Review: Small Favor by Jim Butcher

small-favor

Small Favor

by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 10
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2008
E-book, from Library
420 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: No one’s tried to kill Harry Dresden for almost an entire year, and his life finally seems to be calming down. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow. An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, the Queen of Air and Darkness-and she’s calling in her marker. It’s a small favor he can’t refuse…one that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and one that will strain his skills-and loyalties-to their very limits. It figures. Everything was going too well to last…

Think of every fairy-tale villainess you’ve ever heard of. Think of the wicked witches, the evil queens, the mad enchantresses. Think of the alluring sirens, the hungry ogresses, the savage she-beasts. Think of them and remember that somewhere, sometime, they’ve all been real.

Mab gave them lessons.

and

Anybody with an ounce of sense knows that fighting someone with a significant advantage in size, weight and reach is difficult. If your opponent has you by fifty pounds, winning a fight against him is a dubious proposition, at best.

If your opponent has you by eight thousand and fifty pounds, you’ve left the realm of combat and enrolled yourself in Road-kill 101. Or possibly in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Cheers

  • Harry is a character who grows and changes with each book. I like when an author does that with their main character.
  • Harry has a couple different groups of enemies in this book. He’s in a bad place almost constantly.
  • I like the allies Harry has gathered around him. They are a diverse group and not all of them show up in every book, but they’re strong allies. (Danya @ Fine Print blog commented on my review of Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire: “My favourite thing about long-running UF series is the inevitable transition from loner to part of a supernatural crew of buddies.” I hadn’t consciously thought of that, but she’s right.)
  • The various mythologies Jim Butcher introduces in The Dresden Files are different and interesting…the different types of vampires, the Denarians, the Knights of the Cross. The Fae are more familiar, but Mr. Butcher gives them interesting twists, too.
  • The Fae feature prominently in this book. Unseelie Queen Mab wants a favor from Harry and since he owes her two more favors he doesn’t have much choice. Mab is scary!
  • This book doesn’t deal with the White Council’s war with the Red Vampires.
  • I really like the ending of this book and look forward to what happens in the next book.

Jeers

  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • With each book I’m hooked more and more. I love the fact there are so many books in the series. At first that was intimidating, but I’m enjoying reading the books so much that I’m really glad I haven’t caught up yet.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

No reading challenges for this book! 😦

Review: White Night by Jim Butcher

White Night
White Night

 

White Night
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 9
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2007
E-book, Purchased
416 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden’s half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling’s name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too…

 

…and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind ‒ graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.

And if you are very, very lucky, there are a few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realize that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last ‒ and yet will remain with you for life.

Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.

Cheers

  • I enjoy this series a lot. Harry is a great character and I enjoy all the different characters which populate this world.
  • I like how Harry thinks about things–his ironic wit, his cynical look at the world he lives in, his open-eyed courage as he walks into danger.
  • This isn’t the book to read first if you’ve never read this series before. In the earlier books it isn’t necessary to start with book 1, but I think you should start with one of the first five and then maybe go back and read some of those first books (that’s what I did, BTW.)
  • I’ve read and reviewed this series more than any series since I started my blog a little over a year ago. (I’ve read more by other authors, but not since I started my blog).

Concerns

  • The last book brings up the possibility of a white council conspiracy. It’s mentioned in this book, but not much happens on that front.

Conclusions

  • In less than a year I’ve read eight books in this series. I enjoy each book which is a complete story, but I also like the overall story arc which begins practically with the first book–the war between the red vampires and the white council and maybe a conspiracy within the white council.
  • I’m always ready to begin the next books, but I try to space them out a little so I don’t run out of books too quickly!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

This book is eligible for the following reading challenge:

  • The Book Bingo Challenge.

Review: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

proven-guiltyProven Guilty
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 8
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2006
E-book, Purchased
403 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: There’s no love lost 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 a Warden 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….

I was fairly sure that my day couldn’t get much worse.

No sooner had I thought it than there was a horrible crunching sound, and my head snapped back hard against the headrest on the back of the driver’s seat. The Beetle shuddered and jounced wildly, and I fought to keep it under control.

You’d think I would know better by now.

and

I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching–they are your family.

 Likes

  • Mouse continues to be a wonderful character. Very heroic.
  • I like the horror movie convention.
  • Thomas finally leaves after about two years living with Harry, but is mysterious about where and what he is doing.
  • We get to see more of Karrin Murphy in this book. She’s a favorite character of mine.
  • Michael and his family show up again in this book and we find out more about them.
  • Lots of White Council and various members of the Council plus their war with the Red Vampires.
  • A hint for future books–is there a traitor in the White Council?
  • Some of the book takes place in the Nevernever and with the Faeries there and in Dresden’s Chicago. I like that.

 Dislikes

  • A reader knows what they’re getting in this series. I like that, but some readers might get tired of the predictability. I like Harry, his friends and his world too much to worry very much about it.

Thoughts

  • The series is urban fantasy with a mystery (or mysteries) to solve–in this case the mystery at the horror movie convention.
  • The war with the vampires (the ongoing story arc through most of this series) continues in this book.
  • This is one of my favorite books of the series so far. Harry is more proactive and positive in this book and works with quite a few different people on different problems. Some of the people like him and some don’t—business as usual!
  • I’m looking forward to seeing where these books are going since we get some intriguing hints for future books.

Have you read books in this series? How do you like them?

Reading challenges

I’m participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. I’m placing this book in one of my series squares.

