Welcome to the first book review of 2017! I am NOT used to typing that. Really I’m just not used to typing anymore, it seems. This whole “not biting my nails” thing has been an adjustment. But, for the first time in my life I have pretty, feminine hands that aren’t likely to chip, break, or be covered in Frappuccino Roast or Mocha.
It’s so liberating!
Anyway, a little of the backstory of me and this book.
I’ve been reading Dresden for a while now, and was even a fan of the doomed Sci-Fi Channel (back when it was still spelled that way) series based on the books. Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden will always be my accepted Canon.
So, I’ve read the first five books multiple times, mainly because I keep telling myself that I should reread them in order to get back into the series and finally catch up. Spoiler Alert- that never works. Inevitably I get to book six, Blood Rites, get to about page 60, and then get bored, distracted, or just plain old give up.
It’s been a real problem.
And then, I discovered the magic of Overdrive, and my library’s Libray2Go service. You see, we have a downloadable program, where cardholders can download ebooks and digital audiobooks in addition to the items they check out in person. And that service had Blood Rites as audio.
On a whim, I put it on hold, and waited for it to show up. Honestly, it’d been so long that I actually forgot I was waiting for it until my email notice reminded me that it was now available for download.
At about that time, I was struck with a persistent and angry migraine, and it snowed. Now, snow here in Salem is a big deal. We’ve had four or five snow days here this winter all ready, and that is not typical, so basically the whole town shuts down when frozen water falls from the sky.
So, stuck indoors, in pain and unable to sleep through it, I turned to my audiobook for some sort of entertainment that wouldn’t make me want to vomit. And it was heaven. If heaven can be so painful.
I listened to the bulk of the book in just two days, and promptly put book seven on hold. It’ll be another long wait, but it’ll be worth it.
Now, on to the story!
I think what really made this experience so wonderful was James Marsters’ narration. That’s right, Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the voice of Harry Dresden, and he is phenomenal!
He has Harry’s tone and humor down perfectly, and he does all these different voices for the various characters so that you know at any given time who is speaking. He even yawned part way through a line of dialogue, which made me stop mid-dish scrubbing to say, “did he just yawn?” And then the dialogue tag followed, “I said with a yawn.”
Talk about attention to detail. It’s true when someone says that the narrator can make or break an audiobook. One. Hundred. Percent. True. And Marsters brings this series to life.
As for the actual guts of the tale, without some serious background, it won’t make much sense. The gist is this: Harry takes on a case helping a Porno director fend of an Entropy Curse, all while planning to attack Mavra, a Black Court vampire that’s trying to kill him.
But, the best thing about this book is that it centers around one of my favorite characters in the series, Thomas. He’s a White Court vampire, which means he’s a sexual energy vampire, more or less.
Still basically immortal, still unnaturally strong, but otherwise incredibly human seeming. Which makes him, and his kin, even more dangerous. They don’t mind daylight, and religious artifacts and talismans mean nothing to them. They’re alluring, charming, and undeniably attractive.
But they can kill you just as quick as any Red Court or Black Court vamp (think Dracula).
Anyway, Harry and Thomas have a tense, but hilarious working relationship that fills the majority of the book. Also in this installment, Harry has the first flickering of non-platonic thoughts for Karin Murphy, his Cop friend/occasional partner. While I don’t know yet if this ever comes to fruition, and honestly don’t think it will because Harry and Karin are stupid and stubborn, I was glad to hear Harry at least admit the thoughts were there before he banished them.
And of course, this book is full of mystery, death, magic, and Harry getting hurt. Really, by the end of every book Dresden is lucky to be alive, and is usually in immense amounts of pain and in need of medical attention.
In this respect Blood Rites does not disappoint.
In character development, I found Blood Rites to be wonderful. We learn so much about Harry, Karin, and Thomas that I found the Mavra plotline to be almost distracting from the characters. Don’t get me wrong, those scenes are great and important, but I just wanted to get back to learning about these people!
So in short (too late!), only read this book if you’re reading through the series. You can’t just pick this one up and expect to understand anything. You won’t. But, if you’re a fan of Dresden, this is a very good installment.
And I highly recommend giving this series a try on audiobook! It was so good that, despite owning a print copy, I’d rather wait for my audio hold than just read it.
Who knows when that will be, but be sure that once I’ve listened to Dead Beat, I’ll be right here with another review!
Talk at you soon, Blogland.