. There's a bit of irrationality and suspicion built into everyone's reactions, it seems.
Can't help comparing this series to Hunger Games. Which means comparing Tris to Katniss. The main difference I feel as I read is that Katniss was more mature, so it didn't really feel like I was reading a YA book. The characters here are a bit less mature, despite what they're going through. So it feels a bit young for me.
And yet, Tris's reactions feel very genuine. The ambivalence, inability to make the "right" choice, lingering on what she shouldn't or can't afford to think about. Sounds like an adolescent to me. (hide spoiler)]
I've enjoyed this story, curious as it is, and will definitely read the final installment. Don't know if it'll live up to the promise of the cliffhanger, but it'll be worth finding out.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." Now that's an opening line.
Number six of the Dresden Files and I'm still as excited to read it as t"The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." Now that's an opening line.
Number six of the Dresden Files and I'm still as excited to read it as the first. Some major revelations here. No spoilers, just, wow.
This tale was a tad lighter one than previous stories. It seems Harry has gotten himself contracted by a porn filmmaker. Completely by accident, but Murphy's not convinced. Harry's due for a bit of a breather, though. So the lighter mood is welcome, though as the story progresses, things do become more serious and potentially deadly for Harry.
We learn more about Murphy in this story, which I enjoy. I like seeing how her friendship with Harry develops. I'm glad to see Thomas taking a greater role in this book, too. He's great fun as a character.
Not as all-encompassing doomsday scenario as previous stories, but plenty of danger, trouble, and enemies around Harry. We learn some good stuff. And the larger story continues to unfold. And Harry is as lovable as ever.
On my second read: I mentioned Murphy and Thomas, but failed to mention Mouse! What a great character he turns out to be. He looked after Harry right from the beginning. And I also failed to say anything about Kincaid. (view spoiler)[He said he was as human as Harry, and yet, he's not. Don't know if it counts as just being ambiguous, since Harry's not your average human, or outright lying, since Kincaid is actually just half human and half ...Hellhound or something. At least I know Harry doesn't trust him. (view spoiler)[ Don't know what gets into Murphy's head though, later. (hide spoiler)] I also don't think it was a great idea for Harry to reveal the connection between him and Thomas to Lara. But as he sees it, he has something over her too, so he seems to feel on equal footing there.
I was left with a lot of questions too. I was surprised by the level of fear Lara showed for the Black court vamp when it attacked her and wondered: what would happen if a Black court vamp bit a White court vamp? Does Black + White = Black? Or something else?
I wonder what kind of magic it takes to plant such a message in a soul gaze as Margaret Le Fey did. I would think it was no trivial thing. Which means the woman was powerful. And what sort of business could she have had with House Raith? Why did she turn from her allies and go on the run? Did she piss off Lord Raith? Some of the Fae? Ebenezar said she met Harry's father when she was on the run. But what if she went on the run because of Harry? Could she have known something about Harry's future? Everyone else seems to. And DuMorne was one of her allies - why? Is that how Harry ended up with DuMorne? (hide spoiler)]
Ah, tons of questions, but the answers have to wait! On to Death Masks!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A beautiful addition to the Robicheaux series. The Montana setting was as much a part of the story as the characters, who were as alive as ever. The eA beautiful addition to the Robicheaux series. The Montana setting was as much a part of the story as the characters, who were as alive as ever. The evolution of the characters Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell is heart warming and heartbreaking at the same time. They're acutely aware of their age, and are more often looking back on their life, wondering if they've accomplished enough, if it was all worth it, if they're worthy of what they've gained. Clete in particular goes through a struggle with his accomplishments and deeds, and comes out the other side bruised and battered, but still Clete.
It's unfortunate that I read this story so quickly that I did not take more notes on the aspects of the story I most enjoyed. So I can't give this story the review it deserves. I'm sure I will reread it in the future and be able to add to my review, but I will have to leave it as a must-read for any James Lee Burke or Dave Robicheaux fan, and for anyone interested in a mystery/thriller/crime story that is more thoughtful, has more developed and complicated characters, and is beautifully written. James Lee Burke has managed to outdo himself again. ...more
This story grabs your attention from the start. The daily log format set up allowed a conversational tone that was engaging and kept the reader in theThis story grabs your attention from the start. The daily log format set up allowed a conversational tone that was engaging and kept the reader in the story. The narrator's voice felt like someone was actually talking to me. The audio book could be really good.
