Grave Peril by Jim Butcher 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Numero tres! All right, so here’s where the series starts to get a little better. Though I still give this a 3.5 Stars, it was almost a true 4 (It reaches toward that 4 Stars when you realize how it fits in the series as whole). There some stronger writing and the plot has more weight to it. And what I really mean by that is that there are some real consequences to take into account at the end of it all.
I’ve mentioned before that these first few books are the stepping stones to something greater. And this is the book that marks the accession to something greater to come in, what I think, is probably the clearest way.
So what do we get in Grave Peril? The story itself. Let’s see, some ghost, nightmares, killer vampires, and somewhat terrifying fairy godmothers. So cool and cool. Shit is going down! There is a lot that goes in this book, but the pacing is well done so it never gets too overwhelming.
Then there is Susan, who really makes an impression in this one. We find out what she’s really like and what she means to Dresden. There is also an introduction to Michael (A Holy Friggin’ Knight) and Thomas (Sex Vampire [incubus] of the White Court), both of whom are well thought out characters. Even Murphy becomes better in this book. But if I’m honest, her being better than she was in the last book doesn’t take much.
However, Dresden does seem to be making a habit of falling and failing and being completely spent until the last moment where he can come back and win the day. Grave Peril sort of suffers from this more than the other books in the series because some of his power is ‘stolen’ from him. It was sort of an eye rolling moment for me, but maybe that was because I knew there was a book 4-15 following this installment, meaning Mr. Wizard Man Dresden ain’t about to be losing his powers forever. I think this book came out in like 2001, so that is my fault for not having read it 15 years ago.
(Holy crap, I’m old enough to say 15 years ago and it not mean I was some diaper wielding maniac [aka baby/toddler]. Though, in my defense, I probably was still too young to be reading the Dresden Files. Sigh…)
Anyways, yeah. This book is good. I liked it quite a bit. And I was quite looking forward to Summer Knight (Book 4) at the end of this one.
So I’ve read some comments and reviews regarding Butcher’s description of women throughout the series. They’re all sexy women with clothing that hugs their breast and yada yada yada yada. Basically, they’re good looking ladies who amount to sexual objects first and actual characters second. This is a fair assessment of Butcher’s portrayal of women. Practically every woman he ever meets is one suggestive wink away from making Dresden jizz his pants. I get why lady readers could be annoyed by this. And I would be lying if I, a straight male, said it didn’t annoy me sometimes. However, I also think its not entirely that far fetched that someone like Dresden would look at women this way. Yeah, it is sort of dumb, but Harry Dresden is sort of dumb too. I think when it’s looked at through that sort of lens, it is easier to accept. But I get it. Really I do. And I’d like to say it gets better as the series goes on, but it really doesn’t.
But if you can power through those small bits, the rest is still worth the read.
Till next time!