Okay, next weeks posts are confirmed! Ugh, finally, things are starting to straight out. (Including my office, maybe I can actually be unpacked before Halloween… *eyeroll*)
Dead Beat picks up a year after Blood Rites (such an awkward time skip…), with Thomas and Harry having a little bit of a struggle with their current living situation. They don’t have much time to worry about it, though. Someone is blackmailing Harry in order to get their hands on a very particular book. One that’s drawing every necromancer worth their salt to Chicago for one special Halloween. Harry isn’t strong enough to face them on his own, but with the White Council busy with the vampire war, who will he be able to turn to for help?
After the last book’s collosal fail, this one sat a little easier for me. Most of the cast of characters were new or some people we hadn’t heard from in a while (why hello Morgan, aren’t you still a buttmunch?), but they were focused enough that it wasn’t too tricky keeping them and their goals separated. The ones I really had trouble with were Cowl and Corspetaker, mostly because both were C names, both had a minion, and that just made telling them apart difficult in a conversation unless the minion was also mentioned or they were present and one of their physical tags were used. Not that they HAD many physical tags, especially once Dresden started using male pronouns for Corpsetaker despite “his” habit of taking female bodies… But I loved Anastasia, and I’ve been discussing theories on alter-Harry with my best friend since I got to that part of the book.
Butcher relied a lot on multiple villains in this book, like he has in previous ones, but this time he gave all of them a centralized goal with each of them just being out for themselves. It made pacing a lot easier to be honest, and the plot didn’t feel clunky in the slightest, except, well. I thought the mentions of the Erlking were off, and I still don’t know if he jived well in the book’s overall plot. Meh. As if to make up for that, we had some progression with the demon coin. Lord, did we have some progression with the demon coin. And I have mixed feelings about Lash right now. On one hand, I think she is a handy tool. on the other, I think he needs to be careful not to rely on her. I guess I agree with Alter-Harry, which is weird since as a reader, I don’t like him. As a writer, I don’t like him either but that’s because he doesn’t serve a real PURPOSE yet. Butcher hasn’t done enough with him to explain how Harry can meet this alter. (And being a wizard doesn’t explain it, not when Harry doesn’t know what’s going on either.)
I found myself siding with Thomas a lot in this book, which was weird at first until I figured out what was going on. Thomas got more than his fair share of the common sense (which Harry is lacking in a bit), and then I also figured out that he is being himself and thus smarter than he has appeared in the earlier books. I feel like this brother dynamic thing is going to be slowly building up…or at least I hope it does. If Harry can remember Thomas’s rather elegant way of showing what a vampire’s Hunger feels like. Another character I liked the build up for was Shelia. I know, that sounds weird. She should bother me. She is portrayed very sexy. But that’s the thing. It isn’t the only part of her character that Butcher focuses on. Is it a component? Yes. But it didn’t beat me over the head with it (too badly). If anything, her sheer pushiness set off just the right alarm bells that she should have been ringing. Her reveal was the closest I came to being surprised by a Dresden book (and that takes some doing now that I’ve read this many on top of my training).
I had my moment of iffiness, but I think was more a matter of personal taste this time. I’ve never gotten into the big zombie craze, not even a little. (But I like vampires, I make NO sense sometimes, sorry.) So the final battle was all sorts of iffy for me except for the parts with Anastasia (because she’s my new favorite) and Sue. Sue was also what about threw me out of the book because seriously, holy crap on a cracker. But it was so silly and ridiculous, I giggled and kept right on going. Because what else can you do with that? I might need to reread the ending with Bob, just because I think I didn’t absorb the content well enough on the first read through to really piece together what all happened.
Overall, a much better book. I didn’t even miss Murphy too much. Now, what am I getting into with Proven Guilty?