Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Dresden Readthrough: Dead Beat

We continue our readthrough of Jim Butcher's uber-popular urban fantasy series The Dresden Files today with book seven, Dead Beat. 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.

After being somewhat underwhelmed with book six, I'm extremely happy that book seven not only got us back on track, but is now probably my favorite of the series. How does this keep getting better?

So this one is really a lot of fallout, a lot of dark stuff happening, and, yeah, Harry's in trouble again. This one got really dark in places, with Necromancy and death and bindings and such, and it's really a somewhat fascinating shift even though we've previously had vampires and such. I didn't expect that, but it all really works.

What's interesting is that Butcher isn't afraid to bring the camp on this one, either. I mean, and I assume there's no spoilers for a book this old but just skip to the next paragraph if you're worried, the end climax point with Sue is both genius and ridiculous all at the same time. HUGE grin on my face when that occurred.

Again, however, Butcher does a great job of putting Dresden in what appears to be a rough, insurmountable spot, and somehow our wizard wriggles out of it. It's both great and probably the one massive flaw in the series to this point where I feel as if Harry's going to always find some weird deux ex machina of some sort. It's becoming enough of a trope where it's still fun, but I can imagine if we were reading these as they came out, I wonder how long I'd be able to tolerate the lack of real danger for our hero.

Overall, though, I really liked this book. Tore through it like I haven't with any other one so far, and it's a testament to the continuing quality, especially the increases in quality as we move forward. Yes, The Wheel of Time is still wounding me more than a year later...

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