(Note: This review contains minor spoilers for Ghost Story and its predecessor, Changes.)
It should be noted that I’m a big fan of Jim Butcher and his work. I find that he is one of the most gifted plot artists I have ever had the good fortune to read, one of the few who can really write a sprawling detective novel or a fantasy epic and make the smallest details both come alive and become vitally important to the story by the end.
I have read all of the Dresden Files books, and the entire Codex Alera (which I’m very sad is finished, but was completely satisfied by the ending of, save for a sort of melancholy longing for it not to be over).
Ghost Story is Book 13 of the Dresden Files, following the wizard Harry Dresden through his adventures in Chicago and the spirit realm, here called the Nevernever.
Based on the above, it probably won’t come as a big surprise when I say:
I. Loved. This. Book.
Once again, Butcher has proven himself worthy of the crown I think he should have (but probably doesn’t) as the King of Male-Protagonist Urban Fantasy. It has a very different feel than Female Protagonist Urban Fantasy, and there are some fantastic writers in that field, so we can’t make Jim King Of All Urban Fantasy right off the bat.
In the last book, Changes, a lot of stuff happened. Like, a LOT of stuff. In this one, Harry is forced to deal with the aftermath of his choices from Changes with a very particular set of limitations. Namely, of course, that he’s dead.
As a spirit (or shade, as indicated in the book itself), he has to discover who his killer is in order to keep those he loves from coming to harm.
For the first time in the series, Harry is forced to take a really hard look at himself and the choices he’s made, instead of just reacting to the circumstances around him. He’s given an opportunity to really see the effect he has on people, both positive and negative, and it makes for some really compelling storytelling. Butcher is in top form with his world-building, as usual, making the spirit realm of Chicago entirely believable.
If you’re at all a fan of urban fantasy, I highly recommend reading each of the Dresden Files books from the beginning, starting with Storm Front.
If you’re already a fan of the series, you probably don’t need a review to tell you that this one isn’t to be missed. If you went looking for reviews anyway, you can rest assured that you really ought to buy this book.
Final Score: 5 out of 5 stars. Don’t miss this one.