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review 2016-09-21 18:20
#Audiobook Review: White Night by Jim Butcher
White Night: The Dresden Files, Book 9 - Jim Butcher

Opening nearly a year after the previous book, Harry and fledgling apprentice Molly Carpenter are investigating a rash of suspicious murders at the request of and along with Karen Murphy. Someone or something is killing off practitioners of magic, some with barely any perceptible power. Unfortunately, it looks like Harry’s half-brother, Thomas, may be involved. As Harry digs deeper, he finds layer upon layer of subterfuge and evil.

 

I think White Night may be one of my favorite books in the series. First of all, the story returns back to the series roots, bring back into the mix gentleman Johnny Marcone, Chicago’s notorious underworld boss. I’ve always enjoyed Johnny’s dark character. He’s not a good man, but he still makes noble gestures and has a heart under the slick surface. His actions are always made with a self-serving endgame in sight, but he also has secrets that motivate him in unexpected ways. Events in White Night suggest we will see more of Marcone in the titles ahead. 

 

Second, I found the balance of dark and light within and around Harry, ideal. The book’s mix between action and storytelling emphasizes this underlying struggle that Harry faces every tale. With the shadow of a manipulative fallen angel inside of Harry, I constantly worry that a point will come when Harry can no longer resist the temptation and take up the coin, bringing power and possession with it. I found this particular storyline extremely exciting and engaging this time around.

 

There are other characters from the past that resurface in White Night, which was both interesting, and frustrating. Interesting was the plot and subplots involving the characters. However, I was frustrated because I couldn’t always place the characters, only that I know I’d heard of them before. Yet, Mr. Butcher weaves a strong tale, keeping me just enough in the loop as to not worry about the past so much.

 

As always, James Marsters works his own magic, bringing Dresden to life with his top-notch performance. However, this time around, I accidentally listened to the book at 1.5x speed instead of my usual 1.25x speed. I thought things sounded a little off once and a while, but by the time I realized why (the faster speed), I’d grown used to it and now prefer it.

 

White Night is another amazing tale in what has become one of my favorite series. The balance between serious and humor, light and dark, action and thought has reached near mastery, and I look forward with much anticipation to where Harry Dresden will end up on his future adventures.

 

Story: A-

Narration: A

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review 2016-06-28 18:12
White Night by Jim Butcher
White Night - Jim Butcher

Note: I feel that Death Masks, Book 5, is where reading this series out of order starts to do you an injustice. This book does work as a stand alone to some extent, but you will get major spoilers for the previous books in the series and it also pulls in characters we have met before. So I recommend reading the previous books before you jump into this one.

Karrin Murphy has taken a vacation day and she has chosen to spend that day showing Harry a supposed suicide crime scene. She has her doubts and Harry Dresden, Chicago’s wizard PI, has his ways of accessing info that most people aren’t privy to. Now Harry finds himself drawn into a series of murders (which look like suicides on the surface) of low-level magic users. As he starts chasing down leads, he and Karrin can’t help but turn a questioning eye towards Thomas Wraith as a man matching his description was last seen with several of the victims.

Harry is now in charge, officially, of Molly’s magical training and this is the first murder investigation he takes her on. The first step is the morgue and a visit with the mortician Waldo Butters. Harry takes the time to teach Molly the basics about reading a corpse of some of it’s final memories. Molly was pretty nervous but her first foray into this little magic trick isn’t what any of them expected. Ha! It does give Harry one more piece of info on the killer but not near enough to figure out who it is.

This book brings back some old enemies and frenemies and brings in some new ones. There’s gentleman John Marcone, Chicago’s crime lord, and a personal favorite of mine. Harry and Marcone often grudgingly swap info and this time Harry will need Marcone’s muscle. Then there’s Thomas’s sister Lara Wraith. A new enemy plus an enemy Harry thought was dead bring some ghouls to the party and the festivities are well underway.

