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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He’s more than a long leather coat
The fifth in the Dresden Files pits our hero Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only working Wizard – well, the only one in the Yellow Pages at any rate – against the demands of the other world, the underworld and those of his day job as a Private Investigator. The opening chapter sets up nicely the simultaneous conflicting pressures that Harry’s...
Published on 14 Aug 2003 by K. Newman

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I want to like this series, I really do, but....
...I just don't think I'm ever going to fully appreciate Harry the way some of my other reading buddies do. I like the books well enough, but I feel almost no emotional connection to any character, including Harry, and I'm constantly confused with who new characters are because he often doesn't introduce them or it's too brief when he does. I was told the series hits its...
Published on 16 July 2012 by The Demon Librarian

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5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another great read, 14 April 2013
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Butcher has done it again. I did not think he could top his previous books, he has! This is an exciting, thrilling and thought provoking ride that any fan of the genre would love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Jan 2013
C.Daly (whitwick, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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An amazing continuation of a fantastic series, Butcher blends suspense, junkie,heart wrenching Romance and incredible action in a rampage of a story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars samsung tab 2 - 7.0, 20 Nov 2012
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no problem with the kindle APP, downloaded instantly
- I read this with the tab in the vertical position
- I have read this before with a paperback book
- changed the font to be as close to a book as possible, but screen is slightly to small
- some of the text seemed to be missing from the bottom of one page to the top of the next, but if you turn the tablet horizantal and change the page, go back to the vertical and go to where you were reading, the page has moved up or down a couple of lines and the missing text is complete.
- this only happened 3 times
- may not happen with a dedicated kindle
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly underwhelmed, 1 Oct 2012
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death Masks: The Dresden Files Book Five: 5 (Paperback)
I've not read all the books in order, so that may have an impact on how I enjoyed this book.

It was okay, I found it hard to engage with Harry or to understand what he could and couldn't do, and the backstory to some of the other characters.

Here we have Harry challenged to a duel to the death with an uber vampire while looking for the Shroud of Turin which has ben stolen. It has some nice touches and some enjoyable humour but for me nothng lifted abouve an average, enjoyable, urban fantasy. I accept this might be me dipping into the series, but for me it lacked the magic that Harry is so capable of!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch urban fantasy, 13 Aug 2012
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
The Dresden Files book sequence has become one of the most popular series in the speculative fiction genre, its last few installments topping the New York Times bestseller list. At first, the series was a bit formulaic and episodic in format. Nevertheless, for all that the misadventures of Harry Dresden made for entertaining and fun-filled reads. With Summer Knight, Butcher elevated his game, bringing the Dresden Files to a higher level and setting the stage for a lot of fireworks to come!

And with Death Masks, the author raises the bar even higher. Regardless of its immense popularity, a lot of speculative fiction fans look down on the urban fantasy subgenre. But Jim Butcher demonstrates that urban fantasy can be as good and multilayered as any other subgenre.

Here's the 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 semivampiric 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.

As always, and it's one of the highlights of the series, Death Masks features the first-person narrative of the endearing, if frequently inept, wizard Harry Dresden. More than ever in this book, Harry's heart heart is in the right place, and his flawed nature makes him one of the most likeable SFF characters out there. Doubtless, the novels wouldn't be as entertaining if we didn't witness events through Harry Dresden's eyes.

The supporting cast once again adds another dimension to this tale. The return of Susan Rodriguez was more than a little interesting. The three Knights of the Cross, Michael Carpenter, Shiro, and Sanya, played an important role throughout the book. Ortega, the Archive, Kincaid, Nicodemus, and Gentleman Marcone all bring something to this story.

In Summer Knight, the introduction of new concepts, he addition of new characters and developments hinted at the fact that this was a series that resounded with a lot more depth than met the eye. Well, Death Masks more than confirms it. Not only does the novel builds on aspects introduced in the first four volumes, but it also expends on several others. I was fascinated by everything that had to do with the Denarians and the Fellowship of St. Giles.

This fifth volume is another fast-paced urban fantasy offering. We see evidence of a bigger, more complex, and more ambitious overall story arc. Which bodes well for future installments!

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files is fast becoming one of my favorite series on the market today. Urban fantasy it may be, yet it is as good and convoluted as can be!

Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking!, 10 Jun 2012
Amanda Hall (Co. Durham UK) - See all my reviews
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Came late to the Dresden Files ... Have not read beyond 5 as yet.

