- Series: Dresden Files (Book 6)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Roc Hardcover; Reissue edition (July 6, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451463358
- ISBN-13: 978-0451463357
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 534 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood Rites: A Novel of the Dresden Files Hardcover – July 6, 2010
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Per usual, wizard-detective extraordinaire Harry Dresden is in trouble. He barely escapes an assassination attempt, courtesy of the Black Council of vampires, when Thomas, a vampire who has helped Harry out on occasion, asks him to take a case. It seems someone doesn't want porno film director Arturo Genosa's latest effort to get off the ground. An entropy spell has killed two of Arturo's assistants, and Thomas wants Harry to find the culprit. With suspects abounding--Arturo has no fewer than three ex-wives--Harry decides to pose as a production assistant at the studio. Though he isn't able to stop another sabotage attempt, this one threatening an actress' life, he does save the young woman. With danger closing in, the last thing Harry needs is a sexy succubus and a surprising revelation about his heritage. Filled with sizzling magic and intrigue as well as important developments for Harry, the latest of his adventures will have fans rapidly turning the pages. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Praise for the Dresden Files
“Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Philip Marlowe.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Tanya Huff will love this series.”—Midwest Book Review
“Superlative.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“One of the most enjoyable marriages of the fantasy and mystery genres on the shelves.”—Cinescape
“Butcher...spins an excellent noirish detective yarn in a well-crafted, supernaturally-charged setting. The supporting cast is again fantastic, and Harry’s wit continues to fly in the face of a peril-fraught plot.”—Booklist (starred review)
“What’s not to like about this series?...It takes the best elements of urban fantasy, mixes it with some good old-fashioned noir mystery, tosses in a dash of romance and a lot of high-octane action, shakes, stirs, and serves.”—SF Site
“A tricky plot complete with against-the-clock pacing, firefights, explosions, and plenty of magic. Longtime series fans as well as newcomers drawn by the SciFi Channel’s TV series based on the novels should find this supernatural mystery a real winner.”—Library Journal
“What would you get if you crossed Spenser with Merlin? Probably you would come up with someone very like Harry Dresden, wizard, tough guy and star of [the Dresden Files].”—The Washington Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The book's main plot is primarily triggered by the Vampire Thomas of the White Court, who asks Dresden to take on a case as a personal favor for all the past times that Thomas had intervened to help save Dresden's life. The case in question involves a head of an adult entertainment studio who may be under threat from a sort of entropy curse similar to one that Harry had been subject to in the last book. In addition, it appears that the vampire Black Court has setup shop in the city and are also threatening Harry Dresden's life.
What I Liked: Obviously I really liked how this book added to Harry Dresden's character lore by answering a lot of different questions we may have had or didn't even realize we should have asked at this point. I can imagine how some folks might find the reveals in this book as a little left field, but they're not really. They make a lot of sense given Dresden's journey thus far and I appreciate hw things got to this point. It only means bigger and brighter stuff for the future.
And the plot in itself isn't bad either. What starts as a seemingly simple look into a potentially minor case becomes a major throw-down with not just one vampire court but two of them - both the Black and the White courts. That seems like a bit much given how past books had him pulling out all the stops to deal with just one of the courts, but don't worry. Dresden gets some serious help in dealing with his foes this time around.
What Could Have Been Better: While the main plot was still compelling the main "mystery" as far as detective cases go didn't go so great. I feel like it was left largely underdeveloped in favor of other story elements involving the vampire courts.
And while they generally had big plan for dealing with the Black Court with a preemptive strike before they could get a firm foothold in the city, the actually confrontation did feel a little underwhelming. Sure, Dresden has never been all that great in an extended battle and Butcher seemed to want to play to his strengths and keep things on the shorter side, but that was it.
And as much as the notion of the guardian puppy was cool, it felt a lot more like noise in this book as it was just sort of there on the side even during more important plot developments. I know Butcher is obviously seeding the book with story elements for future books, but this could have been handled better.
