I know I own a ton of double posts, but I’m having an AWFUL time getting my hands on these books (thus why I put off this review, I JUST got Blood Rites yesterday after having it on request for a week, and I still haven’t heard back on the next). I’m going to go ahead and post Blood Rites on Tuesday in HOPES I get the next one and I can start steam rolling… But no promises.
On to the actual book you all came to read about. Death Masks picks up with Harry receiving both a job and a duel in the same day. One concerns the famous Shroud of Christ, an artifact that even if it doesn’t have magical properties already, simply by power of belief, it is one big bad magical item. The other is of course about the ongoing wizard/vampire war. Which also brings Susan back into Harry’s life. As if that isn’t enough drama, there is also a prophecy about Harry dying that even has his own allies working against him. Can’t this poor wizard catch a break?
Not if Butcher wants to maintain his plot style. I’m not sure if its a case of me getting used to it or it smoothing out, but the sheer amount of STUFF he has going on is slowly becoming less exhausting for me to wade through and keep up with. It helps that he’s focusing on particular elements and fleshing them out right now rather than going off in random directions (hello, Summer Knight). There are times where the setting is lost in this one and he really relies on the reader having an image in their head already for what things look like. It isn’t so bad that I want to bash him over the head with it, but at times I wished he would go into a little more detail so the characters aren’t just floating around in my head like actors with bad stage pieces.
Character wise, I was much happier with this novel. Marcone got some much needed fleshing out, which makes me like that character just even more. (…I like the cold ones who will do anything for what they perceive as being the right reasons, okay?) I hope we continue to see him, and I really would like to see what that ending evolves into…or at least, it better evolve or I shall throw a hissy fit. Murphy was hysterical in parts, providing much needed giggles even if we didn’t see much of her in this one. Same with Thomas who is such a strange little vampire and I love it. For her part, Susan has actually become a better character. I can’t say I l like her yet, but I can at least stand her, which is better than what it was.
And on a bigger note… The sexualization of every female character was less in the face, though it did pop up occasionally. It was also the sort that I could rationalize as being part of the male character thought process (since I don’t write in male point of view very often, it seems likely). Harry’s weird sense of what Butcher calls chivalry (though it isn’t, it’s a distorted MEANING of the word) came around to bite him in the butt, which I think is also part of what made it sit better with me this time around. And not in the, “Oh, I’m going to help someone because I have to because they are female,” sort of way, but actually, “You are going to be that stupid, fine. I will GLADLY take advantage of you treating me like some fragile little flower,” way on the girl’s part. I actually give him a pass on female characters this time. Now let’s see if he can keep it up.
The only thing that I have to nitpick is something so minor, I hesitate to bring it up. But really, I kinda have to. With every other title, I’ve gotten it and understood what it had to do with the book. This one… I have no idea, or at least no SOLID one. Sitting here writing this review, I started wondering if it was talking about the silver coins, but now I’m thinking not. Usually the title is also mentioned somewhere in the book, so did I miss it on my read through? Comment and let me know your thoughts, and I’ll see you Tuesday!