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Book Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Written by Jeremy Shane on Saturday, August 06 2011 and posted in Reviews

Deep into the Dresden Files series, Reading Realms reviews Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 smileys

Cover Blurb:

In his life, Harry's been shot, stabbed, sliced, beaten, burned, crushed, and tortured. And after someone puts a bullet through his chest and leaves him to die in the waters of Lake Michigan, things really start going downhill. But even trapped in the realm between life and death, Harry can't catch a break. He learns that three of his friends are destined to experience unbearable torment and agony. Only by bringing his murderer to justice can he save his friends and move on to what comes next-- a feat that would be a lot easier if he had a body and access to his powers. Instead, Harry must work as a ghost, unable to interact with the physical world, invisible and inaudible to almost everyone. Unfortunately he's not the only specter roaming Chicago. There are malevolent shadows who haven't forgotten Harry's predilection for putting evil in its place while he was alive. And now that Harry's on their turf, they are looking for some serious payback. So the late Harry Dresden will have to pull off the ultimate trick without using any magic-- or face an eternity as just another lost soul.


Harry Dresden is dead... Long live Harry Dresden! As readers know Harry was shot at the end of the last book, him falling into Lake Michigan and his body not found. Also as readers know... that wasn't the end of his story. In 'Ghost Story' Harry is back as-- you guessed it-- A Ghost! It adds an interesting twist to such a long running series. Though I'm not a fan of so many powerful beings playing games and cryptic messages where they 'hint' to the heroes and readers, Butcher at least handles it masterfully. For something I'm critical of, I never found myself pushed away from the story. I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible (though no holds barred in commenting so beware) so I'll discuss the story enough to say that much of it is typical from this type of story. The strange in-between limbo world, being sent back, powerful forces passing along cryptic messages, ghost problems, etc. But I thought the important parts of the book: the people, the emotion was great. Chicago has changed a lot since Harry's 'death', it's been six months since he was shot. Some characters may go in directions a reader won't like, some become more interesting. Morty and Butters made a good showing whereas Murphy and especially Harry's old apprentice Molly were a little worse for wear without Harry in their world. It was interesting to see how things have changed in Chicago without Harry around as well as see some of the consequences of his victory over the Red Court Vampires. More questions than usual went through my head as I read the book. Questions about why someone would do this or that, questions about how this could happen a certain way, etc. I thought Butcher tied it all up well by the end and left me feeling like everything made as much sense as possible. About the only thing left hanging from this story was what happens to Bob (which I'm sure will be touched on in the future). I'm curious to see where Butcher is going with Dresden. I believe he said he was building toward a trilogy like epic story at the end of this series. The last couple books have changed the tone of the series a bit toward a heavier and darker story as we see the built to whatever struggles lay ahead. At the end of Ghost Story we are definitely left with Harry's head on straight and a casual mention of being ready for the battles ahead.

Bottom Line:

I don't think Dresden fans are waiting for my review to pick this book up. I'm sure many of them have already read it. For anyone curious about the series it's one of my favorites and I highly recommend it to fans of urban fantasy. Dresden is such a popular series here it has it's own mega-thread join for anyone that wants to take part in the bigger discussion of the series: THE DRESDEN FILES Thread

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About the Author - Jeremy Shane

Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea.  Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California.  When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead.  Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim.  If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.


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