Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Once I started reading Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files book, Ghost Story, I threatened to stay home from work and finish it. It's a story that Harry Dresden fans have been waiting to read. What happened to Harry after he was shot and fell off the boat and drowned?

Harry Dresden wants the answer to that question as well. He had finally had a chance to escape after rescuing his daughter from the Red Court, when someone shot him. As a ghost, he's almost run over by a train when a long-dead acquaintance saves him, telling him he's "In between." He's offered a choice. Since the bad guys cheated to kill him, he can go back and find his killer. But, he has to go back as a spirit with no magic, and most people won't be able to see or hear him. Oh, and if he doesn't go back and find his killer, three people he loves will come to great harm. Some choice.

This is Harry Dresden we're talking about, a wizard who always fought on the side of good. He arrives back in Chicago to find his friends trying to defend his beloved city against forces of evil who grew more powerful following Harry's death, and the destruction of the Red Court. Six months have passed, to Harry's shock, and his friends are besieged from all sides. Harry used to call himself the only wizard in the Chicago Yellow Pages. Now, he says, "Maybe I should make it my new slogan: Harry Dresden - I take responsibility for more impossible situations in the first twenty-four hours of being dead than most people do all day." Ghosts and other evil forces are threatening Harry's friends, and Chicago. He plans to take control.

Butcher's Ghost Story is a fascinating peek into Harry's past, his memories, his regrets, and the man he became. It's a powerful story of change, in Harry, and in other characters. It's still a story of good vs. evil, but it's a story that questions the decisions people make.

And, my advice to anyone starting Ghost Story? Start reading it when you can stay home and finish the book.

Jim Butcher's website is

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. ROC (Penguin Group, USA). ©2011. ISBN 9780451463791 (hardcover), 481p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Liz V. said...

Seems I need to start at the series' beginning?

Lesa said...

Yes, Liz. If you're going to read these, you do need to start at the beginning. Too much backstory.

Dan said...

Having been a late arrival to the Dresden Files myself, I can't recommend it more, starting from the beginning. "Changes", the previous book to "Ghost Story" was my first "new" book in the series once I had caught up on the previous 11 books.

The whole series is excellent and I find Jim Butchers humor just too much fun. My girlfriend just laughs as she hears me chuckle as I'm reading, or even having to set the book down to just laugh and share the latest Harry quip.

As for staying home, hehe, that or don't plan on getting much sleep that night before work that you do start reading it.

Thanks for the review Lesa!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Dan. I hope I didn't spoil any of Ghost Story for you. Terrific book, but, then, they all are, aren't they? I agree with you. I love Harry's sense of humor. The books wouldn't be as good without that.

Dan said...

Spoil? Oh no, the curse of being a fast reader, I finished it not long after it arrived in my mailbox! hehe... already waiting for "Cold Days!"

I tend to exhaust an author when I find one, so probably onto the Codex Alera series by Jim after putting the latest Mercy Thompson/Patricia Briggs to bed. :)

Lesa said...

Good to hear, Dan. I hate to write a spoiler, but it was hard to write about Ghost Story without acknowledging Harry's death. If someone isn't that far in the series, it's too late.

My nephew really liked the Codex Alera series, and from the comments at the back of Butcher's books, it sounds as if that's the series he prefers.