Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review - Ghost Story

The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher
1. Storm Front        2/3/2007
2. Fool Moon         2/5/2007
3. Grave Peril         1/23/2007
4. Summer Knight   2/14/2007
5. Death Masks      2/16/2007
6. Blood Rites         2/18/2007
7. Dead Beat           8/23/2007
8. Proven Guilty       8/26/2007
9. White Night         10/30/2007
10. Small Favor        4/2/2010
11. Turn Coat          4/8/2010
12. Changes             5/10/2011
13. Ghost Story        9/14/2011 * * * * *

***** Big-Huge-Spoiler-Alert-You-Have-Been-Warned! *****

From Goodreads:
When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

My Thoughts:

The 'blurb really doesn't explain the premise of this novel very well.  I mean, that is partly what the story is about, but it's also a lot more than that.  At the end of "Changes" Harry is murdered and falls into Lake Michigan.  When he awakens at the beginning of "Ghost Story" he learns that he is dead, six months have passed, and he is given the choice to go back to try to solve his murder, and help save some of his friends from dying.  Being Harry, he of course chooses to go back, and is heart-broken to learn how drastically things have changed in Chicago since his death, and the devastating effects to his friends.

Harry struggles to learn to cope and function as a ghost or spirit (although several characters comment that he isn't really a ghost and not really a spirit but something else), learning quickly about the huge supernatural threat to the city and his friends, but is so intent on saving his friends, (and in several cases, complete strangers) that he makes little headway into solving his own murder until very close to the end where several huge reveals are made.

While the story doesn't lack at all in the action department, quite a bit of the story is spent with Harry musing over past events, both the recent events told in the novel "Changes," and also several key events from his childhood.  Harry becomes very introspective in this tale, focusing on how his choices and actions in the past have shaped and affected the lives and choices of those around him, specifically his closest friends, but also the city and supernatural communities at large as well.  This 'interconnectedness' of choices and cause/effect is a recurring theme running through the story, and it's fascinating to see how his choices (both good and bad) have changed the landscape of his world, and how they will affect his future as well.

Yes, one of those huge reveals I mentioned does in fact deal with his future - basically that he will have one - but I won't say any more than that as the plot twist was surprising and thrilling (at least to me), and I wouldn't want to ruin the details for anyone.  Suffice it to say that this won't be the last Dresden File, and while this story was slower and more introspective and mental than the previous novels, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can't wait to see what mysteries and challenges are waiting for Harry next!  "Ghost Story" gets five stars, as does the series overall.

Have you read "Ghost Story" or any of the other Dresden Files?  As always, please leave your thoughts and comments below!


  1. I'm a big fan of the Dresden Files. Ghost Story was great. Molly was my favorite in that one when I never really liked her much before.

  2. @Christine Rains It was nice to see her (finally) move out of the "student" role, and into that of a strong, self-sufficient adult.

  3. I've only ever read the first one and I wasn't impressed so I never read any more of them. However, I may be tempted to give them another try at this rate...


  4. @diaryofadomesticgoddess Hi Kell! I seem to remember getting a little lost and bogged down in the middle of the first one (Storm Front), but I liked the basic premise and so I started the second book (Fool Moon), and I think that's when I got hooked. There's a nice balance of short story arcs within the each novel, and overall story arcs that may take several or more novels to complete, which is what kept me coming back, along with some of the great characters that come along after the groundwork gets setup in the first one or two novels.

    So, maybe not for everyone, but that's what this is all about, right?!