Book Review: Death Masks by Jim Butcher

91479I really need to get away from reading series, but… Ugh! I’m addicted to the Dresden Files. Probably doesn’t help that I gravitate toward fantasy, love the city of Chicago, and am a diehard geek… But what can you do?

Ze Blurb

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he’s getting more than he bargained for:

A duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards…

Professional hit men using Harry for target practice…

The missing Shroud of Turin…

A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified…

Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.

This Reader’s Thoughts?

The Dresden Files series is a ridiculously well-written example of noir fantasy, featuring a morally ambiguous wizard cracking jokes in the face of slobbering vampires, mob hitters, and fallen angels. This novel follows Harry on a new case: to find the Shroud of Turin, creating an interesting mix of fantasy and religious fiction.

Readers are introduced to two new Knights of the Cross, including an elderly Japanese warrior and a Russian atheist, adding to an already colorful cast of characters. The Knights are dedicated to fighting against a troop of fallen angels, who are not only searching for the stolen Shroud of Turin, but also have become particularly interested in Harry…. To make things even more complicated, Susan, Harry’s ex-girlfriend is suddenly back in the picture, leaving Harry feeling even more confused and pathetic than usual as he attempts to come to terms with his feelings for her and the reality of their situation. Relationships tend to be difficult when your significant other wants to exsanguinate you.

Of course, this series is dark and definitely meant for adult audiences. There is plenty of blood, battles, cursing, sex, and violence in general. But Butcher manages to balance the darkness with an intriguing level of geekiness (including a couple Lord of the Rings references), dry humor, and a glimpse at the faith, honor, and love that can drive people to rise above the darkness.

As always, another 5 out of 5 stars for the 5th installation of the Dresden Files.

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