(view spoiler)[I did wonder about his immediate reaction. I would have expected a moment of panic, perhaps. He seemed to approach the situation logically and strategically from the start. Although, after reading the whole story, I can say it was really his personality. He's a very logical, scientific character. So, maybe not. But still, he was stranded on Mars. Ok, he did start out with a rather extreme, pessimistic view. Not many stories start out with a first line of "Well, I'm fucked." (hide spoiler)]
The story was quite a ride. As I got further into the story, I had more and more trouble stopping reading. By the end there was no stopping me. The suspense was only paused occasionally when an expected problem went smoothly - which wasn't often.
The protagonist was hilarious. I even laughed out loud on occasion. The story is like Castaway on Mars. But interweaving the story of those on earth was a good addition, intensified the drama.
The narration was such a stripped down style but I liked the straightforward delivery. Very little fluff. Only description when necessary. Many characters were never described. The author left that to your imagination.
The science was more detailed than usual but I enjoyed it. Some of the descriptions got very technical. So it's really like Geek Castaway. Very geeky. I enjoyed it, but probably because I'm a science lover.
But the best was that he was hilarious. Very fun, very quick read. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I reread the entire series to prepare to read Skin Game. And it did not disappoint. There is so much backstory now, it's probably impossible to reallyI reread the entire series to prepare to read Skin Game. And it did not disappoint. There is so much backstory now, it's probably impossible to really properly enjoy this story coming in anywhere but the beginning. But what that creates is a layered, fully formed universe for Harry Dresden. Every action has always had consequences in the Dresden universe. And some of those consequences play out in Skin Game.
(view spoiler)[Mainly, this is the story of Dresden fulfilling his debt to Mab as her Winter Knight. But, as usual, there's so much more to the story, and even Harry doesn't find out the whole purpose of what he's doing until he's in the thick of things. Regardless of her intentions, Mab is true to herself. She found a way to use Harry's earlier refusal to be compelled to do things against him by making sure the circumstances don't allow him any other choice.
It was disconcerting to see how much further -- even more so than when he'd been dead -- his friends have moved away from him. They've stopped relying on him to be there to save the day. That says more than anything about how far removed from their lives he's become. Of course, Mab had a role in that too. Even in keeping Molly away. Their first conversation went far better than I expected it would.
Harry's arrival on Michael's doorstep was heartbreaking, but inevitable. During their conversation, Michael, ever the good man, said what Harry needed to hear. But Harry's Id said what needed to be said. Ouch.
The truth about the parasite - well, Murphy's reaction was priceless! And it raises a lot of interesting questions. Questions we'll now have to wait to have answered...
The heist was nerve wracking in that I kept waiting for it to get worse, for someone to turn on Harry, for something to attack them. Which all happened! Repeatedly! But as a consolation -- Harry made Nick cry... *cackle*
Hades was a great character. And he apparently sees a lot of himself in Harry. Is that a good or a bad thing? Goodman Grey was intriguing. What we find out about him in the end made him more so. I was particularly intrigued that he knew Harry's mother. Are we to take that as coincidence? And he basically compared her to a naagloshii. I can't wait to find out more about this "piece of work." She must have been something.
Butcher gave us a bit more closure than usual in this book. It was satisfying, knowing how long it'll be before we get another book. At least I can say FINALLY for Harry and Karrin. It may be just a kiss, but I'll take it!
Lastly, I must say, WAY TO GO, BUTTERS! There was so much awesome in those scenes, there's really not much I can say briefly. Only this:
"Mister, where I come from, there is no try." (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'd completely forgotten this story, except for how it ends, which is why I decided to reread it. One of the things I'd forgotten was how focused it iI'd completely forgotten this story, except for how it ends, which is why I decided to reread it. One of the things I'd forgotten was how focused it is on the school, on the coming battle. This time around I found it a little repetitive. It eventually gets more than repetitive. I realized that there's little in the way of subplot. There is the switch of pov to the adults who run the school, but in their conversations, and in any povs that aren't Ender's, such as Bean, we only learn things that affect Ender and the main plot, no other facts or events. Nothing about the other students, about his parents, nothing about the world except the coming battle.
