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  • gilwilson 5:31 PM on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , harry dresden, , wizard, wizrd   

    Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15 By: Jim Butcher 

    19486421Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15 By: Jim Butcher
    Narrated by: James Marsters
    Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
    Release date: 05-27-14
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    First and foremost I have to say, I miss Harry Dresden. Ever since I read the first book in the Dresden Files Series, “Storm Watch,” I’ve been hooked. What really got me hooked was listening to the audiobooks read by James Marsters. Marsters uses his voice to completely embody Harry Dresden, the Wizard of the White Council, and Chicago’s only Wizard. I really hope they try another series, this time with Marsters as the lead. The SyFy series “The Dresden Files” was ok, Paul Blackthorn was awesome as Harry, but the writers got it wrong. So try again and since Blackthorn is busy with “Arrow,” cast James Marsters as Harry and you’ll have a hit. Really, he is that good.

    Even if they don’t bring it back as a series, Jim Butcher, I know you’re reading this, get back to writing, who let you out?

    As we join Harry in this 15th entry to the series he is living on the island of Demonreach, unable to reach his allies. Queen Mab decides to sublet Harry and his services. Harry is to help Nicodemus steal something from the vault of Hades. Harry enlists the aid of Karrin Murphy to watch his back.

    Harry and Karrin meet Nicodemus and his crew, which includes Binder and a female warlock, Hanna Ascher, and Anna Valmont, the only surviving member of the group of thieves who had stolen the Shroud of Turin in Death Masks. In what turns out to be a heist to steal the Holy Grail, Harry & Karrin experience all sorts of backstabbing and double crossing. It really wouldn’t be a Dresden book without all that fun anyway.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.…

    Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

    He doesn’t know the half of it.…

    Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains – led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone – to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

    It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

    Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess – assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance.…

    ©2014 Jim Butcher (P)2014 Penguin Audio

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  • gilwilson 7:23 PM on November 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , faery, , harry dresden, , , , ,   

    “Cold Days” by Jim Butcher 

    “Cold Days” (Dresden files book 14)
    by Jim Butcher
    Read by James Marsters
    published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 16 hours

    It was so awesome getting this audiobook in the mail. I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s writing and have been waiting anxiously for this latest installment of “The Dresden Files,” featuring my favorite wizard and all around protector of humanity. I think even if Chuck Norris were a wizard Harry Dresden would still give him a beat down. Dresden is just that awesome. I mean really he’s taken on werewolves, vampires, demons, gods and the three billy goats gruff and manages to keep on for the next day.

    Okay there has been an exception to this, and I’d better approach that before carrying on with this book. If you haven’t read up to book twelve, “Changes,” you may want to skip ahead in this review because this paragraph will contain some spoilers for you. Basically at the end of “Changes” Harry Dresden dies, but what is it like when a wizard dies? In book thirteen “Ghost Story,” Dresden comes back to his hometown of Chicago as a ghost and helps fight of an evil while going all Patrick Swayze on his friends. Then at the end of that book Harry is brought back by the faery Queen of Winter, Mab, because at the end of “Changes” he agreed to serve her as her Winter Knight in order to save his daughter. So he has died but he is so awesome that he comes back to life.

    So now we are at this book, the 14th in the series, “Cold Days.” As per the usual run of any “Dresden Files” book, Harry is faced with many dangers that to any normal person, this includes you, Chuck Norris, would lead to death and the possible end of the world. Harry is now the Winter Knight and as part of his rehab, yeah after being dead he has to go through some intense life-threatening physical therapy, his life is threatened daily by Mab via poisonous spiders, fire, and just about any evil she can come up with for him to fend off. Picture Cato Fong, from the Pink Panther series always surprising Clouseau by attacking, only now make Fong a nearly evil Queen of Winter and Darkness, with unlimited power, and that’s what Harry has to contend with.

