Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 374
Opening Lines: "Some things are just not meant to go together. Things like oil and water. Orange juice and toothpaste."
"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 be 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 . . .
"The missing Shroud of Turin . . .
"A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified . . .
"Not to mention the return of Harry's girlfriend Susan, who is 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 changing."
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: It seems that the Dresden Files keep progressively getting better or stay on the same level with previous books -- minus the first. After the fight with the Fae queens, I was wondering what else Harry could bring down on his head. However, starting with his performance of the Larry Fowler Show, things start going down hill fast. In an attempt to stop the impending war between the White Council and the Red Court, Harry willing to enters into a duel with Ortega, who he cannot possibly defeat. At the same time, a strange body shows up. With the nature of the wounds, missing limbs, and sans head, Murphy calls Harry in for his professional thoughts. And, if this isn't enough, a priest from the Vatican approaches him about returning the stolen Shroud of Turin. If you're a reader of the Dresden Files, you know that all of these things work together to form the plot of the book.
When I first started the book, I thought the battle with Ortega would take up more of the book. However, with the outcome, Butcher has promised that we will not see the last of the Red Court. The book's primary concern is the Shroud of Turin, the mysterious body, and other nefarious characters.
I really like the concept of the Denarians. They were freaky, but extremely well thought out. I appreciated that Butcher took the time to give each Fallen a different aspect, nature, and personality. Granted, only a few showed up in the novel. He also sparked my interest in Nicodemus. I'm really hoping he will show up in later books. After the episode in the train, I'm sure he has a vendetta to pick with Harry.
While I missed Susan, it seemed cruel to Harry to bring her back. However, Butcher was able to give them a better closing/parting than in the previous books.
My biggest issue with the book was the constant inconsistency in the spelling of blond. On one page, it would be spelled with an 'e' and the next page not. However you choose to spell it, keep it consistent. Further, I wish the main part of the action didn't take place a few pages from the end. Also, it seems kind of strange that a vampire can get drunk . . . *shrug*
All in all, I enjoyed the book. I like how the ending pulled the audience back to the beginning. And I cannot help but wonder what it means for Harry with the sword.
Currently: The Vampire of New York by Lee Hunt
Current Pages: 24512