There is the creation of the alter egos by Valentine and Peter. I wouldn't call that a subplot because it doesn't really relate in any way to Ender. I thought it would come back to Ender in the end, but only after the Game is over and the rest of their lives are summed up, do we learn how Peter made his move and about the effects of these alter egos they created, which were just steps to an end.
The audiobook was a different experience than I'm used to. It's read rather differently, almost in a conversational tone. The reader for Valentine is just right, I must say. She's reads in a mildly melodramatic way that captures the overblown sense of purpose these kids have in themselves mixed with their jaded sense of the world.
There's a major element of the basic premise that stretches and challenges a reader's suspension of disbelief. The idea that you must swallow or set aside is that the world would get to a point where major military powers would turn to children to fight their wars. Mazer Rackam says they need children because adults are cautious, but children are reckless. ...Right. You have to ignore this absurdity to accept the whole story.
I thought I'd find aspects of the story I missed the first time on my reread, but there's a lot less to the story than I expected. I am interested in the sequel, though, which has an interesting premise. Perhaps it will have a more fully developed story. ...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.
I can't wait to find out what that is. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book is well-titled. Lots of changes. Lots. It may be the twelfth or so in the series, but somehow Butcher manages to not ever get stuck in a rutThis book is well-titled. Lots of changes. Lots. It may be the twelfth or so in the series, but somehow Butcher manages to not ever get stuck in a rut. He doesn't do anything that seems to be done already. There are new problems, although this time not necessarily new enemies. The long-term arc that runs through the series comes more into play this time, with more questions answered, more secrets revealed, and yet, we still get some bombshells. There are a few things in this one I just did not see coming. In fact, neither did Harry! I mean, wow. No spoilers. Just, wow.
Some changes I suspected, some were long overdue. But there was a hint for something else quite unexpected that, if it does happen at some point, I would NOT be happy to see.
(view spoiler)[I had thought, optimistically, most of the changes for this story would be for the better. That perhaps one of the changes might be between Murphy and Harry. Instead, everything else about Harry's life changed. He lost everything: First a daughter he never knew he had, then his office building, his car, which had his staff, so that's gone too, And then his house. Not to mention any remnants of what was between him and Susan. His losses continued when he became paralyzed from the waist down. I was worried for a time that he might lose the bag that was hidden in the Nevernever -- which included Bob. I would never forgive Butcher for that!
But no, it got worse, far worse. The losses kept piling up for Harry and culminated when he gave up his freedom. He went over to the dark side when he pledged himself to Mab -- I mean, the Winter Knight! She's going to own him. I'm thinking that's going to leave a mark.
I wish I could say I'll wait to see how Harry's going to get out of his promise, but one thing Jim Butcher does well -- that's good for his readers but bad for the characters -- is he doesn't just return things to the status quo at the end of each book. The characters live with the consequences of what they've done. Which is going to suck monkey balls for Harry if he really has to be Mab's Winter Knight. I'm betting he will too. Butcher doesn't let his characters off easy. Harry was willing to pay the price of selling his soul knowing full well what he was doing. He committed murder (twice), although he did it for Maggie. He decided he'd give up himself, his principles, his freedom, for her. He was told twice, by Bob and Ebenezar, that this challenge would show him who he was, what his principles were, and what lines he would cross. He certainly found out and crossed those lines. Turns out, there wasn't much he wouldn't do.
I held on to hope to the end for a change between Harry and Murphy. It was clear she would lose her job. I figured that would be what pushed her to take up the sword. But she's still resisting that one. And of course, I want her with Harry. If Butcher puts Harry with Molly that will be a great disappointment -- a first in this whole series. It will be the first out of character move the author has made. It would be all wrong for Harry and for the story arc.
What we did get was a tease of potential between Murphy and Harry, then Harry loses the only thing he has left. He's SHOT and KILLED. Maybe this way he'll get out having to be the Winter Knight?
It's telling also that even when I was nearly at the end, I couldn't say whether Harry and company would succeed in saving his daughter or not. In fact, I was rather terrified that he wouldn't. I didn't think he'd handle it too well. He already had so much rage. He had already stepped a bit over the line of sanity. He gave up so much, made deals with the devil -- then to fail -- it would have been too much.
