Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: Paperback 479
Published: February 2007
Publisher: Roc Fantasy
Opening Lines: "Blood leaves no stain on a Warden's grey cloak."
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"There's no lover between Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined. But war with the vampires has thinned their ranks, so the Council has drafted Harry as and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City.
"As Harry adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, all grown-up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault, straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it's all in a day's work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob . . ."
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: I loved the start of this book. Admittedly, I thought of Dragon Age: Origins (of which I have played twice in the last month *sheepish grin*) when Harry talked about Wardens and grey cloaks. It was the perfect foreshadowing for the rest of the book.
This book is really hard to describe without giving away too many details. After receiving a note from the Gatekeeper tasking Harry with finding black magic in Chicago, he gets a phone call from Molly Carpenter to help bail her boyfriend out of jail. Being the only witness to a brutal beating, Molly's boyfriend has been wrongly arrested. And if seeing Michael Carpenter's daughter tattooed, pierced, and dressed like a Goth isn't enough, the attendees of a local horror movie convention are being killed by the villains of the same movies they love.
Akin to the previous book, Harry is still struggling with identity issues. Now he is a Warden of the White Council and directly in charge of Chicago. However, even while he understands the Council's need, he is still at war with whether their methods are correct. He is still that teenager standing before the Council, waiting for them to pass judgment on something he never fully understood. In this book, it is painfully apparent that he is still struggling with that. Honestly, I wonder how this will change the outcome of the next books. Further, he is still being hunted by Lasciel. While she seemingly accepts her position as a guest in his mind, she is still very much a powerful presence. When Harry is preparing to enter Faerie, he is faced with the fact that he might be too cocky in his belief that he can control her.
This book also deals a lot with his loneliness. Even in the first few books, Harry has always been battered with being alone. With Susan, that really seemed to abate. However, with each book, that struggle has turned into a torment. And Lasciel's scheme in the previous book kind of drove that notion home.
"I saw what kind of man you are. Kind. Gentle . . . Lonely. And . . . And hungry. No one has touched you in a very long time." (465)
This will play a really important role in the future, and, I fear, might mean Harry's downfall. During several points in the book, he made a point to say that this was a very weak area of him.
It was nice to see Michael return and offer a helping hand in Harry's dilemma. However, his statement near the end of the book was rather distressing, and I hope that we will never see it in the books.
In a lot of ways, I felt this book was a lot darker than previous ones. Butcher is really digging into Harry's character and trying to show his internal struggles. This book really mirror that. I felt it was extremely deep. I am anxious to see what crosses he will have to bear in the next books.
Note: The newest Dresden book will hit the shelves this November!
Current Pages: 13,016