Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bastard Reaction: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Ghost Story has to be this year's most anticipated Urban Fantasy novel, particularly after the excellent Changes and the cliffhanger ending it had. The bar had been set quite high and it seems like the consensus is that Ghost Story fell short. How short is where most disagree on.

Ghost Story is the thirteenth installment in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, featuring one of the most awesome characters out there, Harry Dresden. Harry is my Jack Bauer of fiction literature; and we know Jack Bauer is god. After some concerns of whether Borders was going to ship me my pre-ordered book, it finally arrived late last week and spent two nights finishing it up. Regardless of your opinion on the book, it's apparent that it's still quite a page turner.

But once one finishes up reading Ghost Story, it's evident that the book was sub-par in The Dresden Files sequence. Part of the problem is that Butcher looked like he was very conscious of new readers and he was on recap mode on steroids throughout the whole novel, which surely drove fans of the series nuts. In a similar nature, the pacing was out of whack throughout the book due to too many back story and flashback scenes and the already mentioned recaps. But given the nature of ghosts in the book, it makes sense for these types of things to occur, though they still disrupt the energy and momentum of the book. While these were problematic, the book specific plot was not that engaging or interesting, so it created a perfect negative storm.

Those issues aside, I really enjoyed the book. The worst Dresden book to me is still much better than most Urban Fantasy novels I read, so while disappointed by the book not reaching the standards I come to expect of a Dresden novel, it's was still a very good read for me, and it's still one of my favorite Urban Fantasy reads this year.

Ghost Story was by enlarge and large a very introspective book as such, the wide awesome cast of characters of this universe get the short end of the stick in scene appearances, which will add to the disappointment to many. Still some minor characters stepped up to the stage and will surely become favorites to some. It balances out. Ghost Story is also clearly a new stage setter, a bridge novel, to what one can consider the second act of the series. As such, it felt like the second book of a trilogy, and those always seem to be the toughest to write and are often the weakest of the books.

The Dresden Files has always been to me about having Harry Dresden as a narrator and it was still an enjoyable read, though expect many mixed reactions to the book. Even so, the stage has be set and now I'm very much looking forward to what comes next, Harry is back and it'll be interesting to see how his recent experiences are going to shape his behavior going forward. Next book in the series is apparently titled Cold Days coming out next year. New allies and enemies have been made, questions of trust are about, lots of mysteries still left undiscovered to us the readers, and Harry is here to kick some ass.

Now putting my fangirl hat on for moment, Harry + Murphy or Harry + Molly? Who you got? I don't know about you, even though I'm a big fan of Murphy, I kinda dig the HairyMole.

Here are some reviews that might be of interest:
Mad Hatter's Bookshelf & Book Reviews
Mihir from Fantasy Book Critic on Goodreads

Where to buy:
Ghost Story Hardcover from The Book Depository

Get more info on the series and author on Jim Butcher's website.

And lastly make sure to check out this interview from Patrick Rothfuss of The Name of the Wind fame to Jim Butcher, it's a very good one, though it contains some spoilers from Changes, so you're warned:

1 comment:

  1. I hear what you're saying with regard to the flashbacks. As a die-hard fan (I named my parakeet Harry Dresden) I really enjoyed getting a taste of Harry's past. In fact, I wish Jim Butcher could write a series of books--or even novellas on Harry's life as a teen. A few graphic novels might even be cool, too. And I'd like them to take place when he tries to escape from Justin and his time with Ebenezer. We all love Harry the adult. I'd like to know Harry the teen and how he grew into that hero we root for every time Jim Butcher strikes him down. I loved the emotion behind Ghost Story. When Molly sees him with her SIGHT, and he proves to her it's really him by quoting Star Wars, I laughed through my tears. It also killed me when Murph finally accepted his passing. As far as who I see Harry more with? Murphy seems a more likely candidate. As much as I adore Molly, I don't know if Harry can get past seeing her as more than his good friend's daughter.


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