It’s incredibly hard to write this review without spoilers. I keep wanting to go ‘ooh and there was this and that!!’ but I shall try not to spoil it. If you haven’t read Changes yet though, you need to go and read that first, before Ghost Story. You just have to!
This book has so much that is good about it. The humour, drama, action scenes; all part of Jim Butcher’s unique and engaging writing style, but in Ghost Story, somehow he’s turned that dial up to eleven. It is simply phenomenal and such a fantastic read that I couldn’t put it down. I laughed out loud, I cried, I even shouted at one point, so I’m glad I was reading it at home.
I think the best of Harry comes out in this book. Because of his situation, he has to think and plan, rather than fireball first and ask questions later. It lets you see more of the man behind the wizard and how intelligent he really is. That’s not to say he isn’t still running full pelt into trouble, he wouldn’t be the Harry we know and love if he wasn’t. Just without his usual methods of dealing with things, he has to get… creative. I also have to highlight the puns and pop culture references in this book, they provided much needed laughter and were brilliantly used.
The pace of the books in the Dresden Files is as much a part of Butcher’s style as the stories are, and Ghost Story is right there, leaving you breathless. There are moments of reflection and realisation but they are most definitely the calm before the storm. You know it’s only a brief respite, time to gather yourself, before you are off again. In some books that relentless pace might be considered a bad thing but in this series it’s an integral part of the experience, and I would be disappointed if it was any different.
The story itself is amazingly well written, gripping and has more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing. There is one definitive ‘Oh my God‘ moment and it was gloriously done and I did not see it coming. At all. If you’ve read it, you will know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, hopefully you will have to read it now!
Because of the events in Changes, some of the usual cast of characters are different and not necessarily in a good way. You see the effect Harry has on the people in his life and what happens when he is not there for a time. I fear some things are too broken now to repair, but I still hold out hope. Just two simple paragraphs towards the end reduced me to tears, and they weren’t even about any of the human cast. The characters, as always, are vivid and well realised.
The Dresden Files is a series that just gets better and better, and I honestly think this is the best one so far. So much so, I worry where it goes from here, can it actually get any better? Does it need to? I don’t have an answer to that other than, I need the next one now!
Jim Butcher is the absolute ruler and master of Urban Fantasy and long may he reign!