“Ghost Story” Review (Some Spoilers!)

dresden

Well, here we are once more before I travel to Miami on Wednesday. I might not have finished reading every Dresden book, but I’m going to make sure the last two get read and blogged about at some point during my trip. I’ll also most likely have a blog about checking out Wizard World Comic Con in Fort Lauderdale as well. In the meantime, as mentioned above, today’s blog is (against every fiber of my being) going to have a spoiler or two. “Ghost Story” is just chalk full of stuff going on that I wanted to at least attempt to talk about it, unlike what I did with “Changes.” Fair warning, ’cause spoilers start from here on.

After the major cliffhanger in “Changes,” Harry finds himself in a limbo of sorts as a ghost. Given the option to return to Chicago in the hopes of helping his friends and tracking down his killer, he jumps at the chance and starts to learn how to function as a ghost. But when Morty, the spirit medium, is captured by evil forces, Harry must gather up his ragtag friends to save him. Will Harry be able to help everyone and get his just rewards, or will the vengeful spirits of Chicago destroy him once and for all?

As you can tell, this book centers around Harry living life as a ghost and the upsides and downsides of it. Plot-wise, I thought this one was pretty solid. It didn’t feel like it meandered too much away from the main story and, despite my own slow pace at reading it, it didn’t feel like a drag. I enjoyed lots of aspects about Harry adjusting to his ghost “life” He gets help from numerous people/spirits to become just as good of a ghost as he was a living wizard. I liked how he also took more time to reflect on his mistakes and tried to plan his battles more wisely. There are even parts that show glimpses of Harry’s past that I appreciated, if only because it put me further into his mindset. I feel like, even after getting to “know” Harry throughout this series, this book showed he still has a few surprises in him.

Another thing I liked was the progression, for better or worse, of his friends as they’ve moved on without him. The book tries to cover major ones such as Murphy, Molly and Thomas, and it made me all the more happy I read “Side Jobs” first as a lead-in to their changed mindsets (specifically Murphy’s). It was a good if heartbreaking change of pace for these characters, and I’ll admit that while I didn’t feel overly bad for Molly’s plight, I did like her a bit more here for her much more raw attitude. We also learn a little bit more about her brother, Daniel, and even see Butters stepping into more of an action role. Given that there’s a time displacement between Harry’s death and the present, it was nice to see Butcher didn’t cop out on giving the characters some development and changed attitudes.

Speaking of characters, there was one new character I really liked despite his small-ish role in the book: Sir Stuart. He’s a long-dead soldier who convenes with Morty and protects him from danger. I just really liked the guy’s personality and his attitude toward fighting evil, as well as him taking up a bit of a mentor role to Harry during his initial time as a ghost. While something drastic happens to him later that kinda diminishes his persona a bit, I found him to be the most interesting of the new characters shown here (although Fitz the gang member was fine too).

Once again, though, I have minor nitpicks. To be specific, I have ONE nitpick, and it has to do with a major twist involving Harry’s killer that I refuse to give away. I’ll just say this: While I appreciated how it tied back into “Changes”, I also felt a little let down by it. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything complicated, but I felt it was a bit of a disservice to Harry after everything we’d been through with him. It’s not a horrible twist, but the choice to make it what it was just left me feeling lukewarm.

Overall, “Ghost Story” was a great book. I might have had issues with “Changes,” but this book followed through on what that book accomplished in an engaging way. The character and story development here were well done, and the callbacks to other stories and past events in Harry’s life were a nice touch. As usual, if you haven’t read the series up to this point, you really should to get the full experience and allow yourself to appreciate what both “Changes” and “Ghost Story” have set in motion. I’m just excited to move on to “Cold Days” and “Skin Game” to see just where Butcher takes this story next (and be caught up, of course). I can’t promise when I’ll blog next, but I WILL be concluding this series within the next two months. Stay tuned!

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