Chrysoula Tzavelas's Reviews > Ghost Story

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
4354535
's review
Aug 02, 11

bookshelves: demons, angels, ghosts, urban-fantasy
Read in August, 2011, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Not the best Dresden Files book.

OK, I did enjoy it. The process of reading it was enthralling, mostly. But it had a huge, glaring problem by the end that has shown up a couple times before in Dresden Files books, which is that I wasn't sure what the plot was until late in the book. When I reached the point where it was clear the final major conflict was about to start I was all, "Huh. So that's where this is going?" Given all the plot threads introduced in the first quarter of the book, including all the still-unexplained stuff all his allies are up to, it was kind of surprising that the book ended up focusing on one particular baddie. We were presented with a plot at the beginning (solve your own murder) and then Dresden mostly ignored it. Just because Lea assured him that no, he was working on it just fine didn't actually make it true from a plot perspective.

Basically, dealing with a bad guy that wasn't a problem before you died, so you can discover a secret truth you've hidden from yourself that has absolutely no bearing on... anything except 'man I'm a bastard to my apprentice' doesn't make a good ghost story.

I also wasn't engaged much with the memories. I never found myself dying of curiosity about what happened, exactly, with He Who Walks Behind, or Justin DeMorne. At this point in the story I'm invested in the characters I've grown to love over 12 books. Seeing and dealing with the current wreckage of Murphy and Molly is a lot more interesting to me than a past that Dresden has already faced a few times before.

As far as I can tell, the point of sending him back to Earth was so that Uriel's operation could get some free work out of him in dealing with Corpsetaker, and give him time to feel really bad about what he did. I'm sure a lot more of the consequences of this book, and details about what's been happening in this book, will come out in a future book-- the series has clearly switched into high gear. But--

I guess I feel like Jim Butcher needs to reassess his style of handling the stories. If he's going to have tons of unaddressed plot threads, he needs to handle that differently than a casefile. Or maybe I should just change my expectations and expect stuff more like A Song of Ice and Fire?

I mean, I recognize he did do some structural work-- the bookending conflicts are against Corpsetaker-- but the stated plot of the book (find your killer, take care of your loved ones) is so far from what actually happens onscreen (analyze random memories, introduce new or minor characters into a potentially major role while mostly ignoring loved ones) that I just didn't love it like I've loved the past few.

Note: I was absolutely certain going in that Dresden was going to be resurrected/restored by the Winter Queen. There was no suspense in any of the scenes where he was personally threatened with destruction. Threatening Molly and Butters worked a LOT better... but of course that big scene was interrupted by an extended chat with Uriel.

Also, I found the answer to Who Killed Dresden kind of, and I hate to say this, a cop-out. It's not that I expected something cleverer. I didn't! I expected something straightforward, not something that would make the biggest sacrifice of the previous book feel hollow.

Sorry, Longshot. I definitely enjoyed the book, but I enjoyed Butters and Molly and Bob and Morty (and, okay, Fitz. Which sword is he ending up with? I'm guessing Love...)
5 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Ghost Story.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Babcock
Also, I found the answer to Who Killed Dresden kind of, and I hate to say this, a cop-out. It's not that I expected something cleverer. I didn't! I expected something straightforward, not something that would make the biggest sacrifice of the previous book feel hollow.


I'm curious, why does this "make the biggest sacrifice of the previous book feel hollow"?


message 2: by Chrysoula (last edited Aug 04, 2011 09:16PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Chrysoula Tzavelas Because selling his soul to save his daughter felt huge, I guess. Planning to cheat the Winter Queen was just a lot more... cunning. It was really a gut reaction, hard to analyze.


message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Babcock Fair enough. I was just wondering, because you didn't really provide any sort of reasoning behind the statement. :)

I'm of the opinion that Harry's gambit actually improves, retroactively, his sacrifice. He knew that there was no way out of this.


back to top