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review 2017-09-12 02:08
Same ol' same ol: Rock|Harry|Hard Place -and it's great.
Summer Knight: The Dresden Files, Book 4 - Jim Butcher,James Marsters

So, we get more information on the White Council (not just the vague references in the first couple of books and our buddy Morgan the Warden), as well as our introduction to the Fae Courts. Throw in everything we learned about Marcone in book 2, vampires in book 3, and what we're about to learn in book 5 and we'll have fully established the world of Harry Dresden. And wow, what a world.

 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We start off with dealing with the war Harry was tricked into instigating in the last book, he's got assassins after him -- but thankfully, Billy's got his back. A friendship has developed between Harry, Billy and the rest of Billy's pack since Fool Moon which is pretty cool to see. Even if Harry's too blinded by his obsessive need to cure Susan's vampirism to see things like friendship, self-destructive lifestyle, and whatnot. Billy's also minding the store for Harry and has made an appointment for him to meet with a new client.

 

Harry doesn't want a new client -- but he's about run out of money and is looking at the business end of evictions soon, so he'd better. He doesn't want this new client either, for reasons you can read/listen to for yourself, but she doesn't leave him much of a choice.

Before he can get too carried away with dealing with this, he has to attend a meeting of the White Council -- where he will be a major topic of conversation, thanks to the vampire war. Which isn't going too well for the Wizards. We meet some great characters at this meeting, including Harry's [spoiler] and mentor, Ebenezar McCoy. McCoy is a hoot -- Marsters (no surprise) nails his character, by the way -- he's just one of those guys you like from the moment you meet him on the page and your appreciation for him only increases. In the end, the Council basically puts Harry to a test -- if he doesn't pass, they hand him over to the vampires; if he does, things continue on the way they are now -- and if he dies in the process, well, that'll be inconvenient. The test, naturally, involves him taking the above client he doesn't want.

 

In a nutshell, a member of one of the Fae Courts has been killed and Harry has a couple of days until the Summer Solstice to find out who did it. Otherwise, the balance of power between the Courts will shift and war break out. A war that'll pretty much decimate the planet's climate in ways that Al Gore couldn't imagine. Which is a bad thing for us humans. So pretty much, Harry has to solve a murder, stop a war/save the earth, while dodging assassins, skeptical wizards, and who knows what else or he'll be tortured and killed by vampires after being abandoned by his people. In just a couple of days.

Oh, and a long-lost (and assumed dead) person from Harry's past shows up in the middle of all this, too.

 

No big deal, right? Poor, poor Harry. It's a fun adventure (for the reader), the mystery story is decent, the adversaries are fantastic -- and the new characters (even those we never see again, sniff) are great additions to what's just a great cast.

 

I mentioned the friendship of Billy and Harry earlier -- we get a lot of it in this book, Billy's along for most of the adventure, and he's really turning into someone Harry can count on. Karrin Murphy gets some great action, too -- and Harry finally clues her into what's going on re: Fae, Vampires, White Council, etc. You know, keeping the promise he made to himself at the end of book 2. Well done, Dresden. I can't fail to mention Toot Toot -- he's come a long way since we met him in Storm Front, in no small way thanks to Harry.

 

I'm talking about an audiobook now, so I really should say something about James Marsters' work. I'm just going to sound like a broken record, though, if I do. I'm trying to think if I wasn't that impressed with anything, or if there was something in particular that I thought he did well, and I can't come up with anything. I really enjoyed his Bob in Summer Night -- nothing different in the characterization, I don't think, but it just came to life in a particular way. Also, he captured the very strong sense of fatigue, of being at the end of his rope that so defined Harry in these pages.

 

This wasn't my favorite book -- although I really enjoyed it on the whole -- and really relished reliving the establishment of the Council and Courts in the series. While I thoroughly enjoyed the stuff in Wal-Mart (for example), it went on too long and wasn't worth it to the story. There were a few too many moments like that in this book for my taste -- fun in and of themselves, but ultimately, time wasted, so I'll knock this down a star. Also, it proves that as much of a mindless fan-boy I can tend to be about this series, I'm a little discerning. A little.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/09/11/summer-knight-audiobook-by-jim-butcher-james-marsters
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review 2017-08-18 20:05
Meh on This Dresden Addition to the Series
Blood Rites - Jim Butcher

There's a reason it took me three separate borrow periods at my library to finish this book. It's just not that good. I have loved most of the Harry Dresden books, and this one, nope. It just read as filler from beginning to end. Then the book ends on a weird note and at one point I wondered if my Kindle was missing a page (yeah I don't know if this is possible, but I worried about it).

 

in the sixth book in this series, we have our man Harry, wizard extraordinaire, back in the saddle again. He gets dragged into a mystery to solve by Thomas, the vampire that he met in "Grave Peril" Harry Dresden #3. I can't even get to the plot with a straight face. Thomas, who is a White Court vampire (shakes head, no not getting into that mess here) asks Harry to look to find out what he can about a series of deaths on a pornography film set. I think that right there just turned me off. There are some cute moments here and there with Harry adopting a puppy, but eh. I just could not get into this one even though I really tried. It took almost three months for me to finish this one. I should have just DNFed it, but I am trying to get through all of the books in the series and post reviews.

 

Harry is Harry. I really don't think we get much development by way of anyone else in this one except for a reveal about someone and Harry in this one. I don't want to think too hard about it, cause if I do I may just pull my hair out.