And I don't think he's getting Murphy ever -- that's my latest prediction. I think they're a couple who will never be, and that's sad. Harry will be the Winter Knight now. He won't be able to be with her. He even told her about his will. He'd never been so sure he wouldn't make it -- or at least, as he said, he won't be around after. I felt real grief for Harry during this story. Yes, for a fictional character. Thank you, Jim Butcher.
Some good lines: Merlin: Uncounted billions now living and yet to be born will be saved if we stop the Red Court from feeding on humanity ever again. No one life, innocent or not, is worth more than that. Dresden: You've got it backward, you know. No life is worth more than that? No, Merlin. No life is worth less. Butcher knows how to use dialogue to express the essential nature of a character.
Sanya to Harry: If you turn into a hideous monster and I am sent to slay you, I will remember this and make it as painless as I can, out of respect for you. Always good to know.
I enjoyed their Lord of the Rings discussion , but it was sobering when Harry remembered Gollum's role. His mindset was clear from his next line: And right now, I didn't give a damn about good and bad. I just wanted a little girl home safe.(hide spoiler)]
Again, I must thank Jim Butcher. Thank you -- with a large dose of hate you, hate you, hate you! thrown in. Thank you for creating characters so full and real I've come to care about them and their fates. I grieve for them and with them. It's what every writer aims for, and I am telling you, you've exceeded your goals. Superb, even though this last story has me out of my mind.
But I DON'T thank you for that ending. Are you out of your mind!!!
On my second reading, a few thoughts: (view spoiler)[ I think the first time I read this, I didn't realize how bad everything was. Now, with every step, every battle, I understand the enormity of what they're doing. Chilling.
And Murphy taking up the sword, the coolest, even if temporary.
It might have made me more sad, knowing how much Harry was going to lose by the end of this book. Knowing that every time he said, "But it's mine," he was going to lose that, have everything stripped away. But there's something to be said for friendship. He never loses those. And they are worth so much more.
Harry did find out his lines were way further out than he would have admitted. That he would break laws, go against his own morality, against what he has forbidden himself to do, work for the "enemy," to save his daughter. I wonder, what does this say about him? Does it mean he's willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done? Does it mean he's not a good person at his core, just someone who's willing to stand up for others? Does it mean he's self-righteous, but not righteous? Is this why he'd never be a Knight of the Cross? Or does it just mean his emotions have a greater hold on him than he'd like to admit?
Seeing this story play out while knowing how it ended, I got the sense the universe, or something very powerful in it, was forcing Dresden's hand so he had only Mab to turn to. The universe had struck out with him, but then found his Achilles heel and knew it had him by the balls. (hide spoiler)]
Ghost Story isn't much of a way to recover from this, but I'm getting closer to Skin Game!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Harry really had himself in a pickle this time. One of the big bads in Turn Coat was actually the politics of the Council, with all its layers and impHarry really had himself in a pickle this time. One of the big bads in Turn Coat was actually the politics of the Council, with all its layers and implications. While that may sound boring, the Council's politics are nothing to play with. They can be deadly for those who fall into disfavor -- literally. Then there's the potential for civil war hanging over everything. Politics isn't always boring!
(view spoiler)[The situation made Harry's choices harder, and added a bit of irony (I mean, Morgan?). We see sides of Morgan we never expected, and sides we entirely expected. The clash of Morgan and Molly was full of tension, and I loved how Mouse handled them -- faking his injury to show Molly a lesson -- He rocks!
The other big bad, the Skinwalker, was a scary son of a bitch. It seemed strange at the time to see Listens to Wind rescue Harry from the demon, but that's when I realized the Skinwalker wasn't the big villain of the story. It was the traitor and the internal politics of the Council, and Harry had to uncover that traitor to save himself and Morgan.
Molly made a big mistake and I really felt for her. She can't seem to find that right path. Harry had no choice but to find a way out of the situation. The Council might have been a threat to his life, since they'd take his head too, but he'd also have to face the Wrath of Charity. And that wouldn't be pretty.
That goodbye scene between Murphy and Harry... so close! But just a tease. If it were Murphy going, I would have actually been worried she wasn't going to make it back. I saw the end of Luccio and Harry coming, but not quite in the way it came about. It doesn't necessarily give me hope for Murphy and Harry. I'm beginning to think they're one of those who can never have the happiness of being together.
