Review – Ghost Story (Dresden Files, no. 13) by Jim Butcher

Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: 26th July 2011
How I got this book: I bought it

The eagerly awaited new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series.

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…

*Blurb from*

Before you read the review, I must confess that I am a massive Jim Butcher fangirl. I had a high expectation for Ghost Story because Jim had delayed the release date (originally April) to make sure that the final product was up to his satisfaction. I knew he was going to pull something brilliant out of the bag to make up for the delay. If you haven’t read book 1 – 12 and the anthologies, I urge you to do so. For me, this is the best series around! I can also highly recommend Dresden files in audiobooks. I purchased them in audio in preparation for Ghost Story release catch-up sessions. Narrator, James Marsters is a fantastic narrator. I haven’t listened to Ghost Story read by John Glover yet.

This review contains spoilers from previous books in the series.

One of the reasons why I was so obsessed about the Ghost Story release is that Jim killed off Harry at the end of Changes! I mean the protagonist of the story gets murdered and to make sure we knew that Harry wasn’t going to swim out of the water 2 minutes after getting shot, Jim named the next book Ghost Story. I was dying to know what was next for Harry. Apart from Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I can’t remember reading another book from the deceased POV. Changes was epic! How was Jim going to top that?

Ghost Story starts right after Changes when Harry found himself in between worlds, and because of the irregularity of his death, he has a choice to go back to Chicago to solve his own murder or to move on to What Comes Next. He has been warned that if he doesn’t solve the murder, three of his loved ones will come to harm. To put it like that for someone like Harry, there is no choice. He wants to save his friends and family.

When Harry arrived back at Chicago (as a spirit), 6 months have already passed even though it felt like an hour after his death. The story would make more sense if you have read Aftermath (Murphy’s POV), the anthology from Side Jobs. Chicago was snowing even though May belongs to Summer…

Ghost Story, in many ways, is not what I have come to expect of the Dresden Files. Typically, Harry would be a person who would take charge and was extremely knowledgeable in the art of magic. In this book, Harry is essentially a newbie in town. He has to learn what he is capable of again because this time round he has no body i.e. no magic! From being in a center of a fight, Harry has to take a step back and try his best to support his friends. It broke my heart to read some of the scenes especially the ones with Molly, Murphy and Father Forthill.

Rest assured that Harry is not completely invisible; not when he knows the best ectomancer in town! Harry is in the thick of it in no time. Harry is in a reflective mood in this book; he learns the consequences of his past actions in Changes to the world, particularly to his friends. In his absence, Murphy had to do things which were in conflict with her moral code.

Molly struggles to cope with the psychic and physical assault she endured during Changes — which is made worse by the lack of Harry’s protection (Doom of Damocles), and Lea has appointed herself as Molly’s trainer! In some weird way I have grown to like Lea more and more.

Other characters that are worth mentioning are Daniel Carpenter, Butters, Bob and Sir Stuart. Daniel has really grown and has given us a sample of what the world will see from the Carpenter children. Bob and Butters are getting on like a house on fire. We get to see another side of Bob in this book. Butters has also stepped up the game. Sir Stuart (Mort’s guardian) is a great teacher to Harry and he had left us some clues about the Swords of the Cross.

Jim was on his top form with all the X-men, Star Wars and Star Trek references in this book. Another thing I love about Ghost Story is that Jim gave the supporting characters the front seats. It was hard to read Harry got tortured in each book but it is harder to read his friends suffering the similar fates. I think Harry has come out of this experience a changed man which is important to the progression of the series.

All in all, Jim has fitted a lot of emotion and action in this book. I just can’t wait to read Cold Days and I hope that we will get to see more of Mouse, Mister and Thomas in the next book. I also want to find out what happened to Bob!

I give Ghost Story an A+

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2 thoughts on “Review – Ghost Story (Dresden Files, no. 13) by Jim Butcher”

  1. Hey Ying! *waves* I’m a huge JB fan myself.. and Patrick Rothfuss does a very good interview w/ him when they were at Comic-Con.

    I love JB for your above mentioned reasons, but at the same time, I also was rather disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the ending ties it together nicely, but I found *who* did it and why fairly easy to predict. And that’s the bummer for me, usually I’m all like WHAT? NO FREAKING WAY, I didn’t see that coming.

    And this time, I did. Not for all the reasons in the story that he lays out, but the big ones yes. I do like that Butters got a way bigger role, I think that’s one of his best characters and he’s done a very good job making him grow and fleshing out the character.

  2. Hi Readsalot! *wave back* Thanks for stopping by. I watched the interview today. I agree Butters is one of the best characters but Toot Toot and Mouse are my favourites! x

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