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4.4 out of 5 stars
Ghost Story: A Dresden Files novel: 13
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on 19 September 2012
I'm a bit baffled by some of the negative reviews on here - because I think this is the best Dresden book yet - it was a bold move killing him off in Changes, and having him as a ghost (albeit conveniently able to communicate with the material world on some levels) provides Butcher with the plausible means to add new layers in the development of his hero.

Looking back, the series has developed from quite 'light' reads in the first few books into a more complex world, but it was in danger of becoming overly formulaic, so something drastic was needed to really shake things up.

So whilst the action and main plot are nothing particularly new (and perhaps an anti-climax from the apocalyptic events of Changes) - what shines through in this story is the development and changes to not just Dresden, but some of the other key characters. This books gives another lens onto the world Butcher has created, and I for one enjoyed this change of perspective.

I especially liked:
- The more measured Harry - having to think things through has made him more realistic, I always felt he was a bit too much of an `all-American' style hero before
- The new improved action-Butters
- The more gothic Molly
- The flashbacks to Dresden's early life
- Seeing where Bob lives
- the answer to 'who shot dresden?'
- the behaviour of Mister & Mouse when they 'see' Harry again

I won't give away the ending - but will say if Butcher can manage to right Harry convincingly in this new incarnation it should be good.

Having said all of that - there is a natural arc to any story, and there should probably come a point in the near future where Butcher wraps up what he can and really does retire Harry one way or another...
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on 31 January 2015
I still feel that The Dresden Files are getting consistently stronger even though I dropped a star or perhaps half a star on this one. Butcher develops an existential and moral element to his narrative in this book and I did enjoy the change of pace. He does draw from other novels and cultural references, but the signposting is pretty obvious. I really enjoyed the fact that with time passing and circumstances changing, the side characters had moved on without Dresden: Butcher is good at exploring consequences. Mort, Butters/Bob and The Ragged Lady/ieds were particularly well developed. I also really enjoyed the double twist at the end.

So why does it lose a star? Two points: since Dresden is now a ghost, his interaction with the world was necessarily limited. He is free to hop round more, but each relationship feels insubstantial - which I guess is part of the point- however this does impact on my emotional engagement. The other factor was that I felt Butcher had crammed just a little too much into the novel. Some of the action seemed spurious- were Nick, Daniel and Fitz all necessary? I am a little nervous that Butcher is moving towards an overly episodic style (a la Patrick Rothfuss) in his desire to create his mega world.

Since Butcher tied up all the ends so neatly, I am also worried that we will now lose the human characters and just delve into the Winter Court. I like Dresden working with people not just monsters.
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Well the best part of the review is the narrator - who'se name i unfortunately now forgotten.
I love James Marsters and would follow him to hell and back, but I have to say his narration skills are at nest "fair to good". Ghost Story is the first time that I have actually felt the book come alive and felt that the audio premium was worth it,

I am sad to say this is the only positive thing I can think of to say about the novel. It's as if the publishers have a contract out on Mr Butcher and forced him to write another bool ignoring his lobotomy, addiction, medication or mental breakdown. It's foruleaic, takes hours to re-hash facts we have known from book one and is frankly insulting to anyone who enjoys reading.
There is no plot.
There is no story arch
there are compromises with well established boundaries that just do not work.
As others have said there is a denouement that relies on a complete Star Trek pastiche that does not work for the cognoscenti and fails for those of us who just about remember Mr Spock.
There are supposed top be 20 of these books in the series. If this is the standard then that is 7 too many.

If you are a fan then it's sad and disappointing. If you were looking for entertainment then buy some paint.

I genuinely feel robbed of money and time. And I feel lied to by an author who I had hoped would respect his readers more :(
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2011
There seem to be a lot of really long reviews here, more or less re-telling the story for you. I don't see the point of that and would just say, this is another brilliant, gripping, exciting, page turner of a book. If you like Harry Dresden, you will love this. If you haven't yet made his aquaintance, then take my advice and start from the first book and work your way through to this one. You have a real treat in store. Mr Butcher, if you read these reviews, thank you and can we have another one soon please.
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on 14 July 2012
I have loved the entire Harry Dresden series, from the somewhat simplified start to the extremely complex later stories. I had been beginning to worry that the usual format - Harry and his friends fight the monsters and ultimately win - was maybe getting a trifle stale, but this book is a turning point and to me it is brilliantly executed with never a dull moment.
I liked the start. I enjoyed Harry's increasingly successful attempts to come to terms with being a ghost and to regain his magic powers. I liked his gradual, horrified understanding of the effects of his actions in the previous book and his valiant attempts to put things right again. Not easy when you haven't a body. His meetings with, and gradual acceptance by, his old friends are movingly handled; especially his relationship with his damaged apprentice Molly. And Mouse and Mister knew him immediately.
The main action goes as usual at breakneck speed and is highly satisfactory, but it is the detail in this one that I loved.
The ending, I guess, was pretty well inevitable, and I now wait impatiently for January and the next installment.
This series is a brilliant achievement. I have always thought that the book I would take to my desert island would be Roger Zelazny's Great Book of Amber. I'd still want that - but I'd want Harry Dresden too!
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This book is writen in the same style as the other DResden Files novels and for my money is one of the best yet.

