Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Dresden Readthrough: Death Masks

We continue our readthrough of Jim Butcher's uber-popular urban fantasy series The Dresden Files today with book five, Death Masks. The continuing plan is to do a book a month on the first Tuesday of each month, and with 15 books on the publication schedule between now and when our readthrough is over, and perhaps our timing being good enough for the 16th, our reading list should be pretty full for the foreseeable future.

When I embarked on going through this readthrough, I expected to like these books. They're not terribly reviled by a large segment of readers, generally held in high regard, and so on. What I didn't expect was to continue liking each new book more than the one before it. I thought Summer Knight was great and the best of the series. How on earth is Death Masks even better?

What I liked: Death Masks continues doing what the Dresden series does best - creating a sense of danger even when you know deep down that our hero will pull through. So many times in this story I felt like things were going south in ways that were going to be difficult-to-impossible to come around from, and yet it's figured out. And it's not typically in a convenient way, but in an organic one that makes sense in the context of the story and the universe that's been established. Yes, Dresden is typically able to weasel his way out of things, but as much as I can complain about it, it's absolutely shocking how many books I read that struggle with this concept and how well Butcher handles it.

Beyond that, though, I love what Butcher has done with Susan, I love the continuing issue with the different courts (another bonus of this series - old plots aren't forgotten even when the books are episodic. It's nice to see things that happened in old books coming back in newer ones, and there are a lot of interesting debacles Dresden has gotten himself out of that are sure to come back to haunt him, which is fun), I love pretty much everything about this specific storyline, which dealt a lot with death curses and competing groups and such. I just really love what's happening here period.

What I didn't like: For once, I really have no complaints. This is a series that has really hit its stride at this point, and knowing that I still have 10-11 books to go to catch up does not feel daunting at all, but rather exciting.

Still hating that I'm pacing myself on these, but it's probably for the best...

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