Murphy and Harry have messed with ghouls before. Pretty messy things and hard to kill when they are in a group. In this book, Harry has some flashbacks to one of his side jobs during a summer in New Mexico when he was training some of the new Wardens in combat magic. Ghouls are gruesome and Harry has it out for them. I like that we have this degenerate enemy that we can feel guilt-free in totally hating but I also like that Butcher doesn’t make them mindless.

Harry and a few other wizards have suspected for a while that there is some evil force working within the White Council but Harry has had no proof and no person to point the finger at. In this book, Harry gets a few more hints and some definite indicators that this nebulous evil force wants Harry out of the picture. This being a reread for me, it’s great to see how well Butcher lays some ground work here for some big things that come later.

Harry’s old flame Elaine returns to the storyline and provides Murphy and Harry with some help on their investigation. Now, I’ve never quite gotten around to trusting Elaine fully. But Harry does and for now that will have to be good enough for me. On one hand, I find her hard to trust because she doesn’t have an allegiance to any group and she works hard to stay under the radar. On the other hand, I think younger Harry might have done much the same if he had gotten the chance. So until Elaine proves to be a bad guy, I have to mark her down as an asset and a good guy.

Ramirez strolls back in to the plot and strikes up a flirt with Molly. Ramirez talks a bit of a game but once he’s faced with the White Court vampires, his sexual prowess is revealed in detail. Ha! Still, Ramirez stands besides Harry in the thick of it at the end of the book. It’s quite a show down. It is one of my favorite fight scenes in the series, and a lengthy one at that too. Harry’s snark is allowed to run lose and Lara takes the brunt of it at one point. Mouthwash indeed!

At the end, Harry discovers how Thomas has been keeping himself so well fed and he’s quite surprised! So was I the first time around. Molly has learned a bit about her own limits when it comes to combat magic and situations. Mouse, Harry’s dog, is more than he seems. And there’s tons more fall out from the happenings in this book but I don’t want to get spoilery. Over all, this book has a bit more serious tone to it. Harry is still a smart mouth and that brings some much needed comic relief to certain scenes, but the stakes have gone up. With that, the characters are all getting a bit more serious, pushing on each other harder, lines are drawn in the sand. All together, this is one of my more favorite books in the series.

Narration: James Marsters continues to give this series a fine performance. I greatly enjoyed his voice for Thomas especially when Thomas is putting on a fake French accent. His ghoulish voices sound just as demented, wet, slurred, and deceitful as I imagined they would. Once again, he does a very convincing seductive and charming Lara Wraith.

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review 2016-06-11 16:47
White Night (The Dresden Files, #9) by Jim Butcher
White Night: The Dresden Files, Book 9 - Jim Butcher

This volume was high on magic, but low on detective work which wasn't the best trade-off; however the action and characters helped to re-balance the scales. Murphy was particularly awesome in this installment as was Harry's brother, Thomas. Molly got on my nerves a bit with her complete disregard for how her actions impacted others. She's learning though, as was evidenced by her growth towards the end. I really liked Ramirez too. When he called Dresden out on his sketchy behaviour, I expected the worst, and he surprised me. Lasciel's plot thread was another aspect that caught me off guard as well. Ooh, and MOUSE! And, here I was thinking that *I* had the best dog in the world. WHITE NIGHT definitely had a lot to offer, and I can't wait to discover what mischief Harry & co get into next.

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review 2016-01-25 18:28
White Night - Jim Butcher

Continues story of Dresden's struggle to prevent an all out war between vampire clans and humans. Dresden is a fully-developed character by now that garners interest no matter what situation he is in. I sense this series is heading for a jaw-dropping turn soon.

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2015-12-13 18:03
My Dresden love saga continues...
Dead Beat - Jim Butcher
Proven Guilty - Jim Butcher
White Night - Jim Butcher
Small Favor - Jim Butcher

Lately I've been caught in some type of Jim Butcher fever dream.

 

After finding the first 6 installments of Harry Dresden to range from okay to mostly enjoyable, book 7 came a long and hooked me like a series hasn't in a really long time. And it's a good, good feeling.

