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on 20 March 2017
Love it
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on 10 March 2017
great only took a couple of days will use again
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on 24 May 2013
I like Harry Dresden, he sounds basic but friendly. Him dying seems like the end of the story, but no, the fun and adventure continues.
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on 22 October 2011
I must admit that I approached Ghost Story with more than a healthy dose of skepticism. This book had the potential to be as cheesy as that season of Dallas that turned out to be just a dream. Resurrecting your main character from the dead is a tall order. Doing it in a way that stays true to that character and to the Dresden universe that you painstakingly created throughout twelve prior installments of the Dresden files seemed impossible. I shouldn't be surprised that this author pulled it off with a story that is far more intricate and thought provoking than any of his prior "files".

I felt that Harry lost himself in more ways than one in Changes. I guess sometimes you have to die to find yourself again. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by revealing that Harry is a spirit in this novel. It begins about 6 months after his death, and we get an up close and personal look at how Harry's death has affected his friends and family. It's heartbreaking to see their misery and how far some have fallen, and it was very interesting to see how some had risen to the challenge of defending Chicago against insurmountable odds. We see new aspects of all the characters that made me look at everyone in a new way.

While we still are treated to a healthy dose of Harry Dresden wit, this is a more introspective Harry than we have seen before. He spends a lot of time adjusting to his ghostly nature, and recalling his past. Memory plays a huge role in this story and the author does a masterful job of portraying a man coming to terms with who he is and the decisions he's made. The pacing was not as fast as Dresden fans are used to, and sometimes all that introspection got a little repetitive. This is still a five star read for me simply because of the author's stellar character development. Anytime you can have a series that's on book number thirteen and still show me something new about pretty much every character in the book, that is quite an accomplishment.

There's still plenty of action, supernatural politics and memorable lines, but be prepared for some thoughtful moments and enough new revelations to make your head spin. A fantastic addition to the series. I can't wait for the next one.
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on 3 August 2011
As you might expect with a book that starts at the end of someone's life, a portion of the story will revolve around what came before. The main part of the novel is focused on what recently happened to Harry, but what I wasn't expecting and was delighted by was the call-backs to very early moments, characters and places that were scattered throughout the book. I'm a fairly big fan of the series and I spotted a few moments of serendipity, but I'm sure there are probably some less obvious Easter eggs for the super fans out there.

After 12 novels and an anthology, I have a fairly good idea of who Harry Dresden is. We already know a fair amount about his difficult and troubled childhood, but in Ghost Story we find out about an event that was an important crossroads from his past. This event shaped Harry, it put him on the path that led him to becoming the man we all know. It could have gone very differently and he could have given in to his darker nature and become the sort of pupil Justin DuMorne always wanted. It was perhaps one of the most important moments from his childhood that we didn't know about, until now. This is just the first of many touches that make this a truly remarkable book and a fantastic series. In the last couple of books there have been lots of pay-offs for long time readers and there were a few more in Ghost Story.

Harry is gone, but the world has not stopped turning, the monsters have not packed up and gone away just because he is no longer in the fight. It was very satisfying to see the long-term effects Harry has had on those around him in the city. But his legacy goes far beyond the people he personally saved, and even though the story is still told from Harry's perspective, there were some scenes where he was just an observer. People spoke about him without knowing he was there which often left Harry surprised by how others saw him. It was quite an eye opening experience that I think will affect him to a small degree in the future.

A good portion of time has elapsed since Harry's sudden departure at the end of Changes. This means we, and Harry, are playing catch up and need to get up to speed on what's happened to his city. His friends have been badly affected by his absence, some more so than others, but they've reached a place where they can still move forward together. Life is much harder without him around, some difficult choices and unsettling decisions have been made, but they were deemed necessary at the time. He might not agree but he has to accept them, because he can't affect events anymore. As expected this makes it incredibly frustrating and painful for Harry to see his friends suffering and have no way of helping them. Once again this novel shows that creating realistic and well rounded characters, that you deeply care about, is one of Butcher's greatest skills as a writer.

As much as Changes was a turning point for the series, Ghost Story is a turning point for Harry and many of the main cast. Events large and small have changed the characters over a dozen books and I loved seeing how they have grown up over the years and evolved. Some of these changes have been painful and irreversible, but it made the story all the more rewarding for the loyal reader.

The stories from this point forward in future novels will not be the same. The series could not have kept going in the same vein indefinitely without trying to top itself with every new book, and it would have become ridiculous. Ghost Story is a sort of interlude for reflection before we start a new chapter in the ongoing series.

The last three books before Ghost Story were building towards something epic, which we saw in Changes, where events came to a head and Ghost Story deals with the fallout, global and local. Over the last few books Harry has continued gaining power as well as acquiring new abilities and allies. One thing that became apparent in Ghost Story was that his approach to dealing with people and conflict has changed. He isn't a shoot first, ask questions later guy, but he has moved a little more in that direction of late. Being rendered powerless brought this to light and I believe that in the future we will see a different Harry, one changed in his approach, because up to now he has always been fairly short sighted.

