“Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, takes on a case as a favor to his friend Thomas — a vampire of dubious integrity — only to become the prime suspect in a series of ghastly murders.”
Thoughts: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher is the sixth novel in the Dresden Files series but maintains the same level of intensity and creativity that occurs in the first five stories. This time, Harry’s battle is as much against familial bonds as it is against the supernatural. Readers learn a bit more about his mysterious past, and secrets are revealed that set the stage for future stories. Even better, the hint of a potential relationship between Karrin Murphy and Harry gets just a bit stronger. This is one development that will be a pleasure to watch unfold throughout the rest of the series.
Since Harry Dresden was first introduced to readers, he has fought against evil wizards, ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, fae, heartbreak, and a shocking lack of money. Throughout it all, Harry has maintained his sense of chivalry and good versus evil. What little is known about Harry’s heritage gives readers the distinct impression that this strong knowledge of black and white is tentative at best, and it is a matter of time before Harry crosses the line. This sense of impending doom adds an extra layer of tension to an already exciting story.
While the stories remain fairly formulaic, Harry continues to show development and growth. Each book allows Harry to take to heart one of life’s little lessons that makes passage through this world tenable. One of the most frustrating things about Harry in the past has been his insistence to fight his own battles and his inability to recognize his friends. In Blood Rites, Harry finally makes the leap to leaning on his friends for help. This is a welcome change that only adds to the already strong sense of humanity that Harry tries so fervently to conceal. Add to that the absolutely charming scenes with his new four-legged friend, and Harry’s appeal only increases.
What can be said about James Marsters that has not already been said? He is Harry Dresden. The sarcasm, the chivalry, the power, the sense of wonder in spite of everything he has experienced – Mr. Marsters makes it all work. After listening to six audiobooks in the series, one would be hard-pressed to imagine anyone else bringing Harry Dresden to life as well as Mr. Marsters does.
Fans of Harry Dresden will need no convincing to continue the series with this sixth novel, although everyone should experience at least one of the stories via audiobook with the masterful James Marsters at the helm. As with the previous novels, Blood Rites ends satisfactorily but leaves an ever-increasing number of potential story lines to make a reader eagerly anticipate future stories. There is an overarching storyline that connects the series together and is an a pleasure to watch unfold.
Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.