“Ghost Story” by Jim Butcher (Roc, 2011)

Ghost Story

Jim Butcher returns – a little behind schedule – with his thirteenth Dresden Files book, which was pushed back a couple of months as Butcher explains in his introduction because he needed that extra bit of time to make Ghost Story perfect.  We last left Harry Dresden shot and sinking beneath the waters, left for dead in Changes; between then and now a short story collection was published, revealing some great adventures, as well as some very interesting and important story- and plotlines that hadn’t been discussed in the regular novels.  Now fans finally get to find out what exactly happened to Harry . . . if you don’t want to get spoiled, stop reading.

And Harry is pretty much . . . dead, but then that doesn’t really stop Dresden.  He finds himself initially in a sort of between world which is a different form of Chicago, and gets some help from none other than Murphy’s dad, and before he knows it, he’s back in regular Chicago, only he’s a ghost and can’t be his regular old self.  Harry has to think and work differently now, and employs the help of an old friend, the ectomancer Mort, to get by and help him find out just who exactly executed him, as well as to protect his friends.

Unsurprisingly, Harry gets into more problems and fires than he can handle, real fast, but to use magic in his incorporeal state he must use the power of memory.  Butcher uses a great ploy here to give some great back story and history on Harry and his life that readers have been curious about for many books, to make his magic that more powerful.  Harry doesn’t get to be his usual self as a ghost, so he needs to think about what he does, and be creative about it.  Ghost Story is a more mature Harry that has been overdue, as he must now face his reality for what it is without any pretension.  This thirteenth book represents Harry Dresden at his very best, as he must now begin a new chapter in his life, and this definitely shows in Butcher’s writing and storytelling, setting up for a great next book and a whole new world for Harry Dresden, wizard at large.

Originally written on August 15, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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