I’m finally back from Megacon! It was a crazy weekend but lots of fun. My fiance and I bought a ton of great artwork and other merch, met cool celebrities like Karen Gillan and Alan Tudyk, and meeting many nice fans along the way. During our stay, I finally wrapped up reading “Dead Beat” among some “Doctor Who” comics I bought at the convention. I do plan to blog about Megacon later this week, but in the meantime, I wanted to get to this long overdo review. While I don’t feel it’s my favorite among those in the series, this book had some big developments for Harry. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
A year after the events of “Blood Rites,” Harry finds his friend Murphy has decided to go on an impromptu vacation. With her away, he soon gets caught up in a devious plot involving blackmail and several people trying to get their hands on an ancient book by a deceased necromancer called Kemmler. The book contains immense power that could turn the user practically into a god. Harry will need every resource at his disposal, including some surprising ones, in order to stop the book from falling into the wrong hands. Will Harry be able to find and destroy the accursed book in time?
Even though I took a while to read this one (hey, staying with my fiance tends to equal lots of distractions), I really enjoyed this one. A lot has happened to the main characters during that year, and the plot involving the necromancy even involved interesting ideas using “zombies” and ghosts. I liked the villains as well, especially new baddies Cowl and Kumori. I felt there was more stake with them getting the book and they had the most interesting subplot of any of the villains.
One of my favorite advancements made was with the Lasciel subplot briefly shown in the previous two books. For those who don’t remember, Lasciel is a fallen angel who possesses a silver coin that Harry picks up at one point. Here, her introduction is properly realized and I was immediately invested in her character. The other character I was interested in was Waldo Butters, who was introduced briefly a few books back. He gets more to do here as he becomes directly involved in the necromancy plot and brought a fresh outsider’s perspective to what Harry does day by day. He even gets his own little character arc through the book that felt realistic and was overall well done.
I have two complaints, one minor and one major. The minor one ties into my love for Murphy and the budding “feelings” Harry has toward her in this book. I completely love these two and while I’m trying not to get my hopes up about them getting together, I felt her current relationship seemed like a strange “opposites attract” situation. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad for her character, but it seems a little odd that she would go for it.
But my major complaint is with the amount of villains in this story. It felt a little like what I like to call “the ‘Spider-Man 3’ syndrome.” Basically, it felt like there were one too many villains in a story when one or two would have definitely sufficed (like Cowl, for example). Luckily, all the villains get their own time to shine, but it just felt confusing from the get-go with so many unknown baddies chasing after the book. And even after they get distinct personalities, I just found some of the motivations to be more interesting than the others.
Despite both complaints, I liked “Dead Beat” well enough. It progressed a lot within the universe and set up a lot of possible future stories and intriguing character developments. I’m especially interested to see more of Lasciel storyline and what lies in store for Harry, both the good and the bad. Give this one a read, but just be warned that you might find yourself gravitating toward a specific villain among the cluster of them.