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Death Masks

(The Dresden Files #5)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  114,716 ratings  ·  3,329 reviews
Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he's getting more than he bargained for:

A duel with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards...

Professional hit men using Harry for target practice...

The missing Shroud of Turin...

A hand
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Roc (first published August 1st 2003)
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Tim Martoni It's best if you do. While each story contains its own mystery, Jim Butchers ties the previous books into each book so if you don't read them in order…moreIt's best if you do. While each story contains its own mystery, Jim Butchers ties the previous books into each book so if you don't read them in order, you'll be very confused.(less)

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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  114,716 ratings  ·  3,329 reviews

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Start your review of Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5)

I mostly like this series. However, I'm certainly not a die hard "Dresdenite" from the Church of Harry. Dresden is NOT my literary BFF and, truth be told, spends far more time languishing under the heading OAA (Occasionally Annoying Acquaintance). I like the stories (so far), but that enjoyment comes with some mondo qualifications and some serious groans. However, before I rail against the main character's penchant for lame cheesy-flavored popCORNY, I'm going to begin with what I think are t
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”There are things you can’t walk away from. Not if you want to live with yourself afterward.”

And if you’re Harry Dresden there are plenty of them! Unfortunately it seems like all those things he can’t walk away from are also the ones that will get him killed in the end. We’re not figuratively speaking here, by the way. ;-P We’re talking about quite literally dying a very long, slow, unpleasant and painful death. At least that’s what Harry’s enemies always try to threaten him with, but worry not!
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harry Dresden need some sleep, and he’s not getting one easily.

Harry Dresden has a duel with the Red Court of Vampire’s Champion who wants to kill him at all cost, professional hitmen are using him as target practice, but that’s not all, Harry also needs to seek the missing Shroud of Turin while fighting all the new villains. All of these conflicts are brought to Harry Dresden within the first quarter of the novel; it’s safe to say that Death Masks, the fifth book in The Dresden Files series, is
TS Chan
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite Dresden File to date because for the very first time reading this series, I actually felt emotional resonance. In the past few instalments, I was entertained, intrigued, and mostly treated these books as my guilty pleasure when I needed something I can breeze through for some fun and action with more than a touch of snarky humour.

In Death Masks, there were less unrealistically badass moments where I'll go "Oh, come on! Really?!" Instead, at least a couple of scenes in here
Will M.
What I noticed right away after reading the first few chapters would be that the series has a routine. It starts of with Harry complaining about his broke life, then a lover appears or a new villain. It's not a bad routine, on the contrary I actually enjoy it. Harry Dresden's life is really fascinating and adventure filled.

The plot tried to be more action packed but ended up on the mild side. The new enemies presented were quite interesting but honestly were all over the place. They weren't intr
3ish stars.

To anyone who still isn't convinced that Harry is a chauvinistic, narcissistic douchebag:

"My blasting rod thumped against my leg rhythmically."
Blasting rod, eh? Someone's cocky (pun intended?).

"I gathered in my will and settled my grip on my blasting rod."

"I jerked the tip of the blasting rod up and away from the girl, releasing the gathered energy."
Wow, Harry. First of all ew. Second, woman, not girl, that's demeaning- and to think you consider yourself chiva
Mary Beth
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it

I really do love this series. This book was my least favorite but I did enjoy it a little. I loved the last four so I am excited to start the next one.
Death Masks is the 5th in the series and I really have to say that I am
so over with the war with the red court.

In Death Masks, a vampire named Ortega challenges Harry to a duel that will end the war between the vampires and the wizards. Harry has no choice but to accept, and almost no hope of winning the duel. However he has another problem. A c
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

Poor Harry Dresden.

You sweet, oddly sexy, powerful wizard. You just CAN'T catch a break!

I adore this series and I adore listening to it on audio. I think James Marsters just keeps getting better and better. I can hear a wider range of voices in this one than in the previous books, and he is so SO DAMN PERFECT as Harry Dresden. I could listen to these books all day, every day.

Interestingly, a lot is left hanging at the end of this book. I can't wait to see where the next few books take me!
Heidi The Reader
Harry Dresden can't catch a break... or a full night's sleep. He's up against the Red vampire court, he's being attacked by supernatural creatures with powers he's never seen before and his ex-girlfriend is back in town.

But, you can't keep a good wizard down, right?

Even when you introduce a holy relic into the tale: "Someone stole the freaking Shroud of Turn?' I demanded. 'Yes.' I settled back into the chair, looking down at the photos again. This changed things. This changed things a lot." pg 2
Mike (the Paladin)
The story continues here and stays true to form.

The Dresden books are some of my favorite none, hands down. These are great brain candy. They're pure escapism, total Urban Fantasy fun, comic drama that do several things very well. Each novel tells it's own story making them individually readable and enjoyable while in the back ground evidence and details mount to tell a larger more involved tale.

Here we open up with Harry broke (not that unusual) and in a spot he isn't all that happ
Lindsey Rey
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2015
[4.5 Stars]
The best one yet!
Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Reasons to read this book.

1. Harry Dresden is a believable character. He learns, he grows, but he does not gain a new power every book. In fact, he doesn't seem to gain any power in any of the books. He gains awareness and knowledge.

2. Susan is cool, but flawed like Harry. Love her.

3. Godfather with a helicopter.

4. One of the best love/sex scenes I have ever read. Butcher could write a good romance novel.

5. Good female detective who has smarts.

6. Vampires with bite.

7. Butcher knows his myth, le
Tommye Turner
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-read

I am so glad that this series continues to be brilliant! Summer Knight shocked me with how good it was, but Death Masks shocked me by being both brilliant and different to the other entries.

