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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

White Night

*****+ White Night by Jim Butcher. Contemporary fantasy. Re-read.

Oh. My. God. You know a book is damn good when you've picked it apart, word by word, you know it inside and out, and it still takes your breath away when you re-read it.

This is the ninth Dresden Files book, and yes, it's White Night, not White Knight or White Nights. Easy way to remember: every single one of the Dresden Files titles is two words, with the same number of letters in each word--which is why Death Masks isn't Holy Sheet.

Anyway. The have-nots of Chicago's magical community--those people with just a bit of power--have been going missing. Several have turned up dead, mostly in apparent suicides. And somebody's left a message with the bodies: Exodus 22:18. Harry Dresden isn't religious, but that's a verse he knows by heart: "suffer not a witch to live."

And what makes things worse, for Harry at least, is that a lot of the missing women were last seen with
either a very handsome man with dark hair or a very tall man in a gray cloak. Wardens of the White Council wear gray cloaks, which makes Harry himself a suspect, and the other man sounds very much like his brother Thomas, who's been secretive about the his new job.

The plot is convoluted, but it makes sense once you get all the pieces, and what's really cool is that it's convoluted because that's the way the people involved do things. It's that level of detail that prompts the + on the five stars. Everything in the book has a reason for being there, usually several reasons.

Harry's still training his new apprentice Molly, and that's got a bunch of layers as well--her strengths fit everything we know about her from previous books, and the effects on Harry show, too. Another reason for the +. It's not just "let's give Harry a teenage girl for a sidekick." It has so much consistency you'd believe they were real people.

Several characters from earlier books show up, ones we haven't seen for a while, and that's fun, and completely plot-driven. No Mouseketeer role calls here.

As you can probably guess from the fact that his brother is a suspect, the emotional intensity is up there. There's also a lot of emotion involved with Harry dealing with anger issues and with Lash, the shadow of a fallen angel who's living in his head. I needed tissues.

There were also plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and dozens of quotable lines, like "
...age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good."

And some very cool special effects, which the TV show will never get a chance to use because it's been canceled, dammit. Ah, well, they probably work better in my head anyway. Stupid SciFi Channel.

One caveat: this is a planned series: 20 books and then a big old apocalyptic trilogy, because who doesn't love apocalyptic trilogies? Which means that even though the books are complete in themselves, there is something going on that's leading to that apocalyptic trilogy. In other words: read the series in order. You'll get more out of it that way.


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Every time I go to buy any of the Dresden books they are gone. I'm going to have to special order the lot of them and have a good sit down read. This sounds awesome.
Okay, I've got to admit it. I've got the first one here and haven't read it yet. (Maybe I ought to offer it to Christine once I do?)

Even the Tour Manager is now reading these books.

I am SO missing out, huh? The whole world is talking about them!
Susan, I have yet read it either. I think there two set of series. So am confusing one to another when seeing them on shelf ;) :)

*wavinging at Darla, hi sweetie!*
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