TL;DR: All that aside, this book left me feeling very fulfilled as a reader and fan of the series and I'm glad that Butcher tackled things in the way he did. This may not automatically be my favorite book in the series, but it definitely ranks way up there.
I think a lot of aspects of "Blood Rites" are pretty solid. Love that we're seeing another side of Murphy, that we're getting more information about Harry's past (and it's not just infodumping, but actually is revealed in relation to the self-contained story within this book). White Court vampire Thomas and mercenary Kincaid are back, as is Harry's mentor Ebenezar. We learn more about all of them, as well. The information is introduced in a way that makes sense, in terms of the story; there's a bit of telling with regards to background information, but it is smart for the author to do it that way -- if two people are angry with one another, and Harry doesn't understand why, someone has to explain it to him (and, thereby, also to us).
At any rate, even though Harry is the POV character, we're far enough along in the series that we are getting to know the other characters better, too, and I like that. Too often, first-person POV novels involve a trade-off, wherein you just don't learn much about the supporting characters. It's still a slow process to learn about Harry's companions, but I like the progression. Harry is gaining depth, as well. We learn more of his feelings about family, his sense of loss at not having known his mother. He's also getting better at asking for help instead of going into a location and blasting away. It makes him more sympathetic and less aloof, and that's good.
The action is pretty intense for the entire second half of the book, with multiple confrontations that build in intensity. (Suppose that was the case for book 5, as well, but I feel like the final confrontation had more impact in this book than the final confrontation in book 5 did.) Vampires once again feature pretty strongly in this book; we learn a lot more about White Court vampires (the Red Court is absent here) and there's a battle with Black Court vampires, as well. (White Court vampires aren't exactly good guys, which you learn here, but they feed on emotion and tend to work against each other in secret, subtle ways. Black Court vampires, on the other hand, are the nastiest ones out there.)
My first thought upon the conclusion of the confrontation with the Black Court vampires was that things had been too easy, that that couldn't be all there was to it. Thankfully, the characters address this later on, so I know the author deliberated on this before writing the scene and didn't just add it as filler. One thing I've said about past books, and it's true here as well, is that I like the way Butcher doles out additional pieces of information about the supernatural world. It's not all thrown at us at once; rather, each book generally goes deeper into one or two of the world. It's much easier to keep track of everything that way.
In case you didn't know, this is book 6 in the series. I'd highly recommend reading the first five books (in order) before getting to this one. Nearly all of them contain bits and pieces of information that shed light on events in this book, as said events relate to the greater story arc of the series. There are a couple of things you won't get at all if you haven't read the previous books. Small things, but noticing them added to my enjoyment. All of these books have self-contained mysteries and all of them reveal bits and pieces of magic, the supernatural, etc., as these things exist in the Dresden universe. I think this book is one of the better ones at integrating the mystery and its solution into the overall series.
In this book, Harry is hired to protect the cast and crew of an adult film from a curse that's killing performers in the film, one by one. Further, the war between wizards and vampires (that Harry started back in book 3) is ongoing. As you might expect, there are a lot of descriptions of women and their physical features, but this is par for the course for a Dresden book. There's definitely some sexual content and a lot of blood, gore, and violence. These books do have a dark, bleak tone.
I wasn't able to predict the ending (I'm never very good at guessing who the killer is in traditional mysteries), but all the clues made sense to me. Nothing seemed too implausible (at least within the universe of the story). I'm just pleased to have figured one thing out on my own (one character is engaged to be married but no one seems to know who the fiancee is), although by the end of the book, there weren't many candidates left, so that may have been process of elimination.
The setting was (again) Chicago, but there wasn't really anything specific to the city in this book. The writing was similar in tone and style to previous novels in the series, perhaps with a few more snarky one-liners than in the past (I like this). This is definitely not a difficult book to get through.
If you've enjoyed the previous books in the series, you should like this one, too.