Title: Ghost Story
Author: Jim Butcher
Narrator: James Marsters
Audiobook Length: 17 hours, 36 minutes
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 26 July 2011
“When an unknown someone shoots him and leaves him to die, Harry Dresden hopes he might be heading to a better place. Unfortunately, being dead doesn’t make Harry’s life any easier.
Trapped between life and death, he learns that his friends are in serious trouble. Only by finding his murderer can he save his friends and move on—a feat which would be a lot easier if he had a body and access to his powers. Worse still are the malevolent shadows that roam Chicago, controlled by a dark entity that wants Harry to suffer even in death.
Now, 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…”
Thoughts on the Novel: I reviewed this novel when it was narrated by John Glover back in 2013. My thoughts on the novel itself have not changed.
Ghost Story is one of the wackier, more mind-blowing novels in the Dresden canon. The rules as they once existed during Harry’s life are completely turned upside-down during his death, and it can take some time for a reader to adjust to them. At the same time, they provide Harry with a greater knowledge of the spirit world that, if one were to hazard a guess, will be put to good use in future novels.
Even though Harry is technically dead, he is more emotionally fragile than previously seen, which creates some beautifully intimate scenes of memory, loss, and regret. Harry’s lack of a corporeal body exposes the tender heart that normally remains hidden inside his prickly exterior. His reunions and farewells with Mouse and Mister are particularly poignant, and it is a great reminder that Harry is not as emotionally tough as he lets others believe.
Mr. Butcher finally lays bare key portions of Harry’s past. The reader gets many answers to lingering questions as well as exposure to scenes and memories for which there have been many hints but very few details. The reader not only discovers who killed Harry and why but can finally understand Harry’s past as well as how he got to be the man he became. More importantly, Harry gets the time to think and make similar connections between past and present. Everyone needs time for self-reflection, and Harry is no different. His periods of enforced rest, due to the dangerous daytime, provide Harry with that time. While providing Harry with some much-needed introspection, it is nice to see him be able to relax, something that just does not happen in a typical Dresden novel.
Ghost Story is quite clearly a filler novel, but it is still a great filler novel. Some of the answers shared are completely unpredicted and absolutely brilliant in their unexpectedness. Meanwhile, Harry gets closure on certain areas in his life while doing what he does best. By the end of the novel, the stage is definitely set for the series to start building again, but where it is going to go and the adventures that Harry will face along the way are still anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure. It is going to be one interesting ride.
Thoughts on the Audiobook: The news that James Marsters went back into the studio to record the one novel in the Dresden series he did not initially narrate brought shouts of joy across the Internet as fans rejoiced at the news. Upon finishing a reread of Ghost Story as told by James Marsters, there is no doubt the joy was warranted. No one can tell Harry’s story like Mr. Marsters. Listening to him narrate is like reconnecting with old friends, the kind that allow you to pick up the friendship as if there was never a separation between you. He becomes Harry in a way that is uncanny but extremely welcome. In this highly emotional story, Mr. Marsters slips into Harry’s character seamlessly, capturing his emotional highs and more importantly his lowest of lows. Those intimate scenes of reflection and loss are made more emotionally poignant because of Mr. Marsters’ connection with Harry and subsequently with the listener. Upon finishing this stellar story, listeners will have no doubt that Mr. Marsters and Harry Dresden are as perfect for each other as peanut butter and chocolate and maybe even better.