Tuesday, December 20, 2016

REVIEW: White Night

White Night
Author: Jim Butcher

My husband has been bugging me to hurry and catch up with the Dresden Series. Our reading styles are different. I take an established urban fantasy series and enjoy it slowly, reading one book at a time and not hurrying through to the end. I read one Dresden novel and then take a break for awhile, moving on to Kevin Hearne, Simon Green & other fantasy writers before meandering back for another dose of Dresden.

This drives my husband insane. He is vikingesque in his reading.....he finds a series he loves and battles through to conquer it like a warrior to the very final word, then waits with bated breath for a new book. Sometimes this bites him in the butt. George R. R. Martin and the long winter between Game of Thrones novels is an example of butt-biting incidents for my husband. Whereas, until there is an established publication date for the next GRRM book, I'm going to happily remain a book behind in the GOT series. When I can pre-order the new book, I will read A Dance With Dragons. The Song of Ice and Fire is paused for me. I refuse to be left hanging.

So...I digress. Back to Dresden.

I just finished Book 9 of the 15 Dresden books. White Night was an enjoyable read. Dresden was his usual wizardly self. Bob is still a perv. Cop sidekick Murphy continues to kick ass. Mouse is beyond awesome in his huge doggie way. And Thomas is still a mysterious character that seems untrustworthy and loveable at the same time. White Night was a lovely, humor filled, enjoyable romp through Dresden's world.

I wasn't quite sure what to write in my review, until I read a few reviews left by other readers. Many voiced complaints that Dresden plots are similar and the character doesn't change much, etc.

If I read the books one after another with no break, I might feel the same way. The characters are pretty set in their particular idioms, but as I take a pretty lengthy break between each book (Again, I refuse to be left hanging, and there is no pub date for Book 16 Peace Talks....and Butcher took a break to write book one of a new steampunk series a couple years ago. I'm not catching up to the end anytime soon only to be left waiting for months and months for the next book. I'm impatient. So spreading it out to last until I see a pre-order button for Peace Talks.) I don't notice as much that the plots don't vary a lot. I read one book....then move on to other series for awhile before I return to the Chicago Wizard-For-Hire. There are changes ahead for Dresden - I know this because my husband sometimes slips with spoilers. So, I'm not too worried about the characters being in a rut or the repetitive plots with wizard council disagreements, vampires, ghouls and the like. My best advice for those who find the series getting stale.....either read to the end and enjoy the break before the next book. Or, do what I do and read slowly.....then the plots seem fresher and less recycled.

White Night opens with Harry and Murphy investigating the deaths of several practitioners of magic. All are lesser magic users. Some have disappeared and others appear to have committed suicide. But Harry notices messages left for him at some of the death scenes and knows these were not suicides. The evidence points to Harry's half brother, Thomas, being a murderer. Harry wants to clear his brother's name and jumps headlong into an investigation that will reveal corruption, danger and a power struggle within the White Council.

For new readers, it is pretty important to read the series in order. Go back to the beginning and start with Storm Front. For established Dresden fans, White Night is another visit to the shitty wizards in the Council and their penchant for wickedly plotting all sorts of nasty things. But even with that being a recurring theme, this installment in the series was filled with action and magic, even if isn't anything really new.

I highly recommend the Dresden series for anyone who likes urban fantasy or steampunk. The mix of humor, magic and the supernatural makes for an enjoyable read!

I'm moving on to book 10, Small Favor, to placate my husband. He's happy the closer I get to catching up with this series so he can talk about it with me. :) I will be more apt to inch closer to book 15 when I see that Peace Talks has a set publication date. I'm not going to complain about the wait -- Jim had a bit of an upheaval in his personal life that put his writing on hold for a bit. Divorce, meeting someone new, getting remarried......it's understandable that Peace Talks went on hold for awhile to give him time to regroup and enjoy his new marriage.

As an aside, Jim's new steampunk series, The Cinder Spires, is outstanding. Book one, The Aeronaut's Windlass, came out in 2015 and is well worth a read for those waiting for the next Dresden book.

To learn more about Jim Butcher and his books, check out his website here.

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