If he sees someone getting beaten up he will just wade in, no questions asked. That's not enough anymore. Harry is playing a very different sort of game now. He's been the fulcrum of too many events, he's friendly or involved with too many significant powers to fade into the background. He's a major player now, whether or not he likes it or wants to be. The stakes are much higher, the consequences much more far reaching and he's now responsible for a lot of other people. He hates the Merlin for being a big picture guy, for being someone will sit and do nothing while a few people suffer because in the long run it may save hundreds. I don't think Harry will quite be that cold and calculating, but I think he will be someone who treads more carefully and who thinks about the big picture and the long-term effects of his actions.

What all of this added up to for me was another extremely emotional and a very rich reading experience. Butcher rewards his readers, he trust them and doesn't try to short change them, but he also doesn't tie up everything in a neat bow at the end of any novel. Actions have consequences, characters die and don't come back, good people turn bad, the bad can be redeemed and deals with devils don't come cheap. The world is made of grey, but Harry is someone who does his best to see it in black and white. He doesn't always succeed in his missions, despite his best attempt, as we see a few times in Ghost Story, but that will never stop him trying. That's just who he is and that's why he's had such a huge impact on so many people.

The Dresden Files is a consistently gripping and extremely well written and addictive series. I think it is the best urban fantasy series being published and I am always desperate to read the next volume and just need to know what happens next. I've been living with these characters for over ten years, and have read more adventures about them than any other series of novels on my bookshelf. I keep coming back for so many reasons, the characters are fascinating and well rounded, the stories are amazing, pacy and gripping, they're incredibly inventive and Butcher does a great job of taking myths and folklore and turning them into something completely his own. These aspects and many others add up to make a great series.

Butcher's success and loyal fan base is well deserved and the books have actually been getting better, richer and more rewarding. Changes was the end of one major chapter, and Ghost Story is the start of what comes next, but the story of Harry Dresden is far from over and I can't wait to see happens next. If you're not reading this series and you enjoy urban fantasy then you're missing out on something brilliant.
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on 30 August 2011
Harry Dresden, Wizard ,Private Investigator R.I.P.
Harry Dresden, Ghost ,Private Investigator - open for business.

This is the thirteenth Harry Dresden novel, but its the last book that was really unlucky for him as he died. The title of the book says it all. This is a ghost story. Harrys Ghost is sent back to find out who killed him.

Harry as a ghost is a novel perspective, both for harry and for the reader. He is less prepared, unsure of his abilities, every situation a challenge. The same goes for the threats, each one is new and the normal rules of engagement do not apply. This book effectively hits the reset button on everything we know about Harry's capabilities and about the capabilities of his foes. Its not about him wielding more and more impressive magic, or taking up the mantle of the Winter Knight. Its about Harry, his relationship with his friends and the effect he has on people through his previous actions.

Though it doesnt actually do the Dickensian 'ghost of christmas past' - there is a strong element of taking perspective of his past actions, not the powers wielded but the decisions he made. The story is a backdrop for a moral examination of Harry, something the other books dont really do. He has bounced from one crisis to another doing what he has to do to survive concentrating on the immediate not the big picture. Theres a moral cost to each decision, That cost is laid out here. Not the cost to harry himself , but the cost to his friends and his family.

This doesnt sound too captivating you are thinking, compared to all out wizard war or taking on the red Vampire Court. Whats the attraction? Well its definitely not the same sort of Dresden book as we have read recently. The big attraction is the suspense, not the action. The action is there , less epic in scope perhaps but still catchy. 'New' ghost Harry is very similar to 'New' PI harry from the earliest books. The teeth gritting suspense of course comes from the whole Harry as a murdered ghost situation. Is this a reboot for a new series of ghost PI stories? Who killed him? Sorry - you will have to read the book.

The ending is more of a relief than an epic conclusion. The main storyline follows the normal pacing and conclusion format, but thats a story within the story. As the main (or secondary) story is harry and his ghostly status. Id say this is why some people have had mixed opinions about the book. Its a break from style. Arguably its a stock taking piece that allows a change of pace and sets us up for another set of epic novels to follow. Its not a bad thing to do - and when you are on book 13 - you may want to take a slight pause before embarking on another - mega arc. To me thats what this book is - a pause before what looks to be another significant phase change.

Harrys timeline and associated character list is getting quite large now. With Harry dead his friends have had a hard time coping with the chaos left behind as a result of the power vacuum left after the conclusion of 'Changes'. Several old characters we havent seen for a while return here as Harrys cabal draw together to lend each other support. Theres a much greater than normal reliance on other characters to advance the story. Characters that I think Jim Butcher wants to use more, but whom havent necessarily been right for recent books. This book looks to be intended to harden up and mature some of the secondary characters for use later on.

