Ghost Story

51PeXmFimqLThis has been a long time coming. Sure, I’m not yet caught up on the Dresden Files, but I no longer feel spoiled for them. So, hooray! That said, I have to figure out how to write this review without spoiling anyone else[1], which I’ll admit is easier said than done.

Ghost Story picks up after the perfectly named Changes, which I understand to be the midpoint of the series, and it focuses on one of the changes that occurred in Harry Dresden’s life over the course of that book. Arguably, the most minor change, certainly next to last. But still, it was a pretty big change, right? So, spoilers follow this paragraph / reside below the cut.

[1] Ha ha, joke’s on me, everyone has already read this book. Who am I fooling?

Here’s the thing. Harry got shot by a sniper, and to all appearances died. Those appearances are very much confirmed when he starts narration in the newest book. And not a chapter or two goes by before he’s offered the chance to solve his own murder and (more importantly) keep his friends in Chicago safe. So of course he goes back, all spookified and intangible, and tries to figure out how to do any of that when nobody can see him or hear him and he has no magic to draw on. Because, you know, dead, right?

But all of that is just being a novel of the Dresden Files. It appears to be a bigger stumbling block than usual, but is it really? At the least, it’s only a difference of degree, not type. Harry faces and defeats implausible odds constantly, and it’s no secret that I’m still three books behind in the series.[2] No, what I loved about this one was the consequences of everything he did last book. (These are a bunch more spoilers, but you’re reading down here, right?)

He single-handedly and without any warning wiped out the Red Court (one of the vampire teams, of which there’s now only one left I think?), leaving a massive power vacuum. New things and groups are flexing their muscles, attacking anyone anywhere they can think of, and the White Council (the wizards, yo) is as usual not up to the task of defending anything except their own interests. It’s nice to think Harry alive could have made a difference, but I don’t buy it. The truth is that sometimes detente or even open war between two powerful enemies is safer than the uncertainty¬†of who’s been lurking in the corners, waiting. And without going into too many details, he left his friends in nearly as much disarray as he left the world.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. Because there’s a lot of cleaning up to be done. If it’s Harry, back and stronger than ever, he’s got his own consequences to face. If it’s someone else picking up the mantle, they’ve got mighty big shoes to fill. Either way, Butcher has done a good job of raising the stakes by increments as time has gone by, and there’s no denying that the stakes have never been higher.

And we have a long way to go.

[2] To be fair, even if he ends up for real dead and everything goes to hell, I’d be saying the same thing up there, because it’s all true. The part where he got shot and killed last book is a spoiler, this stuff ain’t, I promise.

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