I've had this book on my Kindle to be read list for months - not enough time and a mountain of other books to read too.

I'm glad I saved it up but also kicking myself that I didn't read it sooner!

Before the first two chapters are over, Harry is immersed in a case - looking for the stolen Turin shroud (yes, that one!), been involved in an attempted mob hit, blown up a TV studio, Red Court Vampires challenge him and Susan is back in his life. From then on it is the usual breathless rollercoaster of a ride through the case and the competing influences (for good or evil) that shape Harry's life.

Also some significant backstory is hinted at in the later chapters - and when Harry figures it out (which he hopefully does at some point), well .... And also its not just Harry's backstory but that of another significant character - that 'can't' be just a coincidence....

Started this on Saturday and finished it (in between everything else) on Sunday. Amazing, amazing ride. Had to take a few deep breaths after I'd finished it. Going to get the next one sometime very soon!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Death Masks, 26 April 2012
Steve D (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This is another really enjoyable outing, the fifth book in Butcher's 'Dresden Files'. The previous book (Summer Knight) kind of felt like a pause for breath before cracking on with the looming war between the White Council and the vampires' Red Court, so this book wastes no time getting back to it. Without going into spoilers, Harry's the one responsible for starting the war a couple of books back, and now the Red Court have sent a vampire called Ortega to deal with him in a duel. If Dresden dies, the war is effectively put on hold, but if he lives ...

Sometimes I think there's a danger with stories that are narrated in the first-person, with a laconic, almost film noir-ish feel to them, that they can become annoyingly smug, but Butcher always seems to walk the line very deftly. Harry Dresden is a hugely likeable character, and it sucks you into his life and makes you care about him. It's easy to warm to his friends and enemies, too, because they come across in a very believable (within the context) fashion, even out-and-out bad guys like the gangster Marcone or the demon Nicodemus.

As usual, there are several seemingly disparate storylines that seamlessly weave into the whole, and culminate in a breathlessly choreographed, edge-of-seat finale. It's funny, sexy, fast-paced and action-packed and, to Butcher's credit, he never loses sight of the rules he has created for his world, and often uses them to great effect.

I'm finding that these stories are very addictive, and they do seem to be getting better and better as they go along.

The Kindle edition is very well formatted, with only a couple of minor errors that do nothing to spoil the experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but room for improvement, 26 Jan 2012
Leo Elijah Cristea (UK) - See all my reviews
If you're a fan of Harry Dresden himself, as well as the Dresden Files as a whole, then Death Masks is quite a punishing read. Harry gets himself into all the usual trouble--when doesn't he?--but this time, he really gets hurt. We're not talking physically, either: Susan is back.

But not for good, she says, and Harry would be an idiot to believe otherwise. So, instead, he throws himself full throttle into what lies ahead in one of the most pivotal books in the series since the events of Grave Peril. It's a tough read in that there's a lot of loose philosophy, a lot of thoughts woven into the story on religion and spirituality, and overall it's tough, because it's actually quite a sad instalment of the Dresden Files.

It's also excellent.

Death Masks has nothing on Summer Knight for me; it's been my favourite so far, followed by Fool Moon. However, as much as both Grave Peril and Death Masks have been my least favourites (bearing in mind, I freaking love the whole series so far, so being a `least favourite' doesn't really make a difference) thus far in terms of enjoyment, they're extremely important books in the series. A lot happens in Death Masks.

Harry keeps being fed information, subtle hints about his mother's past, and his family. The war between the Red Court and the White Council progresses, and new events are set up, including a duel between Harry and one of the Red Court vampires: a duel that Ortega (remember him from Grave Peril?) insists Harry must accept, lest everything he loves and holds dear be threatened. Harry's relationship, and more of the true nature of the Knights of the Cross is revealed, and the other two Knights are introduced.

I liked the introduction of the Knights possibly more than anything else in this book. The swords, supposedly bearing a piece of wood from the cross, couldn't scream Christianity and God more if they tried. It's awkward: what if the reader doesn't believe in God? What if the reader has an opposing religious view and that Butcher writes so openly about the swords being tools of God offends? Well, there's no chance of that.

