The Dresden Files have taken the genre of paranormal mystery to a new level of action, excitement, and hard-hitting magical muscle. Now, in Death Masks, Jim Butcher’s smart-guy private eye may have taken on more than he ever wanted to handle.
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But he also knows that whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad. Such as:
A duel with the lethal champion of the Red Court, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards.
Professional hit men using Harry for target practice.
The missing Shroud of Turin—and the possible involvement of Chicago's most feared mob boss.
A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified.
Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life. Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.
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Learning More about Harry
Butcher is beginning to write stories with his characters, not simply using his characters to unfold the story around them. This book really sets the tone for future installments of the series--an overt theme is threaded throughout that shines through without being preachy or obvious. It's good to know that Butcher can write "life lessons" without coming across as condescending or trite. It makes us want to keep reading more of his work!
This installment is about choice, free will, and personal motivation. It's about "why we do the things we do". For Harry, it's about owning up to his own decisions regarding his methods and his life path. He is placed in several situations where he has to reach deep inside and make hard moral decisions. And we, as listeners, are vicariously connected to his ethical quandaries. Butcher doesn't shy away from debating religion and values, and he touches on them with dignity, honesty, and balance.
Perhaps the most striking scene is toward the end, where Harry must decide between actions that are right on the one hand, or justified on the other. We feel his quandary, his angst, and his confusion. We learn along with him what it means to be a better person.
Marsters really reaches some new depths in this one, viscerally performing Harry's doubts and inner turmoil. Marsters has a way with voices, each distinct and believable, and his pacing choices are spot on. Listening to him is joy and a pleasure.
Another good one! Well done!
Death Mask (Butcher in general)
I'm a huge fan of Butcher. I really like his Codex series (book 1 Furies of Calderon). This book does tie a lot together and really pull many past characters in to lead to more stories later on. However, I would like to know why book six isn't in audio format yet. It does seem odd that it is in the exact middle of the series and not done yet.
Also, I happen to very much like how these are read, James Marsters does a great job of pulling in the sarcasm and dark humor of Dresden and irration from the other characters. Its a well though out stuctured story where magic isn't just real, but makes a kind of sense and doesn't just go off into the "well you can do this with magic, but not that" with no explaination.
Thank god Penguin audio picked this up
I swear - the difference between having to suffer through the last 4 books with some pretty nasty mouth noises would have turned me away, of course I couldnt because it really is a pretty awesome series - but when I started up book 5 and heard that it was a different audio production company I held my breath and prayed to the lords of quailty audio books... I was beyond thrilled when I didnt hear James Marsters every single throat click.....