Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (Flash Impression)

Happy Wednesday!

This is the beginning of this new series I’ve decided to do about the Dresden Files Series.  Normally book reviews are this blog’s bread and butter however whenever I considered doing a review of any of these books I kept thinking it’d end up going something like this:

“This book was fantastic.  Everything about it was fantastic. See this single sentence? FANTASTIC!” It would become book reviews via meme.

 

 

However I’m not particularly interested in sucking Butcher’s dick for the next few months (my jaw would get so tired) since I am reading/listening the Dresden Files binge style until I am done.

You maybe wondering why I’ve got this conviction to binge this book series since that hasn’t been my style since the beginning but I have a history with these books; as in my

skin game
Think Ocean’s 11 but as an urban fantasy novel. And Hades. Like the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades. Awesome.

friend Brad has been reading these books since the beginning and since we met he had tried to get me to read these books.  It wasn’t until Skin Game, book 15, that he convinced me to get started.

 

Normally I’m kind of a sequence freak when it comes to series, as in I have to begin from the beginning and progress in order, no exceptions.  I ended up making an exception for this series and it’s lead me to this point.

I tried to get the first books from him but he didn’t know where he had copies of the first two books so he just lent me the next book that was laying in his car (“Ghost Story” [book 13] maybe?) which was another book somewhere in the middle of the series and it went on like this for another few books until we had a falling out and I had other books to read.

Fast forward several years, a couple of moves, and many books later to now where I share an audible account with my boyfriend who has the entire Dresden Files collection sans the first two books, Storm Front and Fool Moon (of which I have non-audiobook versions).  I read Storm Front a while ago and am currently reading Fool Moon whilst I was listening to Grave Peril which is where I will be beginning this series (Grave Peril, that is). BTW SPOILERS AHEAD.

Grave_Peril
Book 3 of The Dresden Files

In Grave Peril there is an interesting form of clairvoyance experienced by one of Dresden’s clients, Lydia, called Cassandra’s Tears(1) which manifests as visions of the future but not knowledge of what precedes or follows the vision which reminds me of my general experience thus far with the Dresden Files series.  I frequently know events that will happen (such that Harry will eliminate the entire Red Court of Vampires which includes his girlfriend in this book, Susan), relationships between characters that haven’t been (as in Thomas, who makes his premier in this book, being Harry’s half-brother) and characters who are series staples who have yet to appear (such as Maus) but have no idea when they happen or how or why.  Right now in the series I exist in a several timelines: I’m currently experiencing the events of book 2 (Fool Moon), I just finished book 3 (Grave Peril), and I just began book 4 (Summer Knight), and as mentioned I’ve read several books in the “future”.

It’s generally accepted that Grave Peril is the “break out” book of the series, as in this is the book where the series takes the shape and sets the tone that will be maintained for the rest of the series.  As I’ve mentioned before this I read book one am reading book two and I can’t entirely place my finger on what’s exactly different about book 3 but I believe it has to do with relationships. Michael, who plays as one of the many counter-balance characters, isn’t present until Grave Peril; Murphy is skeptical but generally supportive, where as in Fool Moon she’s out right hostile towards Harry because she believes he’s a murder; and until the introduction of The Red Court of Vampires in Grave Peril, the first two books feel like they’re lacking a sense of a overarching continuing struggle and are the most “stand alone” feeling books in the series.

Speaking of Cassandra’s Tears and relationships, I think I’m having a unique experience following Harry’s love life with Susan.  For example, I knew going into Grave Peril that Susan becomes a half vampire of The Red Court and that Harry will eventually eliminate the entire Red Court which colours the scene early in the book where Harry tells Susan “I love you” for the first time with a shade of tragedy where as if I was reading the series for the first time in order it’d be a touching scene.  Then later at the end of the book when Harry finds Susan and proposes to her, knowing that she’s going to spend the next several books in Central America, it’s more of a horrorific scene as in “NOO DAMNIT HARRY DON’T DO IT! THIS ISN’T GOING TO END WELL!” and conversely from Susan’s point of view, she must know that she’s pregnant with Harry’s child when she leaves him for Central America due to the age of their child (who becomes a plot point in Changes (book 12) which I know but Harry nor the sequential reader knows.