I won’t get into specifics because of spoilers, but I will say that Butcher’s character work in this entry to The Dresden Files is beautiful! Harry Dresden has been growing slowly over the past couple of books, and now I am beginning to see him become more nuanced than ever. He loves deeply, isn’
Robin (Bridge Four)
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Buddy at Buddies Books and Baubles with some Dresdanites

3.5 Who Else Could Want To Kill Harry Stars

Five books in and the world and characters keep expanding a little at a time. I enjoy reading this series to a certain extent but the thing is Harry isn’t the reason. Mostly I like all of the side characters more than him. Each doesn’t get a lot of page time but the glimpses I see of them…well usually the side character steals the show from Harry, at least for me.

It isn’t specifically Harry’s fault
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
My sister and I listened to this on Audiobook in the car. I had to return the CDs to the library, but fortunately, they had the Playaway, so we were able to finish this. I loved James Marsters' narration. He doesn't sound a thing like Spike and I'm glad. He showed a wonderful vocal range, and he really gave life to Harry Dresden for me. He's really fantastic at accents and different inflections. He does women voices without them sounding cheesy or falsetto (which is a huge thing for me). I think ...more
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another solid book in The Dresden Files. I am thoroughly enjoying this series. The first couple of books were a good warm up to Harry and his world. Now the main plot is starting to take shape, and I am really liking the direction the story has taken.

Harry seems to always have a little too much going on. He has his work that keeps him in constant danger. Plus, there is almost always something nasty trying to kill him for....well, just for being him . Butcher's technique of weaving a story within
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really enjoyed this book! This was a re-read for me and I liked it just as much the second time around. I did remember some parts of the book from the first time I read the story but I had forgotten most of the details. It has been about a year and half since I listened to the last book in this series and I really enjoyed spending a little bit of time with Harry Dresden once again. This is the fifth book in the series and I do reco
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicodemus is one of THE best UF baddies. Ever.
Apr 29, 2017 rated it liked it
On a field in Knebworth, the GODS OF ROCK AND ROLL gather to be cool and to discuss Jim Butcher’s 2003 Dresden Files novel Death Masks.

Page: It was arcane and occult with clear references to ancient Christian relics and artifacts and I enjoyed it.

Bonham: The action was good, Harry and me could be mates, he’s a truculent and bold lad, but also aware of his limitations and that’s what makes him even the more brave. I don’t hold with vampires and he’s against ‘em and I like that about him.

Plant: Bu
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Faye, la Patata
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Pretty good stuff right here, but damn it, I wish Harry would stop being so helpless and foolish 80% of the time ;__; He's been "weak" in comparison to the challenges he has faced (at least he outsmarts them in other areas, and he has friends and connections to help him), so I've been hoping he could finally have a bloody level-up.
It's ok. I like Harry enough now to continue reading. Book 4 was definitely better.
I never actually wrote a review of this book the first time around, just a few quick sentences. I don't remember why. I was probably just being lazy. This is what I wrote back in December 2010:

"I'm still waiting to be knocked off my feet by this series, but this book was still pretty fun. Also, Susan was way less annoying, ditto for Gentleman Johnny Marcone. The best part was when Thomas offered to high-five Ortega right before the duel. There needs to be more Thomas."

I still hold to what I said
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I read the first few chapters then switched to audio. James Marsters' narration is perfect and definitely kicked the story up a notch for me.

Knocked off 1/2 a star because I really can't stand the sexual tension between Harry and Susan. Is it truly love, or just lust? Had we had more relationship development between the two in earlier books maybe I wouldn't question it.

Otherwise, never a dull moment and some interesting new characters on the scene.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That Nicodemius is one tricksy Demon! Good to see the three Knights working together in the story. We meet Butters,a significant addition in books to come. Harry and Susan manage to hang out for a while. A duel is fought. Marcone’s secret is out. Harry wins to fight another day. Another book down in my reread campaign, killing time until the next book is published. Soon I hope!
Em Lost In Books
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star, 2013, 2000-09
EDIT: Enjoyed it way more this time as I knew how subtly Butcher dropped clues about Harry's past and future here and there.


Fifth book of the series. A new case and problems from the previous books to solve.

So Harry’s journey covers a dual challenge from vampire Ortega (red court battle), finding the stolen shroud (case), return of his half-vampire girlfriend Susan (surprise) and his fight with supernatural creatures (his usual stuff).

Michael made his came back in the book with other two kni
Aug 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
More of the same. I can could just copy and paste my impressions for previous book in series word to word. Still fun though even with little to none character development.
David Sven
Good pace, interesting plot elements, new nasties along with some old ones, and great audio narration by James Masters. I particularly enjoyed Marsters' Russian accent for Sanya. He has really expanded his repertoire of voices since book one and I’m digging it.

I do appreciate how Butcher keeps building on the existing lore of the series. We learn a bit more about Harry (view spoiler) We get some new secret organisations, The
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love Harry Dresden. He cracks me up! This guy is definitely a lovable loser. Everybody wants to kill him, and he's pretty much accepted that as his definition of normal.

"I get more threats before nine a.m. than most people get all day."

...the risk of imminent death just didn't hit me the same way it used to...

Susan asked, "Do you really think you can win?"
"Yeah. Hell, Ortega is only the third or fourth most disturbing thing I've tangled with today."
"But even if you do win, what does it chan
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Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resi ...more

Other books in the series

The Dresden Files (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)
  • Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)
  • Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3)
  • Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4)
  • Blood Rites (The Dresden Files, #6)
  • Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7)
  • Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files, #8)
  • White Night (The Dresden Files, #9)
  • Small Favor (The Dresden Files, #10)
  • Turn Coat (The Dresden Files, #11)

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