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Monday, September 10, 2007

Grave Peril

***** Grave Peril by Jim Butcher. Contemporary fantasy. Audio. Re-read.

I've had this one since it was released, too (July, 2005). We listened to it on our trip to Italy.

Something has stirred up the ghosts in Chicago, weakened the barrier between the Nevernever and the real world, and it's up to practicing wizard Harry Dresden (he's in the book) to stop it.

He gets help from his pal Lieutenant Murphy of Special Investigations, and Bob the skull. Grave Peril also marks the introduction of two major characters: Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross, and Thomas Raith, scion of the vampire white court.

And since this is the audiobook, that means it's read by James Marsters, whose voice and acting talents are a perfect match for Jim Butcher's words. Even after the (regrettably short-lived) television series, I'm much more likely to hear Marsters's voice for the characters when I'm reading than I am the actors from the show, particularly for Bob the skull.

At the beginning of the audiobook, there's a short welcome from Jim Butcher, in which he calls Grave Peril a milestone in the series. I'm not exactly sure what he means, but maybe it's the layers. There's not just one straightforward plot in Grave Peril--the Ghostbusters one--there's also a vampire ball, which Harry's obliged to attend as a representative of the White Council of wizards, and which his girlfriend Susan, reporter for the Arcane, is determined to attend, regardless of the dangers. Harry's fairy godmother (literally, as it happens) shows up. Michael's wife Charity gives birth to a baby whose survival chances are slim. And there's a lot of emotional impact between Harry and Susan, and Harry and Michael, and Michael and Charity.

It's a very complete and satisfying story, and illustrates perfectly why I love Jim's work so much--humor that makes me laugh aloud, exciting and clearly-written action (I can't rave about that too much--most action scenes are just confusing blurs to me--it's the lack of a Y chromosome, no doubt), edge-of-my-seat suspense that keeps me turning pages way past my bedtime, an emotional kick that puts tears in my eyes or a lump in my throat, and a wonderful little intellectual buzz that comes from knowing that the clues are all there to figure out what's going on behind the scenes. Oh, and the thoroughly realistic fantasy world.


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I've never actually listened to a book on audio. I'm not sure how that would work out for me. Love Jim Butcher, though.
I don't often listen to audiobooks, either. I make an exception to these because it's Jim Butcher and James Marsters.

There are free preview chapters on the Buzzy site (click on the title), so you can hear how it sounds, to see if you're interested.
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