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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn you Butcher!!!
Oh man was I ready to give this book a slating.

I've read all the Dresden books. I've seen the characters develop, relationships become more and more complex and an entire world taking shape. Then, meh. 3 star books that I enjoyed but didn't necessarily improve on anything.Over the past few releases, I felt the books were becoming tired and stale. Dresden is...
Published on 28 April 2010 by Amazon Customer

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I have for many years been a big fan of Jim Butcher and his books, and have always enjoyed his books and his world filled with suspense, humor and excellent character descriptions.
Reading his latest book in the Harry Dresden series i must admit that i am very disappointed: I am left with a feeling of silliness and vaguely annoyance, a great world and character is...
Published on 13 Sep 2011 by Jim


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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn you Butcher!!!, 28 April 2010
By 
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Oh man was I ready to give this book a slating.

I've read all the Dresden books. I've seen the characters develop, relationships become more and more complex and an entire world taking shape. Then, meh. 3 star books that I enjoyed but didn't necessarily improve on anything.Over the past few releases, I felt the books were becoming tired and stale. Dresden is now becoming an undefeatable superhero who faces the giant, evil henchman around the middle of the book, nearly gets killed, then comes good as the final quarter is reached. Over the past few releases. Plot threads seemed to drift ever onwards with minimal reservation. Dialogue became too familiar, repetitive and unlikely.

In many ways this book suffers that same fate - at least the first part of it does. It seems to amble through very familiar (albeit likeable) territory.

Butcher was losing interest it seemed.

Then the ending. The last 60 pages.

Jeez he packs stuff in doesn't he? Butcher - whilst never purporting to be the most sure of writers - is an intricate plotter. What he lacks in prose (which isn't a slight but more an observation on his casual style) knows exactly where this series is heading.

And then the final page - almost a Deus ex Machina moment insofar as you can't see THAT coming.

Now I can't wait for the next one and it's a year away.

I'm not getting any younger and if something happens to me in the next 12 months, I know who's getting my death curse.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow....., 24 Dec 2010
By 
M. Yon - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
OK. I realise now that it has taken me five years to get to this point, and for the series itself, ten. And it's been an interesting and entertaining journey for me. But here is, as the title would suggest, where everything changes. This is the Dresden equivalent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, or of the Battle of Minas Tirith.

Here things really become different. This is one where Jim rips up what has gone before, and makes, in many ways, a fresh start. Many of our reference points are removed here, leaving a feeling that this book really does change things about.

Having said that, there are some things that don't change. The series, as I've noted before, has a reputation of starting with a bang. Turn Coat did, but this one is a new shock.

"I answered the phone, no big deal, until I heard the message: 'They've taken our daughter.'"

The phone call is from Susan Rodriguez, his ex-girlfriend who was turned into a vampire by the Red Court back in Book Five, Death Masks. He is told about something he didn't know - he has a daughter, Maggie, kept in secret from Harry for her protection. And that Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has found out, kidnapped her and plans to use Maggie against Harry as revenge for the death of her husband, an action precipitated by Harry.

Over the next three days Harry's task, with Susan and half-vampire Martin, is to find his daughter and save her from the evil vampires. Whilst she initiates the kidnapping, Queen Arianna also manoeuvres towards a proposed peace settlement between the Red Court and the Wizards: something that would be greatly desired by the Council. Thus given a choice of saving Harry's daughter or ending the war, the Wizard's actions seem restricted - exactly Arianna's point. The actions are further limited when a serious and mysterious illness dehabilitates many of the Council who remain at the Council Centre in Edinburgh.

Further help is denied when newly appointed Gregori Cristos (in Turn Coat) has many of the Senior Wardens arrested, including Captain Anastasia Luccio, who was involved with Harry in Turn Coat. Harry is pretty much on his own here, with only his closest friends to help. Them and Queen Mab, who for reasons of her own is enlisted to help in a pact made with Harry.

To do that, Harry has to pay back some old debts, all at a cost. He also uncovers secrets and makes serious sacrifices that will affect him, and those around him, forever.

So: we finally see a resolution of sorts of the Vampire Wizard War, though perhaps not the way it what was expected to be initially. I must admit, considering that Susan is now a half-vampire why the Court hasn't considered using her against Harry before, particularly if they are as ruthless as we are led to believe. However she has kept Maggie a secret from Harry (and everyone else) for that reason, though I'm not sure it would be that easy to do.

