Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review - Summer Knight (JS)

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher Book 4 Dresden Files

Review by Jacqui Slaney

If you have read my previous reviews on this writer, you will know how much
I have enjoyed his previous novels. So with yet more time on my hands sitting round hospitals, it was no hardship to know what the next book I was going to add to my Kindle.

This is the description:
Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago's first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the 'everyday' world is full of strange and magical things - and most of them do not play well with humans. That is where Harry comes in. Since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry has been down and out. He cannot pay his rent. He is alienating his friends. He cannot recall his last shower. Then when things are at their worst, the Winter Queen of Faerie saunters in with an offer Harry cannot refuse. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Knight, the Summer Queen's right-hand man, and clear the Winter Queen's name. It seems simple, but Faerie politics seldom work out that way. Then Harry discovers the fate of the entire world rests on this case. So no pressure . ..  Magic - it can get a guy killed
In this book, Harry is forced into investigating a murder, in fact the murder of the Summer Knight of the book title. To human authorities it looks like an accidental fall down the stairs, but apparently it is murder and the accused is none other than the faerie Winter Queen. She is supposed to have also taken the Knights power, which has led to an imbalance and if the accusation if not disproved will cause a war between the two Faerie Courts – summer and winter. The fallout from that could destroy at the very least Chicago. That is enough for anyone, but then you have the added problem of the war with the Red Court and the White Council who seem to want to throw Harry to the vampires to try to stop the war. On top of all that you have a ghoul, a plant monster and an ogre out for his blood, so busy times would seem are ahead for Harry.

These books have been good right from the start, but some rough edges have been smoothed out as the series has gone on, and now in this fourth book, I can honestly say that Harry Dresden is one of my all time favourite characters ( apart from his use of his favourite curse- ‘Hells Bell’ which does grate). Even when things are looking at the worst for him, and you are at a serious point of the story, you can still laugh at something that he does or says. His use of Latin at the White Council meeting is just excellent for example.

You can emphasise with him as well, he such a well written character you can feel the pain that he is going through with the situation with his girl friend Susan, which happened in the last book and he is still blaming himself for.

Murphy as well has developed as the story has gone on; she has changed from a side character that just uses Harry as an aide to her investigations to the one person that Harry can rely on no matter what.
In the last book, she was hurt, and this frailty is continued in this story, but to me this makes her a more rounded, more interesting character, I really like her and the banter between them comes across as natural.

There are other good characters, the werewolf pack from an earlier book are here, older and trying to help Harry, and Meryl the Changeling, who gives the reader a great insight into how Harry is viewed by outsiders, such as the faeries, vampires and the other wizards themselves.

There is lots going on in this book, so there is enough action for anyone and the ending is well written and neatly done.
I would thoroughly recommend this book and series but do read them in order, as otherwise you will get confused at references to earlier occurrences, I myself have the satisfaction that there are quite a few books to go and am looking forward to reading them all.

9 out of 10