Author: Jim Butcher
Narrator: John Glover
Audiobook Length: 17 hours, 56 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction
Bottom Line: Snark-filled and yet surprisingly poignant, it is Jim Butcher at the top of his game.
“When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.
But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.
To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…”
Thoughts: First thing first, John Glover is no James Marsters, which means he is no Harry Dresden. Goodness knows he tried though, and one should give him credit for having the courage to step into a narrating role that could never be surpassed. While it is not necessarily fair to compare the two narrators, Mr. Marsters has narrated the first twelve novels, and he has a comfort level with the characters and the story that Mr. Glover just could not match. Mr. Glover does not have the world-weariness, the ever-present sarcasm, the earnestness, and the anger that gives Harry depth. His pathos and his rage were just not strong enough, especially given everything that has brought Harry to his ghostly state. Even worse, his voice cracked. Multiple times. It was as odd as it was unexpected and something completely out of character for Harry. Overall, it was a disappointing audio experience even if it did confirm the theory that Mr. Marsters and Harry belong together.
That being said, 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.