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4.0 out of 5 stars Catching up on my Kindle, 14 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Grave Peril: The Dresden Files Book Three (The Dresden Files series 3) (Kindle Edition)
I'm not a fan of ` buddy' movies. You know the ones: there's a couple of cops/ spies/ chefs/ flowers that have been thrown together and, against initial animosity, by overcoming a seemingly insurmountable task they become the best of friends. And invite each other around for Christmas or a barbecue. Or to look at their new `fridge. Or something. Anyway, the point is, whilst I'm not a fan of these movies, there is always a formula. They always, meet, have a disagreement and decide they hate each other, then after the `event' they're changes forever. It's always the same. However, the adding of a partner without some context can begin to irritate the reader. For example, if fans of the first two Harry Dresden books were asked what they wanted to see partnering Chicago's only practicing wizard in his third outing, I doubt whether it would have been a brawny urban knight, wielding a magic sword on a mission from the Almighty. However, that's what they got. And, while the appearance of this new character does add a lot to the plot and wider story arc, the reader is left with the impression that they are missing something.

For one, Michael (Knight of the Sword, Fist of God etc) just appears as Harry's friend without any explanation of where he came from or why he didn't intervene in the other stories in the series where some serious `bad stuff' was happening. It's as if he's just been written into the continuity and the author either hopes we don't notice, or just doesn't care. It's like a stunt George Lucas would pull in a re-mastered Star Wars film.

On another note, there are a lot of references to a case that Michael helped Harry with sometime in the recent past. Whilst this is VERY IMPORTANT to the plot, we are only given the sketchiest of details of this incident in flashbacks and dreams. There is a massive element of revenge at play here, but the reader, not being party to the act being revenged can seem a little removed from the action.

Niggles aside, this shapes up to be a book with a lot of ideas, intricate plot devices and a plethora of new characters and activity that will have repercussions in future books. We have an expanding cast of humans: Michael Carpenter, a deeply religious avenging knight who has a massive family and works as a builder. Father Forthill, a Roman Catholic priest. And not so humans: Thomas Raith, a white court vampire, Marva, a black court Vampire and we are reintroduced to Bianca of the Red Court Vampires.

As plot lines go, this book is concerned with ghosts, nightmares and vampire politics. And Butcher does a great job of spinning all three around into a climatic end game that is genuinely heart wrenching. No doubt the seeds sown in this novel are going to be grown in future books.

In all, a good read. If you can get past the contrived friendship between Harry and Michael then it pans out to be a good, strong book with solid characters and a dense plot and is rewarding. Perhaps the back story to their relationship will play out in future book. Or maybe we'll have to wait for the re-mastered George Lucas version....
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