“Professional wizard Harry Dresden is investigating a series of deaths in Chicago. Someone is killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry’s half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling’s name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too…”
Thoughts: Among a series that is always enjoyable, White Night feels like a filler episode. These are those episodes before sweeps weeks in which minor storylines end in an effort to clean up the plot before the main storyline can kick back into action full throttle. With Harry’s search for the mysterious serial killer, many subplots connect. Readers finally get resolution on certain plot points that could have been problematic if they had progressed any further. This is not a bad thing, as certain questions are finally answered. There is also more humor and more humanity in this ninth novel. While the action is as dramatic as can be, Harry’s labors to reconcile the horrors with which he battles on a daily basis with his need to protect the innocent are what drive White Night. In fact, his emotional struggles provide the reader with some of the most memorable scenes in the entire series – although the dinosaur scene from the seventh book will always be the best action scene in a novel ever.
This is not to say that the increasingly apparent Big Bad is not still lurking on Harry’s periphery. The main threat is still there and garners several mentions throughout the novel as Harry jockeys to position himself in a favorable manner that will allow him to defeat whatever the Big Bad is. The more hints and mentions of the Big Bad there are, the more anticipation builds, as well as overall concern that Harry may have finally met his match should he ever uncover the full truth.
What makes the Harry Dresden series so successful is Mr. Butcher’s ability to balance the lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek moments with the more emotional drama. Even while he is acknowledging the silliness of the storyline, he throws in elements of true suffering that adds gravity to the more sardonic elements. In other words, Mr. Butcher is able to explore humanity in a series that focuses on the supernatural. It is a balance that is difficult to accomplish successfully for one book, let alone nine or more.
After nine books, I really have nothing more to say on my feelings of James Marsters as narrator of this series. James Marsters is Harry Dresden. Enough said.
White Night is a perfect breather among all the action from the previous novels. It allows readers to discover just how much Harry has changed since his first introduction. While he still faces mortal peril, it takes a backseat to his more mental and emotional battles. The end result is a story that is just as intense as the more action-heavy novels in the series and more satisfying for the greater number of answers given. At the same time, it continues to build anticipation and tension at the possibility of a coming battle with the unknown Black Court. In fact, it is getting quite difficult to avoid immediately reading, or listening, to the next story in the series. Mr. Butcher better start writing faster before I catch up on all of the novels; I don’t think I am going to be able to wait!
Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.