I'm worried about a consequence that was alluded to as an aside and never brought up again -- and given how Jim Butcher works, it'll come back later to bite Harry in the ass. Rashid had warned Harry not to use the power from the island. But he did, perhaps without even realizing it. There was no mention of it after, but I wonder how it will play out in the coming stories. There's a lot we don't know about the island, about how his mother plays into it, and Harry's own power, but it's clearly connected to Harry's future. For now, hints and implications are all we have.
"See, here's the thing. Morgan was right: you can't win them all. But that doesn't mean that you give up. Not ever. Morgan never said that part -- he was too busy living it." (hide spoiler)]
Harry ends this one more scarred than ever, literally. Two scars run down his face now. There were tough lessons to learn. And now there are more conspiracies to uncover. The ending was bittersweet, tough to swallow. I was really hoping for a better outcome. I'm anxious to go on to the next story and see if there's anything good in Harry's future.
And on rereading: (view spoiler)[ (Spoilers for following books) Now this books seems a big set-up for what's to come, Demonreach, the parasite, the Mantle, even Molly...
Roles have changed for several characters. Murphy is further set up for the sword, with her diminishing role with CPD. Thomas is further from Harry in a sense, but still stands by him. He's not the same person, though. The Nagloshi was right. He left nothing of Thomas for Harry. The Thomas he knew is gone.
Making the connection to Demonreach seems to be one of those things that Harry was destined to do. Luccio said that his feeling of familiarity with the island could be his prescience coming to maturity, which could mean the location will have significance for him in the future. I think it's clear there's a link b/w Harry and that island. And I think it's about more than Demonreach's later request. There's an overriding Something we have yet to learn.
Rashid knows something about it, I think. He's definitely involved in time travel. He knew too much, mentioned time quite a bit when talking with Harry, and he seemed to see into the future. He speaks as if he has Intellectus, a sense of everything at once rather than past, present, and future. Perhaps that's all 'time travel' is... I wonder if whatever he did to Demonreach has happened yet.
Rashid, Ebenezer, even Listens to Wind know way more than they let on to Harry. Do they know Harry is about to "die," become the Winter Knight? Perhaps they know even further into the future and know this is what has to happen for a better future than what they've seen. Maybe that's why Rashid warned Harry about Molly's black magic. He was trying to push events toward a better possible future than what he'd seen. If Harry's current life is a better option than what the other wizards have seen, that boy is definitely cursed.
They left hanging a mention of a connection of Madeleine Raith in Algiers. I wonder when that will come back into play.
Now I get to move on to the most traumatic book in the series. Oh joy. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
One thing I like about Jim Butcher's stories is, despite the unrealism of magic and wizards, they're realistic. Things don't always go right for HarryOne thing I like about Jim Butcher's stories is, despite the unrealism of magic and wizards, they're realistic. Things don't always go right for Harry -- okay, they don't usually go right for Harry. If he's taking a shot at a demon, he's more likely to miss. If he needs to get into somewhere, it's likely to be locked. Nothing's easy, obstacles are everywhere. And as the reader, you never get off the edge of your seat.
One thing you must love, to love Harry Dresden, is his wiseass, wise-cracking attitude. When he came face to face with Mab, Queen of the winter half of Faerie, he was so scared, "I couldn't summon up a single wiseass comment, and that just doesn't happen to me." He's reassured that if he can still crack some snark, he's doing okay. It's part of him. While in some other character it would feel forced and out of sync, it's what you expect from Harry Dresden. He proved it in the short story "Heorot," when, after not making any snarky comments to that Black Court vampire, he spit a mouthful of garlic powder onto her with the warning that if he's not mouthing off, something's wrong.
The plot in Small Favor is a bit more complicated, a bit harder to keep track of. I wasn't always quite sure of the relationship among all the players, but once I thought it through I was a bit clearer. On my second reading, I didn't have that problem, but knowing the general story probably helps that. (view spoiler)[I did notice a bit of foreshadowing this time: when Harry said if Titania wanted to stop him, all she'd have to do is break his back and land him in the hospital. Poor choice of words, Harry... (hide spoiler)]
I was hoping to see more of Bob in this one, after he made such an early appearance, but that turned out to be not so much. In fact, we saw less of a few of the usual characters, including Murphy and Thomas, though they made their usual spectacular entrances at the end. Michael was the prominent secondary character, and he came through for Harry in ways Harry wouldn't have expected.