I am not going to ruin any plot as people should simply read this book and make up their own minds. I loved it and really enjoyed the way Harry is being dragged through Hell and back with each adventure.

Jim Butcher has created a real winning formula here with this series of books ands Ghost Story simply carries on that formula. I love the characters he has brought into Harry's life and the situations he finds himself in are all individual.

He has remained true to the Harry Dresden from book one with each novel and Ghost Story sees Harry having to make some very serious decisions for his and other people's futures. The new characters in this book are aiming for more fun with Harry in later stories, but if Mr Butcher reads any of these reviews, please keep writing Harry Dresden stories. They are fantastic and worth every minute to draw us into his world.

In short, this is a really good book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2011
The thirteenth book, and as you would expect from a fantasy series, thirteen is a little different from the others.
This novel heads in a new direction from the rest of the series, a little more introspective, a little more revealing for a lot of the main characters. If you're familiar with the previous Dresden Files then this one is an absolute must, but not necessarily the greatest place to start. It continues to flesh out and build on the world that we have seen growing so organically throughout all the other novels, and beginning to link pieces together. We are starting to see the coming together of so many threads that the author left hanging around for us years ago.
A superb read, very different in pacing than some of the others but also with a great deal more depth. I think many would agree that the books have grown better and better as the series and the author progress. I can hardly wait for the next one; at this rate, the Dresden Files will become one of the best fantasy series than any serious fan of fantasy could call part of their collection.
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I enjoy anything and everything that comes out in print re: Harry Dresden and this is no exception.

This is a full expansion of a short story that I read recently in the Side Jobs antho (April 2011), and as usual it was written in typical Jim Butcher style. If you know the books, I don't need to say more.

If you haven't then don't read this one, start at the beginning and it will make slightly more sense (trust me). Again without providing too many `spoilers', the book follows Harry at the next stage of his existence and really features the development of Molly from her role as mere apprentice to Harry and gives more opportunity for the supporting characters from previous books to blossom. A great book that will grip and entertain you once you get past the initial obvious thoughts.

More please Mr. Butcher!
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on 22 February 2014
We find out that even in death, Harry gets no rest, but must once again battle the forces of evil, Since he's kind of a ghost, he can't do as much fighting as usual, and is forced to contemplate the consequences of his actions in Changes, and his general tendency of acting on his rage first, thinking later.
And these consequences are hard-hitting and wide-reaching: destroying the Red Court left a power vacuum, which now all nasties are trying to fill. With Harry gone, Chicago is left unprotected, his friends trying to step up while dealing with the fallout from the battle stress and grief over Harry. It's good to see this finally addressed.
And besides contemplation, fighting, new baddies, background and information, the book starts not only with a spoiler (Harry isn't dead), it ends with a huge one.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you haven't read Changes, then be aware that this review may contain spoilers as it's a bit hard to review this book without acknowledging what happened in the last one!

Jim Butcher claims that the end of Changes is not a cliffhanger - he killed off Harry, didn't explain who killed him and left us hanging until now to find out what's going on.. if that's not a cliffhanger, then nothing is! Either way, when I finished reading Changes, I howled out loud at the typical way Jim left us wanting more and so have been waiting impatiently for this latest installment. . . and boy, I wasn't disappointed!

From the first page, it's like meeting up with an old friend - one where it doesn't matter how long it's been since you last spoke, you simply pick up where you left off and carry on. That's how it is with Harry Dresden. From the opening lines, you're back in Chicago and - for a few minutes - you forget Harry's dead... that is until he reminds you . . which he does, loudly and often.

Jim's writing style is as superb as always, in fact I'd say even more so on this book. The story - which I won't spoil for those who haven't read it - is sharp, with the sarky quick-witted comments Dresden fans know and love and the other characters from previous books make an appearance too, as well as some new ones.

I read Ghost Story over a weekend, breaking only to feed the kids and sleep, and found it hard to drag myself away from it even then. The story keeps you guessing and, I don't know about anyone else who has read it, I wasn't expecting some of the final results at all. There are some very real laugh out loud moments as well as some where you're more vocal with "Holy Crap!" I suggest you don't read this in public unless you don't care about the odd looks you may become the recipient of!

Overall, a fantastic addition to the Dresden series and, as per usual, it has left me waiting in impatient anticipation for the next one in the series. If you haven't given the Dresden Files a try yet, do so you won't be disappointed.
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