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Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13) Hardcover – July 26, 2011
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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.
About the Author
A martial arts enthusiast whose resume includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his wife, his son and a ferocious guard dog.
Top customer reviews
However, the book got extremely repetitive at times, especially during the memory sequences. A lot of the book felt like filler, or like it was a series of vignettes cobbled together. I find it hard to remember exactly what was even going on, and I literally just finished reading the book.
I liked it enough to give a good rating, but is this the best Dresden Files book so far? No. Really, no.
Unfortunately I have to say that I liked the old live version of Harry Dresden better. Harry has none of his magical powers in this book and, to me, this is a real negative point. A lot of the world around him, the real world, have gone down the drain and on the whole the ambiance of this book is much more sad and depressing.
There are plenty of action and plenty of new enemies which is what keep the book going but Harry is mostly a spectator while other people are doing the fighting for him. Again something that I have to say I was not too pleased with. The majority of the book is spent on Harry trying to figure out who killed him by trying to persuade the various people who can, if not see so, at least hear him. It got boring fairly quickly though.
The biggest positive point with this book (a bit of a spoiler ahead) is the ending which hints that Harry will be back in the saddle again in future stories.
In GHOST STORY, Harry is forced into a passive role. The title is literal: he's a ghost. He can't do much of anything. He has to stand by and let other people act, or, if he's lucky, persuade them to act according to his instructions. In terms of Harry's character development and moving the series forward, I think this is exactly what Harry needs. For example: there's a sideplot with a gang of kids who are ordered to do a drive by shooting on Murphy's house. Harry ends up hanging out with the top kid, learning about his situation, and then working to change it by rustling up some caretakers and competent adult supervision. He achieves a better, more humane result than he would have found if he'd been able to jump in and fight, like he usually would.
In general, Harry is forced by his circumstances to do a lot of listening, waiting, and reflecting. Harry's always been a smart, thoughtful guy but not someone who dwells unduly on the past. I think that being forced to change his tune is good for him as a person and ultimately for the series - but, just like having Harry be so passive, it's not great for the reading experience. I think half of GHOST STORY might be flashbacks. Taking a stroll down memory lane with Harry is enjoyable...but it's still a STROLL, and Harry Dresden books are usually a lot more like, I don't know, a freight train crashing down Mount Everest. GHOST STORY simply does not have the momentum and muscle of the average Dresden book.
The overall feel is uneven. The action either occurs in the material world without Harry's participation, or else in the spiritual plane without any help from the cast of supporting characters. Harry finds ways to communicate with his friends, but he can't interact with them. The sense of disconnection and compartmentalization is pervasive. A book narrated by a ghost OUGHT to feel like that, so in a way this is a compliment, but it's not as much fun as a book with a live narrator, what can I say?
Then there's the last, final, biggest problem. Harry's told that he has to go back to Chicago and find out who killed him before he can move on to the next world. And while I was VERY interested to discover the answer, it was also, weirdly, a letdown. I felt a little bit like at the end of a TV episode where you find out everything that happened was a dream - that's not what happens here, the book is not just a big dream sequence, but I had that same feeling of having been cheated.
My final judgment is an odd one. I like GHOST STORY just the way it is - I think that cutting Thomas and Murphy out of the plot was cheating, but I wouldn't change the fundamentals. I think I'll like Harry more with these new lessons under his belt; I have no trouble seeing GHOST STORY as a springboard to better things, a necessary step in the series arc. But most Dresden Files books would clear five stars easy for me, and this one is four.
One more thing, in every story book he writes it pushes the whole series along, not just the book. It draws from several books in the past and sets up story arcs a few books in the future. It is one of my favorite things about this series
Most recent customer reviews
Regrettably, I left this sit in my library for almost a decade. Glad to be back in the series.