I bought this book, Ghost Story, some months ago shortly after it came out. But I let it sit and wait. It was hard. But I wanted there to be less of a wait, once I finished it, for the next book.
Tofu & Ghost Story
Don’t look at me like that. I know you’ve done the same thing; Trying to stave off that absence of the next great book in a series by spacing out the books. We’ve all done that. And I had been filling in the ache by re-reading the earlier Dresden Files books.
Jim Butcher once again gave me hours of reading pleasure, with an ending that had me bowing my head to the master writer. The book was well thought out, with everything falling into place at the end, yet leaving enough of the bigger mystery to have me eagerly awaiting the next book.
The Dresden Files is a series of 13 books that chronicle the Chicago wizard Harry Dresden as he battles the forces of evil. Repeatedly. Sometimes getting his ass handed to him. If you haven’t checked these books out, then you most definitely need to turn in a note from a responsible scifi/fantasy reader as to why, along with a schedule delineating how you plan to make up for lost time.
So let me give you the run-down on Ghost Story, without giving away any major bits. (I get extra stars for this). In this installment of Harry’s life, he is interacting with the spirit world on a much closer level than before. Indeed, this turns out to be quite a learning experience for him as he deals with different types of ghosts. Harry has a mystery, indeed, a murder, to solve and he digs up Morty, the ectomancer that we met in an earlier installment. Morty, however, is not too thrilled that Harry needs his help, and he is turned away. Our hero must seek out others to assist him.
While Harry is trying to gain the attention and assistance of Karrin Murphy, The Alphas, and even his apprentice Molly Carpenter, Morty is snatched up by the bad guys. And there are a whole lot of bad guys. And there are some ambivalent allies just to add to the tension. The fall of a major bad guy power at the end of the previous book, Changes, left a power vacuum, that several light weights have tried to fill. All sorts of nasty things have been coming out of the woodwork and snatching your average citizens off the streets of Chicago. Rumors of the Fomor keep popping up – an ancient power that even the Sidhe don’t particularly want to tangle with.
As always, Harry has a lot to do and not much time to do it in. Some of my favorite characters get main roles – Bob the Skull, Butters, Molly. Father Forthill gets a couple of great lines. An evil character from earlier in the series returns to make another sound attempt at ending Harry. It was a great book and I am keeping an eye on Jim Butcher’s site for news of the next book.
As usual, Harry Dresden made reference to several real-life individuals and modern pop-culture, some I recognized and some I didn’t. Cpt. William Wells was killed during the War of 1812 at the Battle of Fort Dearborn – and you can guess that his ghost shows up in this story. Herman Webster Mudgett was a documented serial killer, who did many of his crimes during the 1893 World’s Fair. H. R. Giger is a Swiss surrealist who was the creator for the alien lifeforms in the 1980 classic Alien. According to this dude’s website, he also does interior architecture…..hmm……..And I can’t believe I forgot who Jack Burton was – Kurt Russell’s character in Big Trouble in Little China (1986). I also need to bone up on my WWII history as I missed the Schutzstaffel reference – the SS paramilitary organization of the Nazi party. On top of all that, I learned a new vocabulary word: badinage – banter, joke, and jest.
So, for all those out there that believe that modern fantasy is just for fun, I say it can be a history lesson and a vocabulary builder.