(view spoiler)[Ok, I knew Murphy had cajones, but standing up to that gruff who wouldn't notice if he sat on her, she proved they're big brass cajones. But one thing I saw coming -- I always knew that sword was meant for her! Go Murphy! She'll take it up sometime. She has to. And on my second reading, I noticed that Mab refers to Murphy as the "Lady Knight." If Mab thinks of her that way, come on...
And Michael - ack! I hope the price he's paid turns out to be worth it. I also noticed something on my rereading. Everyone referred to Harry as "bound to Winter" or otherwise beholden or owned by Winter. As if it was a done deal. Perhaps it was... (hide spoiler)]
While Harry deserved the ending, it did NOT make me happy. Still waiting for the ending I'm hoping for!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Ok, I'll admit it. I love Harry Dresden. Shocker, right?
Mr. Butcher, you've got yourself a die-hard fan here. Your characters rock. Your battles leaveOk, I'll admit it. I love Harry Dresden. Shocker, right?
Mr. Butcher, you've got yourself a die-hard fan here. Your characters rock. Your battles leave me breathless. And the world you created is fascinating -- though I wouldn't want to live there! Just one request: Can you let Harry sleep a little more?
And great lines in this one: "Damn, there ain't nothing like a good entrance."
And an entrance that was. Awe. some.
"I was going for cool and strong, but my voice came out sounding angry and not overly burdened with sanity."
Harry's pretense of being Thomas's boyfriend to get out of the apartment was priceless.
(view spoiler)[Interesting developments with Molly. And Lasciel. I wonder if this is the last we'll see of her. And when we thought they'd saved the women and gotten the bad guy, there was more to do! But the plan for taking down the White Court, well, they didn't reveal much beforehand, but I figured it would be as nuts as Murphy thought. Hah! Possibly was worse than her imagination could conjure up.
During the big battle scene, I kept waiting for Murphy to show up. I knew she had to, since Harry specifically asked if she was "in." I couldn't wait to see how she'd come riding in on her motorcycle or something -- it was so worth the wait! Marcone and his mercenaries added an interesting element to their exit strategy -- kind of emphasized how desperate they were. And speaking of exits, nice one, Harry! I'm sure there was no other way but to kiss her, huh?
This was hilarious: "Welcome, sir," the redhead said. "May I take your coat and...and stick?" "That's the closest I've come to being propositioned in years."
Poor Harry! And right in front of Murphy! Hint, hint! Murphy and Dresden continue their strictly "friends" policy. I'm hoping for a change in that. Thomas sure thinks they should. They have grown on me! (hide spoiler)]
Perhaps the only thing I missed from this one was there was a bit less in the Bob department. But the next story, which I've already started, is making up for it!
On rereading, well, the scene in The Deeps was just as cool. But I picked up on something I missed last time. (view spoiler)[Lash's explanation for why Harry can fight and perhaps defeat Outsiders. The "energies, events, and circumstances" of Harry's birth gave him the ability to fight Outsiders, something Harry took for granted but is actually quite rare. And apparently his mother was aware at least that Harry was special, if not why, and that's why she ran from Raith. I wonder how much she knew. How much was planned, destined? And how much more Bad is in store for Harry? Cuz clearly they're going to keep coming for him! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Harper is in a tough place to start this story, separated from Quinton as she is. When they do meet, you can feel the gulf of the eight months they'veHarper is in a tough place to start this story, separated from Quinton as she is. When they do meet, you can feel the gulf of the eight months they've been apart, as well as their efforts to bridge it. As the story progresses, their relationship takes as much of center stage as the main events, which is nice for a change. There is as much emotional turmoil for Harper as there is trouble and danger.
(view spoiler)[The mystery unfolds gradually, piece meal, which is frustrating for Harper, but adds to the suspense for the reader. But soon enough, things take a dark turn. And things get *dark*. The bone mage aspect of the story has added a truly horrific element. Even Harpers' torture was rather gruesome. And while the story and mystery is complex, it doesn't feel convoluted. Things always feel logical and sensible.
The trouble piles on, and Harper and Quinton have to do double duty, rescue the girl and stop dad's plans. Harper's had trouble practically since the first page, actually. Revenant has had more twists and turns than a mountain road.