I am aware of the concept of Harry and company “leveling up” as the series progresses which I believe happens for the first time in this book (I don’t remember Harry experiencing/acquiring anything that enables him to “level up”, but I could be wrong so feel free to correct me in the comments) when he absorbs the powers of the Nightmare which enables Dresden to enact one of the most fuckinsg badass climaxes of the series to memory, disturbing generations of vampire victims rising against in a fury of rage and sound and spirit to reap vengeance on the present members of the Red Court.

That’s all for my flash impression of Grave Peril.  Future flash impressions on the remaining Dresden Files books will be shorter because I won’t be explaining how I got to this point and why I’m doing this.

Tune in next week for my flash impression of Summer Knight.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. “Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy, but was also cursed by the god Apollo so that her accurate prophecies would not be believed.” (source: wiki Cassandra – Gift of Prophecy)

 

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Who I Am and What I’m Here For

Hey guys! Welcome to my Tuesday column on Offbeat On Point! This is my first post and I’m on somewhat shaky ground here, so bear with me.

My name is Brad Evans. Well, actually, no it isn’t, but that’s the moniker I’ll be using here. I am a long-time friend of Fin Louie; we’ve been kicking it off and on for the last 10 years. We share a lot of common interests, but our personalities are like Yin and Yang. Where I am casual he can get intense, and vice-versa. Where he is actively bold, I am passively reserved; but don’t let that fool you, there’s a lot going on in my head.

yinyang

I’ve been keeping up with his posts here for a while now and asked about a month ago if he could use a co-editor. The rest, as they say, is history.

A few things about me:

  1. I am a young man in my twenties living in St. Louis, and a student of Creative Writing at Webster University.
  2. When I was eighteen, I took a break from school, and didn’t go back for quite some time. While I was out I had a variety of adventures. I went to music festivals. I had two apartments and Fin and I even shared a house at one point. I quarreled with friends, lost some and made some more. I was a General Manager of a restaurant, and various other adventures.
  3. I am a voracious consumer of fantasy and science fiction.
  4. I play video games on Xbox One; currently I’m on Fifa 17 and OverWatch. They are like crack to me.

That’s just for starters. I feel like this is also a good representation of who I am as a person: recently I had a birthday, and what I did for fun was to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which was phenomenal by the way) and then read about 100 pages of a graphic novel. I also spent a lot of time with friends and family, but the peaceful nerdy stuff is what I really liked. To me, that was an excellent birthday.

Here’s what I’m going to be bringing to this blog:

Tuesdays I will be posting thoughts about literature I have consumed.

Saturdays I will be posting literature I have created. Short stories and poetry and the like.

I doubt if either of these columns will be regular events. Sporadic, at best, really. But for the immediate future I have a few poems to share on Saturdays, and a whole list of books to read/review this summer. A few months ago I discovered a love for audiobooks, and I will be reviewing those as well: not just for the content but for the ability of the narrator to do it justice.

We have plans in the works for a “Sunday Round-up” type of post, conveniently summarizing all the week’s new material. This is still a tentative plan, though, so don’t look for it right away.

Here’s some of the material I have lined up to review:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This book comes highly recommended by just about everyone and I’m looking forward to getting into it.

The Road

The Dresden Files graphic novels. DF has been a favorite book series for a long time; I have read every book at least three times, and recently laid hands on an omnibus of the first two books in graphic novel form. So far, it’s amazing, but also flawed and I’ll get into that in a future review.dresden graphic novel

The audiobooks of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Two books I consider modern classics, in audiobook form.

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The audiobook of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Less classic and less artfully written, but still a fun read: does the audiobook hold up?

Ready Player One

The audiobook of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Widely considered a modern classic, this book is now being made into a television series being broadcast on Starz in America and Amazon Prime in the UK. I’ve read it before, but the audiobook is FULLY CASTED – meaning a different voice actor for each character. That’s different than any other book I’ve listened to so far, and I’m intrigued at that prospect.

American Gods

Novels from an author I have not read before but who comes highly recommended by a professor at my university: China Mieville. I have Embassy Town, The City and the City, and Perdido Street Station lined up for summer reading. May as well talk about them, too, right?

And that’s just what I’ve come up with so far, but like I said my posts might be sporadic. I’m doing this for the enjoyment of it and don’t want this to become like a job with deadlines that I’m racing to meet. All the same, I’m looking forward to getting started around here.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

-Brad Evans