Author: Jim Butcher
Category: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: September 1st, 2001
In the third installment of the Dresden Files ghosts are terrorizing the streets of Chicago and with the Ghost-busters nowhere to be found Harry Dresden is called upon to swing into action.
This was the strongest installment in the series so far. The first half dragged in places as some of the cool secondary characters from previous books were not around (Murphy and Johnny Marcone being the most notable). However the second half of the book picked up in a big way: the vampire ball sequence was probably one of the best parts with the introduction of some really intriguing characters. Not to mention, some cool moments, big revelations about the plot, and an air of tension throughout.
There was some cool world-building in this one with a focus on ghosts. The development of the different vampire courts and faerie were also interesting.
Michael, Harry’s newly introduced sidekick was cool but his random insertion into the series was awkward. It felt like we missed a part of the story. He just seems to appear out of nowhere. Harry’s godmother is a sinister and intriguing villain who provided a sense of danger to the story. Later in the book the introduction of Thomas, a morally ambiguous vampire who forms an uneasy alliance with Harry, was a massive boost to the story and it will be nice to see more of him. He serves as an awesome contrast to Harry’s sometimes self righteous behavior.
I loved how well the story picked up in this one. While I loved Fool Moon, the overall plot and new magic made this one more interesting. New characters and new stakes is making this series get better and better. Bob is still the greatest character ever!
For some reason this book made me realize something: police work stories bore me.
I’ve never been a fan of Law & Order or CSI-type TV shows but I had not realized just how much I did not like them until this book. I realized this because while Fool Moon was had a lot of police work involved in the story Grave Peril had none. And I realized that I liked this book a lot better in large part because of that absence.
Also it seemed like in this book Butcher started hitting his stride with his writing. The exposition-y scenes hit a lot softer and with more subtlety than the last book. It was mixed into an existing conversation rather than it’s own inner-Harry monologue or a not-so-subtle question-answer dialogue.
While the past books have put down a small amount of foundation for an overarching story for this series, this book really got it going. That was a big part of what made this book good to, the problems became bigger than anything in one book could solve.
3 down, 12 to go!