 

For me, I think Harry's slow transition from a lonely, shy and intensely private person to a lonely, shy, intensely private person with friends stepped up Butcher's story telling game. What was once witty and humorous dialogue with intelligent sleuthing and awesome action becomes EXTRA brilliant with all the added heart of Thomas, Mouse, et al.

 

And for me, all of Harry's wisdom resonates more genuinely because of those relationships. Self-reflection can only get you so far - sometimes you need someone to point out your blind spots. I found Harry to be insufferably self-recriminating in several of the first books. The broader inclusion of several characters, and his growing relationships, meant that SOMEONE could tell Harry to get over himself already. Huzz-freaking-ah.

 

I'm going to include some favorite quotes here because I highlighted the snot out of these books and what else am I gonna do with that effort?

 

 

 

“Listen to me,” I snarled. “We are not going to die!”

Butters stared up at me, pale, his eyes terrified. “We’re not?”

“No. And do you know why?” He shook his head. “Because Thomas is too pretty to die. And because I’m too stubborn to die.” I hauled on the shirt even harder. “And most of all because tomorrow is Oktoberfest, Butters, and polka will never die.” (Dead Beat)

 

“Then what’s the point?” I snarled, suddenly furious. My voice bounced around the chapel in rasping echoes. “What good is it to have power enough to kill my friend’s family, but not power enough to protect them? What the hell do you expect from me? I’ve got to make these stupid choices. What the hell am I supposed to do with them?” “Sometimes,” he replied, his tone serious, “you just have to have faith.”

I laughed, and it came out loud and bitter. Mocking echoes of it drifted through the vast chamber. “Faith,” I said. “Faith in what?”

“That things will unfold as they are meant to,”  Father Forthill said. “That even in the face of an immediate ugliness, the greater picture will resolve into something all the more beautiful.

 

He finished off the little flask and then rose. He put it away and put his collar back on. “I’m afraid I’m not the one you should ask.” He put a hand on my shoulder and nodded toward the altar. “But I will say this: I’ve been on this earth a fair while, and one way or another, this too shall pass. I have seen worse things reverse themselves. There is yet hope for Molly, Harry. We must strive to do our utmost, and to act with wisdom and compassion. But we must also have faith that the things beyond our control are not beyond His.” (Proven Guilty)

 

 

  We still hadn’t learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you’re just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something. Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, 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. (White Knight)

 

Fucking terrifying, that’s what. So terrifying that I couldn’t summon up a single wiseass comment, and that just doesn’t happen to me.(Small Favor)

 

 

One of the coolest things the Dresden Files in general is that flawed Harry and his cast of flawed characters strengths are proven in very different ways when they come together to defeat the bad guys, and it wasn't until well into the 9th or 10th book that I saw all these incidental events and characters working their way into some larger story arc. I kind of got chills once I fell into that realization. This isn't some random story telling with no real reason for setting up a time and place. Butcher wasn't sitting around going "what kind of trouble can I create for Harry in this book?".  This is actually going places and with each installment a piece of the bigger puzzle. 

 

Butters shook his head. "You are a rare kind of crazy, man." (Turn Coat)

 

Hell's Bells, Harry certainly is and I'm loving it.

 

 

On a personal funny (and probably creepy, but I try not to think about that too much) note,  Jim Butcher is purportedly from/living in my general vicinity. Of course, I have no real idea if he actually is around town, but last weekend I might have spent a few extra minutes making sure I looked decent on our trip to the bookseller and other places. I might have insisted we go to the bookstore one town over. Just in case, you know, a random photo opportunity would arise. I might have stuck a book in my bag with a sharpie.

I might of caught some serious fan girl sickness. I said fever-dream, right?

 

The good news is that I've given up random sightings/stalking and decided to look for an event next year to get a couple sigs. Much saner. I'm very proud of my personal growth. (I might of actually realized I probably wouldn't recognize him since he doesn't, probably, wear a name tag).

 

 

 

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