Conclusion : - This has an unusual feel for a recent Dresden book. Its a lot more similar to the early Dresden files than the more recent books. Some people might find this unsatisfying as it doesnt feed our inner apocalypse junkie. Its probably not the best Dresden novel. But it is a good read and builds further lore on the foundations of earlier novels. Its more suspense oriented than recent books and thats unexpected , but not unwelcome. I personally couldnt put it down and stayed up late to finish it - something I havent done recently. So from that point of view its a gripping read.
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on 8 September 2011
You would think that as a ghost he couldn't be beaten up as much as in the other books.
Well....he can!

This is perhaps one of the more complex Dresden books, and it ties in a lot of threads from the previous books, so you should read up on them first before starting this one.

It is a great book, and if you like the previous books, you will like this one as well.
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on 29 November 2011
Having decided to give this series a go right around the time Ghost Story was released I have pretty much read each installment back to back. As you can imagine this was a major plus for me when I became instantly hooked after book one. The flip side of this coin however is that now I have to let go of these characters after having been with them for a significant amount of time and as Harry is prone to say. "It hurts". (Yes, I know. This is not the final chapter of the series.)

Ghost Story has some solid character development especially with regards to Harry's introspection during the plot's developments and Butcher shows grace in his ability to reach back into the events of Harry's past and shine new perspective on elements of the story. However, Ghost Story does end on somewhat of a cliffhanger. Even though other characters have a chance to make an appearance, blossom and become more refined, long standing developments and undercurrents that have been present for many volumes have yet to be addressed.

In truth I wouldn't be so harsh as to say that this was such a colossal problem as I'm pretty sure Butcher has several more installments in the works. My concern though is that with this type of voluminous series I'm just worried that the payoff for certain long term incomplete aspects, that are significant for me within the Dresden Files, will not be as rewarding as the promise in the journey or god forbid never make an appearance at all. I have yet to see some of those aspects bear fruit and I am just hoping that, when all is said and hopefully done, the juice will be worth the squeeze. This is all conjecture however and I am willing to give Butcher the benefit of the doubt. The only other issue is actually having to wait for the next installment (heh).

Fingers crossed that this fantastic series is given the chance to reach completion (and that I'm around to see it!).

Changes and Ghost Story have done much to breathe new life into the series. If you have read the previous DF installments you will probably read Ghost Story regardless of what any review tells you (hence, the relative brevity).

PS- My apologies for the vague hypothesis but I didn't want to get too specific and possibly spoil anything.
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on 7 September 2011
As the headstone for Harry's newly occupied grave says - he died trying to do the right thing. Always his main problem - he is the type of hero who hurls out Star Wars quotes in the middle of a magical battle, he's hopeless/clueless with all women, in trying to make things better he inavriably makes them worse but he is an amazing wizard. Except now of course he's dead. So through some cosmic loophole he is sent back as a shade of his former self (minus the wizarding magic) in order to find his killer. A noble quest - however getting sidetracked trying to save everyone else including new ghostly addition Sir Stuart does leave him in his usual type of trouble. Throw into the mix the fact that his apprentice Molly seems to have lost some of the screws that held her brain together, Murphy has gone seriously Rambo and his creepy fairy godmother Lea is taking a bit of an interest as well and you have a compelling if not slightly confusing novel.

I'm the first to admit that there were times when reading this that I had little clue as to what was happening, especially trying to remember what happened in the previous novel, but I was gripped completely. Without trying to give too much away what I like most about all thbis series is that Butcher really knows how to leave you with a cliffhanger. Especially in Ghost Story it actually made me squeek out loud in a 'nooo you can't end there' kind of way. Looking forward to the next book already - just hurry up and write it!
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on 6 August 2011
At last Butcher's faithful readers, who have been left on tenterhooks since the ending of Changes, finally get to find out what's happened to Harry. Long story short? Well, he's dead...

Of course, nothing is ever so simple in the world of Harry Dresden, so just as Butcher leaves the reader grinning at the appearance of a character we haven't seen since book 2, our favourite wizard is off to solve his own murder, in ghostly style.
The protagonist being incorporeal (and invisible/inaudible to most of the ther characters) certainly helps to make this installment a different kettle of fish to the previous stories. And as Harry adjusts to his new state of being, so to are we forced to adjust to the new state of the Dresdenverse.

The old familiar characters are all present and correct, but now forced into different, harsher roles in a world left darker for Harry's loss. The book marks a definite shift in the series, from a sequence of supernatural mysteries into something slightly more apocalyptic.

This admittedly lends the novel a slight air of setup, making the main plot, involving an equally dead villain from a previous book, feel slightly reduced compared to some of the other recent installments. It's a tribute to Butcher that even his setups are vastly superior to other similar stories out there, and for dedicated DF addicts, there is more than enough to enjoy here.
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