Didn't think the author would kill off Carlos, though! Kept waiting for him to return -- he's too good a character to knock off permanently (mind you, I was thinking this before I realized they were all singing their finales). The evolution of his character has been so interesting, and he was getting even more interesting when he admitted his opinion of Harper. I should have known a necromancer would know how to cheat death. (hide spoiler)]
This was one of the best of the Greywalker series, and I will say, without a spoiler warning because I wish I had known, that it's also the last. I'm very sad there won't be more in the Greywalker series, and I have my fingers crossed that the author changes her mind in the future! How can you not miss Harper!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Blue Labyrinth is an interesting and exciting ride, but I found it a bit of a departure from what I've come to expect from the Pendergast series. A faBlue Labyrinth is an interesting and exciting ride, but I found it a bit of a departure from what I've come to expect from the Pendergast series. A familiar character returns for this one, which was nice. In general, normally secondary characters take centerstage for this story, so if you're looking for a story centered on the Agent, this would not be your first choice.
(view spoiler)[Pendergast starts out in true form -- picking up on obscure clues and disappearing on the hunt, but not explaining his actions to anyone. The book begins in a Sherlockian fashion, opening with the dead body of Alban, and Pendergast pursued the clues with more determination than ever. But in a novel twist, Pendergast is hit with the poison that killed Alban, becoming the next victim of his son's killer.
From here, we saw a different Pendergast. At one point, I thought we were glimpsing a sign of human frailty in him, which was unusual enough, when the day after a physical fight in which he was equally matched, he was stiff and sore. But we soon found that he'd been poisoned.
The symptoms continued to produce behavior out of the ordinary for Agent Pendergast, such as the sudden listlessness when he saw the picture of his attacker as the suspect in the Museum murder. He soon became more erratic and unhinged. During his whole trip to Brazil, he was weak, frail. The fact that he was looking for his son added another dimension of vulnerability. It was tough watching Pendergast in such a state.
Towards the end, he'd given up on surviving. On one hand, it was logical, as no one had survived before. On the other hand, he's never been one to give up. But the elixir was working on his mind, and he wasn't as sharp as he might have been.
What was more unusual -- and more disturbing -- was that he was in need of help in this story. In fact, he needed saving in the end. This is a different turn than any previous book.
His relationship to Constance was different as well. He was more open with her, more honest, revealing. And yes, there was the kiss, but Constance seemed to place more importance on the fact that he called her his oracle. Which he then threw back in her face in a way only Pendergast could pull off -- and live, apparently. Constance showed her claws in this one -- and they are sharp.
I'm disappointed the authors decided to get rid of Alban so quickly. I'm sure they had good reasons, but he seemed to have potential to be a formidable and worthy adversary for Pendergast. Now, we'll never know. (hide spoiler)]
Overall a fun ride, full a suspense, mystery, and tension. Just not what I was expecting. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I rarely read science fiction, and now I'm wondering why, I enjoyed Oxygen so much. This story of humans' first attempt at reaching Mars grabbed me riI rarely read science fiction, and now I'm wondering why, I enjoyed Oxygen so much. This story of humans' first attempt at reaching Mars grabbed me right away. Once the suspense started, it rarely let me go. In fact, this story kept me up one (week) night until 2:00 a.m.! I think I can safely say I couldn't put it down. There were a couple of short lulls, when a character would go into some introspection about what finding life on Mars might mean for humanity and for their personal religious beliefs, and these felt out of step with the story -- I felt I had stepped back from the story at these points. But fortunately, they weren't frequent, and the suspense of the story kept me going despite a character's worry that discovering life on Mars put his or her religious beliefs in jeopardy. I am looking forward to the next one! I must add that my e-book version of Oxygen came with a bonus: a few appendices for writers, including a breakdown, paragraph by paragraph, of the first two scenes of the book and how they accomplished the authors' goals for the chapter. Excellent resource for writers, worth the price of the e-book alone. ...more
After the tremendous all-encompassing conflict of the last book, I wondered how Butcher would top it, or if he could.
Well, he did. In Death Masks, insAfter the tremendous all-encompassing conflict of the last book, I wondered how Butcher would top it, or if he could.
Well, he did. In Death Masks, instead of end-of-the-world catastrophe, Harry is attacked on all sides. At once, of course. In fact, at chapter eighteen or so, I noted that Harry had yet to sleep! And it had been two days. He'd already been challenged to a duel by a powerful vampire, shot at by the mob, attacked by one of the Fallen (and still his day was to get worse). Oh, and there's a prophecy that if he tries to find what he's been hired to find, he'll die. But if he doesn't, everyone dies.