Butcher tackles religion in an excellent fashion, one that I am very partial to (if you're interested at all, I'm a Pagan, and I may blog about this soon). The Knights of the Cross are not categorically Christian. Michael is the exception. Sanya and Shiro--Russian and Japanese--both hold different faiths, but understand that God is simply an energy, or, as Voltaire suggested: one of the many names that "god" goes by. It's a way of presenting the Knights that I enjoy. There's no religious baggage, no rolling of the eyes at dogma and doctrine. In fact, it makes the Knights personable and accessible as characters. It's a good call on Butcher's part.

Through the Knights is where Butcher slips little morsels of philosophy, and it makes the book somehow more valid and authentic. It's a clear sign that the Dresden Files are growing up, maturing as they develop, whilst still retaining all the break-neck speed and thrills that make a Dresden book a Dresden book.

The pacing is excellent, as usual, and the familiar cast is always a pleasure to read. Murphy and the Knights feature more in this instalment than the Werewolves, and it's nice to be back with Michael and the Knights. It's fun.

The fun balances out the fact that this is a heavy Dresden novel, and it marks yet another turning point for the series as it grows darker and deeper. The path Harry walks is not a light one, and by the end of this book, it's clear it's only going to get darker, and not by his own volition. There are secrets and mysteries Harry is unaware of and I suspect from here onwards through the series, segments and glimpses of these are to be shared.

Death Masks was a good book, enjoyable, fast-moving and fun. It also felt like an "important" book in the series, a stronger milestone than Grave Peril. Butcher manages to keep the story, the pace and the interest strong this far into a series, without faltering once. The Dresden Files are the urban fantasy series that everyone should read--they just work.

Dark, funny, and achingly original, Butcher was onto a winner when he wrote Storm Front, and solidified that success in Fool Moon. Now we're done with book five and Butcher doesn't even need to step into the water to kick the other fish out: he owns the pool.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dresden's biggest case to date, 9 Dec 2011
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Harry Dresden has a lot on his plate: he's been challenged to a duel to the death to determine the outcome of the war between wizards and vampires; he's been hired to find the missing Shroud of Turin; his old girlfriend Susan is back in town for unknown purposes; and, just to round things off, thirty arch-demons are on the prowl in Chicago. And that's not even mentioning a pair of European art thieves hitting town and all three Knights of the Cross turning up to confront a mutual foe.

Death Masks, the fifth book in The Dresden Files, is the busiest book in the series to date. It sports at least four distinct plot threads (along with several related subplots) which interconnect with one another in a number of unexpected ways as the novel progresses. Each one of these plots would be enough to drive a novel by itself and Butcher seems to delight in upping the ante and complexity of the series to new heights. Combined with the ongoing, series-spanning storylines, this makes Death Masks the most epic book in the series to date.

That said, Butcher takes care to ensure the story is fully comprehensible at all times, and drives the narrative forward with his customary energy and vigour. He also finds time for some accomplished characterisation, with recurring crimelord Jonny Marcone being developed particularly well. It's also good to see some other characters like Susan and Michael returning, along with the introduction of some intriguing new characters like the Archive (a mystical repository of knowledge taking the form of a little girl) and Nicodemus (a potential new nemesis for Harry). The first appearance of the Order of Saint Giles and the Denarian sect of demons also expands the scope of Harry's world impressively.

Death Masks (****) is another very strong entry in the series. New readers will be lost (I recommend they start with the first book, Storm Front) but returning fans will find yet another page-turning and entertaining urban fantasy novel. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Hellish Good Time, 31 Oct 2011
David Ford "Genre junkie" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
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After tangling with vampires, werewolves and evil faeries, it would seem that Harry's life had become a little too easy. Butcher raises the stakes and the excitement by having everyone's favourite wizarding private eye face off against fallen angels.

The villains of the piece are fantastic creations, monstrous, frightening and yet believable. Harry really seems to be outmatched here, as he struggles to find the missing Shroud of Turin.

It's not just new bad guys introduced here, either. Michael's two brothers in arms make their debut, adding some real punch as well as emotion to the tale.

Add to that the continuing vampire threat in the form of a brutally charming Red Court duke, and there's loads to enjoy here. And I haven't even touched on Butters or Ivy!

Once again, Butcher has knocked it out of the park, producing another thrilling, cool and funny adventure. Here's hoping Harry's got a lot more stories to share...
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Death Masks: The Dresden Files Book Five: 5
Death Masks: The Dresden Files Book Five: 5 by Jim Butcher (Paperback - 5 May 2011)
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