In terms of overall plot development, the arrival of Maggie now means that we're into what I jokingly referred to as Dresden: the Next Generation in an earlier review, though this is not developed here. However some of our regulars do have their star moments - the training of Molly as an apprentice finally comes to fruition, Mouse has an interesting development and Karrin excels herself as a friend of Harry.

There are some new elements. We have some new characters: Esteban and Esmeralda Bastiste, collectively known as `the Ebs', are sent as hired assassins to kill Harry. Though rather deranged, I did think they were a little bit underwhelming.

Less disappointing was the fact that, as you might expect from previous Dresden's, Jim does do epic battles well. Here there is an epic battle at Chichen Itza, where Maggie is to be sacrificed, between Harry and his friends and the might of the Red Court. We discover that Arianna's aim is to sacrifice Maggie in a blood ritual which would release a death curse which would travel up the family tree from the sacrificial victim to all her siblings, then to her parents, then to all their siblings (like Harry's half brother, Thomas), to the grandparents, to the grandparent's siblings, ad infinitum.

What works best here is that the book has jaw-dropping moment after jaw-dropping moment. We have the appearance of an ancient God, the emergence of the Red King, and Harry visits the domain of the ErlKing. Most importantly, here's where a lot of those plot lines previously told comes together: Harry's past, Harry's responsibilities, the Vampire-Wizard War, Harry's friendships.

And just when you think the tale's been wrung out as much as it can, the ending is a stunner, which, in a page, changes things again.

In summary, those readers who have made the journey, as I have, to this point are going to be shocked and horrified by some of the things that happen here. There are characters that come to the fore and unexpected betrayals. This book is life-changing for Harry and many of the key characters we have got to know, in both positive and negative ways.

This, for me, puts Harry above the genre competition by a mile. If I may have felt that there were previous books that treaded water a little in places, this one definitely doesn't. This is where everything that has gone before counts and for the reader makes what happens here have an emotional punch that makes reading all the books up to this point pay off. Big time.

The thirteenth novel, I understand, will be called Ghost Story and is due out March 2011 (though we have short story collection, Side Jobs, already out in the US and due later this year in the UK.)

I can't wait.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't know whether to laugh or cry., 14 May 2010
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I'm not going to cover the ground that everyone else has covered. I'm simply going to add that this book was fantastic, if a little bit rushed, and whilst it's a sign that there's plenty more to come, the year long wait seems almost interminable... Particularly as I bought and finished the book yesterday, despite a busy medical degree. Need I say any more to those casual shoppers who are reading this and haven't already been convinced to read the series?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another turning point in the life of Harry Dresden, 24 April 2010
By 
This review is from: Changes (Dresden Files) (Audio CD)
Harry Dresden, over the span of the series (much beloved by me from its very start, for who can resist the gruff, self-deprecating humor of Chicago's only practising wizard - no love-potions!- and his plethora of assorted friends and foes?) has come a long way. In the beginning, we had this cock-sure P.I. with a dark past and a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas...but events and heartache and the influence of his trusted circle of friends have helped him cope and stay sane.

Now, author Jim Butcher has his main character come full circle, mainly in the form of Susan Rodriguez, half-vampire, full guerilla. "They have our daughter."

"They" being the Red Court, a background story on the sidelines for some time now while Harry dealt with conspiracies, Denarians, family (mainly Thomas) and wizard-only stuff.

This revelation sets off a story that never allows for a breath of relief, only a sip of cold water, then the race is on again.

Characters and stabilizing influences from the previous books (and it's a bittersweet joy to see how the development/radical shifts in the past two books sets the scene for this one) are not present, Jim Butcher makes sure, in a credible way, that Harry is on his own, and there's hardly anyone who he can call on in his rage and despair. Emotions and inner turmoil rule this novel, the Harry who had been so happy about *finally* being a little more Zen...gone. He'll stop at nothing, politics be damned, calls in old debts, browses his Demon Green Pages, and even pitches in, after being denied help from other sources, with Johnny Marcone and the CEO of Monoc Security, aka Sigrun's dad, aka Odin, before his daughter is used in a ritual of blood-magic of devestating proportions!