All that without a nap.
Harry finally slept when it was over. I think he slept for a couple of days.
This story was just as fast paced as the previous ones, if not more so. It grabs you immediately and doesn't let go till the end. Harry was confronted with so many threats that a duel with a vampire warlord actually took a backseat.
On to the next. Can't wait to see how Butcher tops this.
Observations on my re-read: (view spoiler)[I'm now curious about Thomas's tapping as Ortega's second. Was he really sent by his father? Or was this orchestrated by Thomas? Or by someone else? Lea perhaps? Thomas could have arranged it in an attempt to protect Harry. Lea, also. I'm thinking Thomas.
I noticed Ortega bowed "slightly" to Mac when he entered his bar. What is Mac that 600-year-old vampire warlords bow to him? I can't wait to find out.
I don't think I really understood what Shiro had done the first time I read this. He and Michael had understood that Harry was in danger, that there was a curse on him. Shiro took his place with Nicodemus to save him. They must have an understanding that Harry is very important, in general or in the future, for Shiro to give his life for Harry's.
I always wondered why Harry picked up the coin instead of picking up little Harry. But I think the reason for that is in his admission that he feels a darkness in him, one he struggles to ignore or at least control. That darkness reached for the coin instead of Harry. (hide spoiler)]
As I re-read the books, I actually feel like I need to read them again - there's so much in each, so much detail, hints, foreshadowing, I'm sure I'm missing some even the second time around. I guess I'll have to sacrifice and read them a third time... :-D["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"I was scared. Not in that half-pleasant adrenaline charged way, but quietly scared. …It's a rational sort of fear that puts a lawn chair down in the"I was scared. Not in that half-pleasant adrenaline charged way, but quietly scared. …It's a rational sort of fear that puts a lawn chair down in the front of your thoughts and brings a cooler of drinks along with it."
There's an image to start a story.
Harry's not in good shape at the start of this book. It's interesting to see the level of continuity. Considering the end of the last book, he shouldn't be in good shape. But many authors would just give their main character some recup time and move on to the next adventure. Nope, we get Harry in the midst of crisis, obsession, assassination attempts, and generally being on everyone's bad side.
We learn even more about Harry here. His story is more complex. The trouble he's in is deeper. There's war brewing -- on two fronts. Truths are revealed. Alliances made. It's actually the biggest trouble Harry's been in. And the consequences are bigger, with potential to affect the whole mortal world.
Harry's character is summed up well towards the end when the Gatekeeper tells him he's accomplished his task, he can stop. But he doesn't, though he desperately wants to, "because I'm an idiot. And there are people in trouble." Harry puts others before himself every time. Not in a saintly, holier-than-thou way. Reluctantly, with regrets at times, with dread often. But he does it because it's the only way he can live with himself. And when he wins, it's just barely, and always at a price.
I'm getting the sense there's a larger tale going on, being revealed in small doses, with hints and insinuations at times, sometimes more overtly. We learn about his mother a little bit each book, and it's becoming clear there's more to that story than even Harry knows. There was a huge revelation in this book I won't mention to avoid spoiling anyone. But I can now see how there's over a dozen books and counting. Along with the crisis du jour, there's trouble brewing in the background, secrets threatening to rise to the surface.
I can't wait.
Observations on my second read: (view spoiler)[This story held a lot more foreboding for me knowing how he will become embroiled with Winter later. I felt bad for Harry, actually. He thought this was a one-shot deal, aside from owing Mab two more favors. But he was just beginning.
I was able to pick out more specific foreshadowing now, though I don't know what many of them refer to yet. Such as the reference to him as a Starchild. I'm thinking that's what Martha Liberty might have been referring to when she said to Ebenezar, "You know what he was meant to be." And it has to be connected to his mother. I was intrigued by Lea's statement that someone Harry did not know will pay his price. Harry guesses she was referring to his mother, but he doesn't question her further. My question is, how can someone pay the price if they're dead? So -- is Margaret Le Fey really dead?
Everyone seems to know things about Harry he doesn't. They expect his moves, they vie for his loyalty, and he's pursued by all sorts of beings. Everyone wants a piece of him. And it's only going to get worse. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more