“Blood Rites” Review

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In two days I’ll be in Miami, able to spend time with my fiance and peruse his Dresden collection at my leisure. As part of my preparation for that (and as an entry for this blog), I finished up the last book in my possession, “Blood Rites.” This one had tons of spoiler-y revelations, so of course I’m gonna keep this as spoiler-free as possible. Oh, and after some deliberation, I’ve decided to nix the rating system I’ve been using in all my reviews. It just felt arbitrary since I try to make my opinion known through my critique. Anyway, that said, let’s sum this one up.

As a favor for Thomas, Harry is put onto the set of an erotic film shoot to find out who’s been targeting and killing the women surrounding the head honcho, Arturo Genosa. It seems the deaths might be magically induced and it’s up to Harry to find and stop the culprit. Harry’s also forced to contend with being a temporary dog owner as well as watching out for Mavra, a Black Court vampire, who’s looking to take him down. And besides all that, Harry learns a few things about both Thomas and his mentor Ebenezar that will change his life.

Once again, I’m going to be direct: I loved this book. I honestly have no legitimate complaints this time around. I was invested in every part of the story from the very first chapter, and the one small complaint I did have involving the Mavra plot was easily resolved by the end of the book. I really have to stop underestimating Jim Butcher’s ability to tie up loose ends. I really enjoyed both plots at work here, as well as the little character subplots like meeting other members of Thomas’ family and, of course, Harry acquiring an adorable-sounding puppy. I knew I’d be in for a good book when it kicked off with his initial rescue of the puppy and its brethren.

There are tons of great character moments here with some of my favorites being from Thomas (nice to learn more about him), Murphy (an inside look at her own family), and Ebenezar (more than he seems). Even Kincaid is brought back and given an expanded role as part of Harry’s 3-man (or 2 man, 1 woman team) to take down Mavra and her goons. We get some of his backstory as well and I hope to see more from him down the line. The twists thrown in here were also well done and didn’t feel at all forced to me. I think part of that is because they act as more than twists and actually add depth to the characters involved. There’s even an effort to continue the coin plot from the last book that I found was executed great. It’s hinted at through the book before being properly addressed at the end and made for a good payoff.

I mentioned earlier the family elements and this book takes that theme and runs with it. As I said, we get to see Thomas and Murphy interact with their families and meet a few of them. The topic of Harry’s mother and father is brought up to counteract these as he’s someone who doesn’t really know what having a family is like, for all the good and bad of them. It was a theme that didn’t feel too in-my-face and I liked how Butcher weaved it throughout the story while still keeping focused on the crime-solving/action-y elements.

Overall, “Blood Rites” is my new favorite Dresden title hands down. It had great action, an engaging mystery, some amazing character moments, plenty of game-changing twists, and a meltingly adorable puppy. Like I said, I seriously have nothing bad to say about it. It’s set a new standard of quality for me.

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