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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 February 2012
Poor Harry, he's a bit down in the dumps at the start of this one. He finds himself pretty much responsible for starting a war between the Red Court of the vampires and the wizards' White Council, plus his girlfriend has been infected by the vampires and just one taste of human blood will put her over the edge. So not surprising that he's wallowing in self-pity really. Now the vampires have a contract out on him and the White Council - fearing the coming war - are ready to sacrifice him to save their own necks. So it doesn't really help when Mab, the Winter Queen, turns up and tells him that she's bought his 'debt' from his godmother, Leanansidhe, and basically owns his ass. She promises to release him from this debt if he'll carry out three favours for her, the first of which is to clear her of the murder of the Summer Knight.

This all makes for another enjoyable Dresden adventure, full of the usual sardonic wit, twists and turns and plenty of action. It doesn't quite hold the tension that the previous novel, Grave Peril, did, and that's maybe because it seems like a pause for thought before the series gets back to the main plot, a bit of light fluff before things get dark again. This one's all about Dresden proving himself to the White Council so that they don't throw him to the lions - or vampires, in this case. It moves at a fairly breakneck pace, which helps a lot, and it really doesn't overstay its welcome, plus it brings back the Alphas, which is good, and involves Murphy a lot more heavily, which is also good.

I'm told that the series gets better and better from here on out, in which case I can't wait to read the next one!
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on 19 September 2013
When one thinks of fairies usually what springs to mind is Disney-esque, wasp-winged Marilyn Monroe types or 1920 styled nymphs hanging out at the bottom of the garden. One doesn't usually think of bloody vicious creatures with a taste for pizza and an aversion to iron. Jim Butcher does, however. Big time. In fact in 'Summer Knight', he not only gives them an enormous depth of character, but a fairy (or faery) hierarchy that Shakespeare would be proud of. There's queens, ladies, Queen Mothers and various nobles and dignitaries which makes the UN seem like a youth club.

The book stats off with a mopey Dresden who's in a bit of a state since his girlfriend got bitten by a vampire and left town. He then gets hired to investigate the death of an elderly man who was an agent of the Summer Faery Queen called the Summer Knight. And then he gets mixed up in pretty complex faery politics, complex plots and a massive war.

Just to bring everyone up to speed with the faery thing, there are - according to Butcher -two faery (or Fae) courts: Summer and Winter. Each has a queen, a lady and a queen mother. Butcher describes these as 'The Queen that is, the Queen that will be, and the Queen that was'. The Summer Court is ruled by Queen Titania (see Shakespeare, he was taking notes), her daughter, The Summer Lady Aurora, and Mother Summer, probably Titania's mother. These are sign posted as 'the good guys'. Winter, on the other hand is under the rule of The Queen of Air and Darkness, Mab, the Winter Lady Maeve, and the Mother Winter. These have a massive flashing neon sign indicating they are 'The Bad Guys'.

Got it? Good. Now it gets interesting. Each Fae court has a mortal odd job man called a Knight. He has super powers and carries out various errands for their queens. You know the sort of thing: take out the rubbish, pick up some milk, kill that annoying person. That sort if thing. Anyway, somebody has killed the Summer Knight, and Mab (The Winter Queen. Remember, the Evil One) asks Dresden to investigate. And it gets more complicated from there.

Butcher weaves a solid whodunnit between the delicate wings of faerie politics, mixing in some werewolves, changelings and the inevitable Murphy. This is a good read and presents a sound framework for future novels. The characters are strong and as an adversary Mab is one to watch.

I believe in fairies! I do! I do! I do!
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Of all of Butcher's Harry Dresden novels I have read to date Summer Knight is by far the most enjoyable. Reducing the horror quotient of the previous book in the series, Grave Peril, and upping the insights into the workings of the worlds of magic and the 'faeries', the universe that Harry Dresden inhabits is becoming increasingly more rounded and interesting. Even the character himself is becoming more agreeable company. By the end of Grave Peril his world weary cynicism had been replaced by depression and sadness, and we find him is a similar state at the beginning of this story. During the course of Summer Knight however, he undergoes something of a change and by the end is back to his former, sarcastic, non-conformist wisecracking best.

I just hope that Jim Butcher maintains this standard with the next book. Having become a little disenchanted with the series post Grave Peril after Summer Knight I will once again be keen to find out.

Oh, and as always, word to the wise; if you're new to Harry Dresden buy Storm Front first and work through the series in order. The central stories of each book might work in isolation, but understanding what has gone before is important to the enjoyment of the books.
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on 21 November 2011
So, Butcher's tackled the usual supernatural suspects in his previous books; werewolves, vampires and demons aplenty. Where then to take his wizarding gumshoe Harry Dresden without the series becoming stale? Well, how about into the depths of Faerie to battle trolls and centaurs?