Review: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

I’m participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. This book will go into one of my series squares.

dead-beat

Dead Beat
by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 7
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2005
E-book, Library
435 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: When a killer vampire threatens to destroy head of Special Investigations Karrin Murphy’s reputation unless Harry delivers the powerful Word of Kemmler to her, he has no choice. Now Harry is in a race against time to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.

 

I mean, we’re all going to die. We know that on an intellectual level. We figure it out sometime when we’re still fairly young, and it scares us so badly that we convince ourselves we’re immortal for more than a decade afterward.

Death isn’t something anyone likes to think about, but the fact is that you can’t get out of it. No matter what you do, how much you exercise, how religiously you diet, or meditate, or pray, or how much money you donate to your church there is a single hard, cold fact that faces everyone on earth: One day it’s going to be over. One day the sun will rise, the world will turn, people will go about their daily routines–only you won’t be in it. You’ll be still. And cold.

What worked for me:

  • This book starts out almost a year after the last book. His ball of fur, cute puppy (Mouse) has “…gone from fuzz ball to fuzz barge.” And Thomas is living with him still. Harry invited him at the end of the last book–just until he found his own place. Almost a year later Harry is getting tired of having a roommate, but feels guilty since Thomas is having a hard time.
  • Mouse is a great character…happy like a dog, but also wise.
  • This is the first book which mentions Waldo Butters (at least I don’t remember him before this) and he’s a good character. He’s a medical examiner who loves polka…and polka is important in this story!
  • This is the seventh book in the series and all that has happened to Harry has changed him. He’s battered, more cynical, still idealistic but doesn’t trust as easily. He’s learned his past actions–even if well meant–have far-reaching consequences for his life and others. He still tries to stand for the clueless, innocent humans. And he realizes he’s important to a lot of people.
  • These books deal a lot with Harry trying to do the “right thing.” Trying to prove he isn’t evil just because he killed someone before he even knew what the rules were. Many wizards in the White Council think he will fail at any time, but he’s determined to prove them wrong even though he’s seeing the world in more shades of gray than just black and white.

 What didn’t work:

  • I’m tired of Harry being depressed. Maybe if he had a girlfriend he would be happier…but probably not!
  • What happened to Mister (Harry’s cat)? In the latter part of the book he isn’t mentioned.

My thoughts:

The first part of the book is kind of depressing. Harry is  angry with Thomas and feels guilty about it. His apartment is small and usually messy since Thomas is there. Karrin Murphy heads off to Hawaii with someone (and Harry isn’t sure how he feels about that!) A vampire threatens to ruin Murphy’s career. I thought I might need a break from this series because I was getting depressed! However, by the end of the book I decided I’m ready to read the next one and find out what happens. However, I put it on hold at the library so I may have to wait awhile–which is probably for the best!

Do you read this series? How do you like it? Did you like this book?

Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

I’m participating in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog. I’ve had this Audible version of Blood Rites on my Kindle Fire for a long time! When I came across it as I was browsing my Audible books I realized it was the next book in the series so I promptly started listening.

I’m also participating in the Book Bingo Challenge. Since this is an Audible audiobook it also fits with the Audiobook Challenge hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs.

blood-ritesBlood Rites
by Jim Butcher
Narrated by James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc, 2004
Audiobook, Purchased
372 pages (13+ hours)
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: For Harry Dresden, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Still, there’s something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film’s producer believes he’s the target of a sinister curse-but it’s the women around him who are dying.

Harry’s even more frustrated because he only got involved with this bizarre mystery as a favor to Thomas-his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can’t quite figure out. But Harry is about to discover that Thomas’ family tree has been hiding a shocking revelation that will change his life forever…

Over the course of many encounters and many years, I have successfully developed a standard operating procedure for dealing with big, nasty monsters.

Run away.

and

“I wish I worried about my uncle’s opinions, and had problems to work out with my mom. Hell, I’d settle for knowing what her voice sounded like.” I put a hand on her shoulder. “Trite but true—you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. People change. The world changes. And sooner or later you lose people you care about. If you don’t mind some advice from someone who doesn’t know much about families, I can tell you this: Don’t take yours for granted. It might feel like all of them will always be there. But they won’t.”

What worked for me:

  • I like the beginning of the book with Harry rescuing puppies! The puppy in this book is very cute and since I like dogs and cats I always like hearing about Harry’s cat Mister and now he seems to have a puppy. Very nice!
  • The movie at the center of this story is an “adult” movie which makes sense based on the facts of the story. I found it kind of funny when Harry discovers this.
  • In this book Harry finds out things about his personal life and family–some good and some bad.
  • We also see more of Murphy in this book and learn about her family and her insecurities. I like we learn more about secondary characters as the books continue.
  • Like any good series as Harry learns about people in his life it sometimes feels like betrayal to him. Sometimes he doesn’t quite know how to react. All very true-to-life reactions.
  • We find out more about things which happen in earlier books. I like the overall arc going on.
  • I like the narrator, James Marsters. He has a good voice for the stories.
  • We find out more about the different types of vampires. Jim Butcher has created an interesting world with lots of different supernatural beings.

What didn’t work:

  • Though I like James Marsters’ narration I think I missed some of the nuances so I’m going to stick to the books after this. I listen to audiobooks while I’m doing other things–cooking dinner, cruising the internet, working on cards so my full attention isn’t always on the book.

My thoughts:

I like the direction the books are going. They are more complex with more characters. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Have you read any books in this series? How do you like them?