After this, nothing remains the same.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is amazing!!!, 12 May 2010
By 
Mr. R. Young - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've been a massive fan of Jim Butcher ever since I first discovered the Dresden Files just after the tv show first came out, and I have loved each and every one of his books. The latest book is the best one so far, something that i've said after each book, I honesly could not put this down - and I couldnt afford to do this when I should have been working on my degree! (Which is in creative writing so i should know what makes a good book by now... "Should" being the word...)
This book is truly excellent, with all of the twists and turns we've come to expect from Jim Butcher by now but these are all the more effective as we've come to love the characters over the last 13 books or so. Unmissable, though i would advise you familiarise yourself with the series if you want to get the full effect before reading this book.
The best book so far.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not easy to put down, 10 May 2010
By 
Ray G (North Yorks) - See all my reviews
Like the other reviewers, I've read the other books in the series. Whilst agreeing that some of the plots are predictable (thats what keeps us coming back), this is the darkest book in the series, along with the saddest. Saying that, the humour is very good, even if Mouse does act like the grown-up of the dastardly pair more often than not. This book is either an excellent ending to the current books or a new beginning, depending on Mr Butcher's offerings next year. Me, I'm just glad that the series is continuing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid season pause, 9 May 2010
By 
Gerald Ellard "geraldellard" (Coventry, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Enjoyed the book, not such a frantic pace as previous novels, without the same level of malevance. Definitely a clearing of the decks and positioning for the continuing story ark.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poor Harry Dresden - what next?, 27 May 2010
By 
Read Me (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
So the vampires of the Red Court that you've been at war with for a while have stolen the daughter you didn't know you had. The Wizard Council, who've never really trusted you anyway, tell you to go and shove it when you ask for help. That leaves you with a good cop, an ex who is half vamp, your own vampire brother, your wizard apprentice, a talking skull and a huge dog/fairy thing. So what do you do?

Well if you're Harry Dresden you carry on anyway - headlong into pain, destruction and certain doom. Poor Harry never has any luck. The plot is essentially Dresden trying everything possible to save his daughter, getting more and more reckless as her death approaches. For those of us who have stuck by Harry from the start we know that his reckless nature normally gets the job done - but leaves him with a whole heap of trouble afterwards.

This latest novel leaps along nicely, revealing some new secrets and bringing back some old characters. New deals are struck and it remains to be seen how these will change Harry. Butcher is a brilliant author and the twist at the end will leave you screaming at the page when you finish it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whoa! Didn't see that coming!, 5 Aug 2014
By 
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This review is from: Changes: The Dresden Files (Kindle Edition)
For me the last three Dresden books have been excellent. Butcher has grown as a writer and though the books are to some extent formulaic, his story telling and characterisation has improved significantly as the series progressed; I enjoy the dry humour and like the fact that he doesn't spend half the novel on recaps. I read the first 5 or so under sufferance with other reviewers promising the series improves. They were right and this one one is a real game changer.
Butcher develops his narrative with the usual twists, turns, dead alleys, dry humour and then sneaks in THAT ending. If you enjoyed the early Dresden files and like the predictable repetitive pattern that admittedly works well by the 10th book, reread the early books or try a nice safe romance instead. There is a good reason this book is called Changes. I can't help thinking that Butcher has been reading GRRMartin.
One of the strengths of the later books is that Butcher follows through the consequences of events and doesn't shrink from developing his characters even if that development is not pretty. That is definitely true of this one. Excellent read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story but not perfect..., 30 Jan 2012
I seem to have flown through the last six or so books in The Dresden Files in the past year they're that addictive. This one follows on nicely from Turn Coat and all the fallout from that story is still prevalent in Changes.

In a lot of ways, Changes is fairly predictable. You largely know how its going to play out and what choices Harry is going to make along the way. That doesn't make it any less fun to read. There's some nice resolutions to a few small plot threads that have been lingering for a while (some frustratingly so!) with Murphy getting her fair share of time in this one. I'd have liked to have seen The Alphas in there somewhere but their absence is neatly explained in the short novella epilogue in the Side Jobs book.

There's similarly resolutions to some of the major plot points in the series, though there's already signs of some serious repercussions to come, hinted at in the last couple of chapters and backed up by the Side Jobs epilogue.

If I've sounded very positive so far and you're wondering why only 4 out of 5, its largely down to a single plot point that so far as I can tell was never explained and I sort of get the feeling that maybe the story had been written one way (which would make sense with how the main story is resolved) and then amended later leaving a stray plot point somewhere in the middle of the book (I'll refer you to the hitman who tries to take a shot at Harry in the church and who he says he was hired by).

Overall though, thoroughly enjoyable. Sort of curious about how the series will progress from here!

One final note. Do not, whatever you do, read the synopsis for Ghost Story (the subsequent book in the series) before you've read Changes. Unfortunately, I did as I was trying to work out which one was Book 12 of series and it literally ruined the last 2 pages of Changes for me.
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