Harry's a bit of a mess at the start of the book, due to the tragic events of his last case. But then he's thrust into a conflict on a global scale as t forces of Summer and Winter gear up for war.

This allows Butcher to throw in a whole mess of new characters and threats, from seductive faerie queens to killer unicorns, ghoul assassins and raging plant monsters. Harry also has to deal with the reappearance of a major figure from his past he thought long-dead.

As ever, Butcher's strengths are to the fore. Not only does he bring some massive setpieces to the table, including a fraught siege in a department store and the cataclysmic end confrontation, but the interactions between his well-developed characters are the usual mix of wisecracks, banter and genuine pathos.

It seems that Harry is facing ever bigger threats as the series progresses; I don't know how long Jim can keep up the breathless pace he's set himself, but hopefully his run of quality will long continue.
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on 19 July 2014
I have to admit I wasn't going to write a review and then I saw that overall the book only had 4.5 stars! What's that about?

I am slowly replacing my paperback and hardbacks with the kindle books. So overall I have spent quite a bit on this series. Why? Because they are great! Read them in order is my advice! If you find them slow or struggle, persevere because these are some of the best fantasy books around and Harry is a hero you can really get behind.

This particular novel finds Harry between a rock, Mab, Winter Queen of the fairies, and a hard place, the White Council who he has dragged into a war against the vampires. Basically you may be about to step into a world with a hero whose battle cry, on a fairy battlefield, is "I don't believe in fairies".
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on 12 March 2013
I like the twists and turns in this series. I read fantasy from time to time as a break from more serious reading and it is hard to find something as well written in this genre. Harry is rather annoying, and the behaviour and responses of many characters are sometimes irritatingly unreasonable and obviously manufactured to support the plot. However, Harry seems to be maturing somewhat and I hope that Murphy will start morphing into a more rounded character too, since her often ill considered actions are surely not normal in a police officer? Having said all of that, I enjoy the supporting cast ... alphas, Michael, and others? Mr Butcher mixes good flowing prose with what seem to be PI/gangster cheap witticisms.
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on 26 January 2015
Thoroughly enjoying this series, but with two small exceptions. Firstly, Harry's female sidekick, Murphy, is beginning to get on my t**s. Their relationship is not a warm one. If I were harry I'd dump her or put some sort of hex on her. She needs to chill and get off his case.
Secondly. Is Harry being sponsored by Coke ?. In most every other chapter he's reaching for the ice box for yet another Coke. As a rule, this sort of thing in a movie is transparent and blatant, but in a book ?. Please Harry, just for once, try a Pepsi or a Dr Pepper. Your teeth must be rotten.
Otherwise, American spelling apart, I'm really enjoying these stories and have downloaded, and almost finished, the first seven books.
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on 30 October 2009
This book forms part of an 11 book (thus far) on-going series, read in order for the best results, wherein the main characters are well rounded, the plots, while slightly predictable, are none the less well crafted and and will surprise the reader with what is often an unexpected route to the stories end. Beware starting to read any of them, if you have anything important to do, or a task you are required to complete. It is unlikely you will manage to put the blasted book down.

Not "high" literature, but super mental chewing gum, I await the other 22 volumes.

I will be repeating this review for all of the other 11 books that I have, they are well worth it.
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on 20 November 2002
That's what I did, and I didn't sleep until I finished Fool Moon(Book 2) which was at 4am.
I came home from school and zipped through Summer Knight till dawn.
Be warned.
Summer Knight is fantastic.
Since the earlier reviewer talked about the plot, I should tell you that Summer Knight has literally laugh-out-loud bits(Harry's awful latin for example)which really add punch and color to the narrative.
VERY cool to actually meet the White Council in this book. Fans of the previous Dresden books will remember mentions of them but this is the first book where you really find out what they're like in person. And you're always finding out more about Harry's past.
Harry really thinks on his feet. His presence of mind in Oh-No-What-Now situations makes you cheer.
I only wish there'd been a bit more of Mab.
Anyway, these are great books for Laurell K. Hamilton fans who
a)are waiting for the next Anita Blake book and
b) miss the zip and vinegar of the early Anita books( ie before all the complications)
In fact, I read about Jim Butcher on an Anita Blake fansite at first.
Read ALL the Dresden Files!!!!!!
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on 4 November 2016
This is Jim Butcher in form. Funny and engaging like all his books I've read so far. Maybe if you read as many of these back to back as I have done they get a little repetitive, but enough changes from book to book for that to not be too obvious. If you like underdog heroes, fantasy set in the real world and you like to laugh, give the series a go, though I would recommed starting with the first.
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