The Dresden Files are fast becoming a comfort read of mine. Jim Butcher writes in such a disarmingly warm, friendly manner that is quite compelling, relaxing and addictive.
Summer Knight is the fourth book in the series and poor Dresden really seems to have hit rock bottom. With no cases, no money, a girlfriend who has disappeared after being bitten by a Vampire. That's not to mention the wizard's White Council to answer to.
The story continues from the fallout of the "vampire incident" of the last book and I love the sense of continuity, the feeling of a the continuation of an over-arching story. The series also seems like its developing a sense of maturity while Dresden is becoming more involved in the affairs of wizards. This development extends to the characters too and we get a more in-deph look at what makes them tick and their individual history.
This war between the Vampires and Wizards changes the whole dynamic of the series. Rather than a supernatural police procedural the story is developing a much broader fantasy element. It could have put people off but Jim Butcher manages to make it all seem perfectly natural and just as engaging.
I loved the more detailed introduction into the world of the Fae. In the authors vision there are two different courts of the Fae - Summer and Winter. The balance of power shifts between these two groups as the seasons change and they are ruled by a Queen that is, a Queen that was and a Queen that will be (past, present and future).
The only thing lacking from the previous book is the level of tension, while there is a genuine worry for Dresden's life and soul through much of the book the tension never reaches the same level of intensity it did in Grave Peril. I can however see that this is due to the big changes happening in both Dresden's life and the big story-arc and it's entirely forgivable.
One of the real strengths of the series is how human Dresden is, how in many ways even though he has these incredible powers he's still flawed and that as a Wizard he's different rather than better. It's this sense of imperfection that adds to the series and helps it to become so addictive and pretty much unmissable.
If you've read any Jim Butcher, read Summer Knight. If you haven't read Jim Butcher then read Jim Butcher, simple as that.
Written on Monday 30th June 2014 by Antony.
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