Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Small Favor" The Dresden Files Book 10 by Jim Butcher (pub. 2008)

No one's tried to kill Harry Dresden for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow.

An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, the Queen of Air and Darkness-and she's calling in her marker. It's a small favor he can't that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and one that will strain his skills-and loyalties-to their very limits.

It figures. Everything was going too well to last...

That's what lures the reader into this tenth installment of the Dresden Files and the exploits of the better Wizard named Harry...Harry Dresden that is. I decided to give this latest book by Jim Butcher a go before reading books 6-9 for one main reason. As you know from reading my past reviews, I like to read book series in order but sometimes you just have to jump around. The reason for this jump is that I wanted to listen to the audiobook. The audiobooks in this series are all narrated by James Marsters. He's the actor that played "Spike" in the "Buffy the Vampire" and "Angel" TV series. His narration really brings these books to life...maybe if they would have cast him in the TV series it wouldn't have been cancelled ...naw...Paul Blackthorne did an excellent job on the TV series, the Sci-Fi channel just didn't know what they had.

Okay let's talk about this book. The title should give this one away, basically Harry owes Mab 3 favors, he's delivered one, now she's come to collect the second. Gentleman Johnny Marcone, the Chicago crime boss has been captured by the Denarians and Mab wants him back. The Denarians are also known as the Fallen, as in Fallen angels. There are 30 of them and they each have a silver coin which houses the demon that takes over their souls. (30 pieces of silver sound familiar?) They are the sworn enemies of "The Knights of the Cross." Harry's friend Michael is one such knight and he carries a sword in which a nail from THE CROSS is embedded. The problem is the knights cannot go after the fallen, they have to try to turn them back to god first, then as a last resort kill them with the holy swords and take the coin and put into safekeeping with the church.

In order to negotiate with the Denarians, Harry must have a council of the White Court of Wizards, kind of like in order for the President to go to war he must get congress to agree. In doing so Harry must get the Archive (Knowledge of all time in the body of a young girl) to be his emissary. When the Archive arrives in Chicago she is captured by the Denarians. Now Harry must rescue her and Gentleman Johnny Marcone.

Oh yeah and while all this is happening, the summer court has decided to kill Harry. In doing so the court sends goat like creatures to hunt Harry down. The creatures are called Gruffs and as he defeats each one (remember he's battling the Gruffs while fighting Denarians and trying to rescue Marcone and the Archive) their elder brother comes later and each elder brother is bigger and badder. (3 billy goats gruff...heh heh).

In this series Jim Butcher not only has really great characters but the creatures he comes up with are always interesting. So if you like wizards, vampires, Holy Knights, fallen angels, mythical creatures, faerie and fae, check out Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series of books.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:38 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Death Masks - Book 5 of the Dresden Files" by Jim Butcher (published 2003)

So, you're upset that the series about the Wizard named Harry is over. Well actually it isn't. Okay so this Harry's last name is Dresden, he lives in Chicago and he advertises that he is a "Wizard for Hire," but hey, he is a wizard. Oh yeah, he also has attitude. In his series "The Dresden Files," Jim Butcher has created not only a great character in Harry Dresden, but he has also reinvented the mythic and magical. In earlier books we learned their are different types of werewolves and the faery world is not so friendly.

In this book 5 of the series we join Harry, once again, in the middle of life:

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.
Harry gets hired to find the missing Shroud of Turin.
A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified and it seems only Harry could do it.
Not to mention the return of Harry's ex-girlfriend Susan, who's still struggling with her semivampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.
Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're charging.

So it's Harry's life but with all that action it ain't boring.

The book starts off with Harry appearing on a "Jerry Springer" type TV show (hey it's Chicago), he only agrees to the appearance because another magical person needs to pass a message to Harry, but cannot afford to risk being seen with Harry. After all Harry did start the war between the Red Court Vampires and White Council Wizards. On the show are not only 2 representatives of the magical realm but 2 people to ridicule magic. One is a Catholic Priest and the other...well it turns out to be a major player from the Vampire's Red Court.

These other two "guests" also have something for Harry. After Harry's magical aura destroys the studio equipment, a hazard with Harry being a wizard; electronics quit around him, the vampire challenges Harry a duel to the death. This duel will end the war and all threats of violence against Harry's friends and family. The priest is there to hire Harry to find the recently stolen Shroud of Turin. After telling the vampire he'll think about it, Harry and the priest leave the studio only to be confronted by Chicago's head of the crime syndicate, Gentleman Johnny Marcone's hit-men.

The men shoot at Harry and he and the priest barely escape with their lives in Harry's beaten down VW Beetle. And this is only the first chapter. The action continues and never stops throughout this fifth edition of "The Dresden Files." Harry later teams up with the Knights of the Cross to fight the ultimate demons "Denarians," fallen angels that can manifest on earth.

What leads to an ultimate battle and some great fun. All throughout this book we are constantly treated to Harry's great wit and sarcasm. Do yourself a favor and start reading this series now.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:51 PM Comments: 0