Turn Coat

Harry Dresden is used to being in over his head where the supernatural community is concerned, even used to it turning up on his doorstep.  When a severely wounded Morgan, Warden and Executioner for the White Council (and regular pain in Harry’s ass) turns up at his door asking for help, Harry is of the mind to refuse.   Morgan is accused of murder and the penalty for the crime is death, along with anyone who helps him.  In spite of overwhelming evidence Harry knows Morgan is innocent and there is something much larger happening.  Can he let an innocent man (even if it is Morgan) die for a crime he didn’t commit and can he stop the plot that threatens to bring the entire White Council down?  Most sane men would turn Morgan in but hey, this is Harry.

Wow.  That’s the first word that sprang to mind when I finished Turn Coat and I even had to sit and reflect for a while.  You get answers to some questions that have been running through several books, new questions needing answers and some truly emotional scenes.  Harry as usual is in over his head and the highly entertaining part is how he gets out of it, with mind, skin and bone mostly intact.  I feel that Harry has become just that bit more mature as well, while the usual supporting cast are there, by and large, he figures things out on his own.

Jim Butcher has such an entertaining writing style that lets you get up close and personal with his characters and this latest and 11th book in the Dresden Files certainly has that, in spades.  Many a long running series can suffer with the reuse of plot, phrases and same old descriptions of characters but I can honestly say there is nothing like that here.  The only downside I can think of is that it will be another year til the next one is released.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Storm Front

It’s been a long time since I read and subsequently reviewed a book. That’s mainly because it’s been a long time since I read (or at least, finished) a book. I asked Grete specifically for something that was easy to read and entertaining, and she had no problem recommending the Jim Butcher books, of which Storm Front is the first.

The first thing that struck me about the book is the similarity to the Dirk Gently stuff by Douglas Adams. This isn’t a bad thing, I loved the Dirk Gently books and the Dresden Files (the name of the series for which Storm Front is the first one) felt comfortable almost from the first chapter.

Jim’s writing is clean, tidy and easy to read. The books are detective novels in the classic style with the current popular added theme of the supernatural / magical / mythical world playing a great role. Our hero is Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the phone book. The first person style makes it very easy to get into Harry’s head early and within a few pages we’re already empathising with him and feeling his pain. The pace is good, carrying us through the introduction of the world (modern America) and the principal characters, and into the story all in a fairly short time. We meet pretty archetypical police staff, paranormal magazine reporters, bad guys and people who need the services of magical private investigators.

The story arc is pretty simple, I can’t decide if I was pleased or upset at the lack of major twists. I certainly felt that there was going to be a huge twist at the end, and it never arrived. Having said that I don’t think the story suffered for it, it was unpretentious, and delivered exactly what it set out to do at the start. There was plenty of action, humour and good character interaction. In any first person style work, you spend a lot of time in the head of the main protagonist and so you have to feel something for them, otherwise the story just isn’t going to be worth reading. Harry Dresden is interesting, witty and worth spending time with, so it was no chore to listen to his thoughts and follow the story through his eyes.

It was a fun book, worth reading, and although I don’t think it made me laugh as hard as it could have done, it certainly kept me interested all the way through, and it’s a long while since I actually finished a book as quickly as this one. Worth getting, worth reading, and easily worth the price.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)