Review: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

July 10, 2013 2013, B+, book rating, reviews 0

This is the first book I’ve read by Shelley Adina–sorry…this book is by Jim Butcher(!) and it’s listed with the Literary Escapism blog for the 2013 New Author Challenge.

SummerKnightSummer Knight
by Jim Butcher
Series: Dresden Files, book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Roc
E-book, from library
388 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower.

The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man.

And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him — and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case.


I watched the Dresden Files when it was on the SciFi channel several years ago. I was sad when it was cancelled after the first season. I’ve been wanting to read this series for several years, but just hadn’t quite found the right time. When I saw some of the books were available as e-books from my library I knew it was a sign! Even though this is the fourth book in the series I’ve read it first because it was available first!

Even though this was the fourth book I didn’t have a problem picking up the threads of the book…perhaps because I had watched the TV show which has some of the same characters and aspects of the book. Things that happened earlier to Harry Dresden and other characters are referred to and I hope to go back and read the earlier books.

This book opens with a rain of toads which Harry and his friend Billy the werewolf are checking out. Harry needs to find out if the toads are magical or real. If they are real it’s more of a problem…showing that things are out of whack with the world. He does figure out the toads are real and also manages to survive an assassination attempt. All that in the first few pages!

Harry has to deal with the White Council (the wizards’ council) and the Faeries. He doesn’t want to deal with either, but quickly finds he has little choice. He also realizes he’s going to have a hard time coming out of this alive…both the Council and the Faeries threaten to kill him if he doesn’t succeed in finding the Summer Knight’s killer and clear the Winter Queen.

My Thoughts: I like urban fantasy with a strong main character, engaging supporting characters and a good mystery. Summer Knight has all these. I like Harry even when he’s depressed and sad at his inability to help his girlfriend (former girlfriend?) who was hurt in an earlier book. Harry has a strong set of ethics and tries to follow what he thinks is the right way even when it’s not the easy way. Not everyone likes him and a number of people think he’s dangerous and out-of-control. He doesn’t let that stop him from doing what he thinks he has to. However, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and has a great sense of the absurd. He’s very human.

I slammed the doors open a little harder than I needed to, stalked out to the Blue Beetle, and drove away with all the raging power the ancient four-cylinder engine could muster. Behold the angry wizard puttputt-putting away.

….I growled at myself. “Stop whining, Harry,” I said in a firm, loud voice. “So what if you’re tired? So what if you’re hurt? So what if you smell like you’re already dead? You’re a wizard. You’ve got a job to do….”

He’s also smart enough to be afraid, but also knows he has to step in and try to save the people he cares about or who’ve volunteered to help him. He has no allusions about the danger Faeries represent.

I leaned against my door with my eyes closed, trying to think. I was scared. Not in that half-pleasant adrenaline-charged way, but quietly scared. Wait-on-the-results-of-the-medical-tests scared. It’s a rational sort of fear that puts a lawn chair down in the front of your thoughts and brings a cooler of drinks along with it.

I was working for the queen of wicked faeries–well, Queen of Winter, of the Unseelie faeries, at any rate. The Unseelie weren’t universally vicious and evil, any more than the Seelie, the Summer fae, were all kind and wise. They were much like the season for which they had been named–cold, beautiful, pitiless, and entirely without remorse. Only a fool would willingly associate with them.

He got tangled up with the Faeries in the past and hasn’t been able to completely untangle himself. That’s how the Queen of Winter has trapped him…that and other past actions on Harry’s part have brought him to his present predicament–working for the Queen. During his investigation he meets people from his past as well as changelings and faeries. He faces many dangers and doesn’t always know who to trust. The mystery of who killed the Summer Knight and why he was killed is a good one. The book is well-written, the characters are interesting and complex and the world building is excellent.

I plan to read more books in this series and am so happy there are lots available to read! The 14th book–Cold Days–was published last November and the next book Skin Game doesn’t have a publishing date yet.

No Responses to “Review: Summer Knight by Jim Butcher”

  1. Lark

    I’ve been meaning to start this series for two years now. At the moment, it’s still on my “someday” list. I have so many books I’ve committed to in the next few months, I can’t think of starting a new series yet!

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      I know exactly what you mean! I have a category on my kindle “books I want to read” which I updated today…I now have 41 books on that list. Those are the books I really want to read soon and I keep adding to it making it larger and larger!

      I shouldn’t have started a new series either, but I’m glad I did!

      • Lark

        *chuckles* I have over 600 books on my Goodreads list. I’m in the process of breaking it down into “to read” (stuff I’ve got and plan to read) and “someday” (stuff I’d like to read, which I may or may not have.) 600 is way, way too many, so I’m also trying to prune.

  2. Jan

    “laughing sheepishly” I’ve got way more books that I’ve bought, but that aren’t on my “Must Read List” and also lists of books I might buy sometime plus I’ve got boxes of books still to unpack from our move last fall. I’m planning to sell a lot of those books, but haven’t started that yet. Way too many books!

    • Lark

      Yes, I’m looking at pruning mine, too. I have books I’ve bought at library sales that I probably won’t read. There really is such a thing as too many books, however much I might wish otherwise.

      • Jan

        Definitely I have too many books! I really need to get busy with my sorting after all my travels this summer.

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