 

There is some back and forth between the White Court and Black Court vampires in this one and we get some new characters who I am going to assume will show up in subsequent books.  

 

FYI, if I am going to make fun of Twilight for having a love shield, I am going to make fun of Harry for having one too. That whole thing was bonkers and didn't even make sense. 

 

And the soulgaze thing. Anyway. I need to move on since I want this thing to be over.

 

There are a lot of things in this one that as I already said are just setting up things I think for the next book. 

 

I have to say I have never been that interested in the goings on with the vampires in Harry's world and this book shows why. They really are boring. 

 

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review 2017-06-14 04:54
Not Butcher's best, but Marsters is still rockin'
Jim Butcher - Dresden Files: Books 1-4: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight (The Dresden Files) - Jim Butcher,James Marsters

Let's keep this short:

 

I didn't love this one as much as <b>Storm Front</b>, and I remember things as a whole being better. Still, we get the introduction of the Alphas, we get to see a little bit of every type of Werewolf in this world (I'd forgotten 1 of them), Dresden makes some smart choices re: Karrin Murphy (but man, most of what happened between the two of them in this book was annoying to a fan, and poorly constructed I think), and a (in retrospect) dumb one about Susan.

 

The main story was pretty good -- I'd have liked to see Harry be a little quicker to figure things out, but he's not perfect. Nor is he the investigator he'll become eventually. I need to remind myself these are early days. As I recall, book 3 is a little less-good than this, which doesn't make me look forward to it. But I know I like where things go pretty quickly, so I'll keep going.

 

Marsters was fantastic -- this would've been a 3 in just about any other narrator's hands, er, vocal cords. I can't say enough good things about him.

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review 2017-05-30 14:16
#Audiobook Review: Skin Game by Jim Butcher
Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15 - James Marsters,Jim Butcher

Skin Game opens with Harry on Demonreach, a place he’s been living alone for the past year. He can’t leave until he removes the parasite from his head, and it’s clear that Mab has been running interference when he tried to reach out to his friends. Harry spent the time learning more about his new job as the prison warden and perfecting his parkour moves. When Mab finally shows up, she tells Harry his next task is to work as her emissary helping Nicodemus. 

 

I have always been a bit fearful of the stories revolving around Nicodemus and the Blacken Denarius. The stories tend to be a bit darker, and Skin Game is no exception. However, I have to say that even with my initial apprehension and the terrible violence of the book, I think this was my favorite Blacken Denarius story. The book is filled with plot twists and gritty action, but also tender moments (Harry and Maggie finally connect!!) and Harry’s trademark humor. 

 

Overall, I enjoyed Skin Game. There were great highs, but some very dark lows. The darkness of the mood and malice found in several scenes was a bit much for me at times. I loved several of the changes; most notably what happens with Butters, the changes between Karen and Dresden, and Harry uniting with Maggie. I also loved the addition of Goodwin Gray and Hades, and would love to see them again in future titles. Harry is finding his way again, learning to trust both himself and his friends. There was a lot of positive emotions in the underlying storyline message. But the gruesome scenes were hard to handle at times. 

 

James Marsters turns in another amazing performance. Expanding his cast of voices with the addition of several new characters. The voice for the evil forest creature was ominous and dark, the voice for mercenary Gray was laid back and charming. Perfect. 

 

Now that I’ve finished Skin Games, I’m 100% caught up and have nothing new. With the delayed and unknown release date for the next title, I’m a bit sad.

 

My Rating: B+

Narration: A

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review 2017-05-23 18:34
#Audiobook Review: Cold Days by Jim Butcher
Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14) - James Marsters,Jim Butcher

Cold Days opens with a fully alive, yet still recovering, Harry under the care of Mab, who is determined to shape him into her active Winter Knight. It takes a few chapters, but eventually, Harry makes his way back to Chicago and reunites with his friends and brother.

 

Cold Days tackles a lot! Not only is Harry back from the dead, but he’s taken on the mantle of the Winter Knight. He’s got to figure out if he should and how to fulfill Mab’s first task for him, save Demonreach from exploding, which in turn will save all of Chicago, deal with a new and extremely powerful player on the paranormal scene, and by the way, he has a parasite stuck in his head. Honestly, it was all a bit too much for me at times. That, coupled with the several too-close calls, made the book drag a bit because it was over the top. Yet, it was filled with undeniable wit and a sense of humor that complements Harry’s new found fearless attitude.  My new favorite word may just be Vajazzled… referring to the “costume” of jewels Mauve wore along her woman parts (and nothing else).

 

The best parts of the book came when Harry reconnected with his friends, most especially the scene with Thomas. I was in tears. And Karen… she’s really changed since his death. But I was so glad to see she and Harry working together. 

 

The narration was excellent. There were times of fast-paced bantering, when dialogue tags were dropped, and I clearly knew who was who. There were scenes of heighten emotions that were so palatable, my own heart nearly broke. The inner battle of Harry the Wizard vs Harry the Winter Knight rivaled Andy Serkis’s performance as Smeagol/Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The vast array of voices, both human and other, are unique, distinct, and perfectly formed. Listening to James Marsters is like listening to a cast of dozens.

 

In the end, I enjoyed Cold Days, even though I felt it went on a few too many chapters. But knowing I only have one book left until I’m caught up leaves me a bit melancholy. I’ve enjoyed exploring this series and don’t want to have to wait for more chapters from Dresden’s life.

 

My Rating: B

Narration: A+

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