    After Harry’s physical rehab, he is assigned a couple of assistant’s of sorts. One is the Cat Sith, no he doesn’t have a red light saber, who is a powerful faerie who is dangerous, and a woman who seems to be Mab’s BFF, but may also have an ulterior motive. Harry is then invited to his own Birthday party to announce the him as the new Winter Knight. There are two simple rules at this party and other than those anything goes. The two rules are 1. No one speaks to Mab unless she says otherwise and 2. No blood is spilled. In Harry’s world, you know one of the rules is going to be broken.

    At the party Mab’s daughter Maeve tries to seduce Harry and pull him to her side, after that fails a Red Cap powry tries to get Harry angry and spill blood, but Harry manages to maintain his cool and receives his first order from Mab; Kill Maeve. So to start things out Harry has to kill an immortal (one who can’t be killed).

    Harry then is allowed to return home to Chicago and in order to find a way to kill Maeve he retrieves his wizard’s equivalent of a computer, Bob. Once he’s on the trail to find out how to kill that which cannot be killed Harry figures out he’s going to need his friends not because of Maeve but because his island, Demonreach, is about to explode and take Chicago with it. So with the help of his apprentice, Molly, his half-brother the vampire, Thomas, the faery general, Toot-toot, and more Harry has to stop a mystical island from exploding, save Chicago, avoid being killed by the Earlking and his hunt and kill an immortal. Oh yeah, and he’s only got 1 day to do it.

    As a side note and a bit of a spoiler, Harry gets to meet Santa Claus and even kicks Santa’s butt in a battle. Funny stuff and great adventure in this latest adventure from Jim Butcher. If you haven’t launched yourself into the Dresden Files yet, get on it.

    As a final note I have to talk about the reader of this audiobook, James Marsters. Actually reader doesn’t do it justice, Marsters is the performer of this audiobook. James Marsters has become a fan favorite as reader of the Dresden Files books and when he was busy with an acting gig and couldn’t do the “Ghost Story” novel, many fans were upset, including me. Marsters, is best known for his role in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” as the vampire, Spike. His performance in the Dresden books is way above par. He captures the character of Harry Dresden perfectly by being able to vocalize all of the between the lines stuff, such as emotion, history and even the awesome use of sarcasm and snarkiness. Not only does he portray a great version of Harry Dresden, but there are times that while listening to the book it almost sounds like a multi-cast performance with Marsters doing some great vocal gymnastics to represent each character. Thanks to Marsters, the faery General Toot-toot comes to life in full 3-D representation. He definitely adds one more plus to these already great books.

     
  • gilwilson 10:38 PM on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    “Ghost Story” The Dresden Files, Book 13 by Jim Butcher 

    “Ghost Story”
    The Dresden Files, Book 13
    by Jim Butcher
    read by John Glover
    Produced by Penguin Audiobooks
    Approx. 18 hours.

    Whew! I just finished the latest novel in the Dresden Files series from Jim Butcher, and let me tell you I’m relieved.  In the last book, “Changes,” Harry Dresden died, worse yet, he was assassinated.  I, along with many other Dresden fans, were left hanging.  I mean, c’mon, it can’t end this way…Harry can’t die!  Okay, he’s not immortal, but really, it IS called the “DRESDEN Files.”  I had to wait about a whole year to find out what happened.  I know in comic books they sometimes bring back heroes from the dead, but I really didn’t know how Jim Butcher was going to get by with this one.  Sure he’s written a novel about Spider-Man and knows the tricks, but with the Wizard Harry Dresden, that’s not the same.

    Finally I got to put the audiobook on and sit back and listen.  But wait, the publishers threw another curve at us fans.  Really it wasn’t the publisher’s fault but, Wow! it was a big problem.  James Marsters, who has become the voice of Harry Dresden in the audio books, was not available for the production.  If you don’t know, all these novels are told in first person, and Marsters made Dresden POP!  Marsters became Dresden and vice versa.  So who do we get now?  John Glover.  To give Glover some cred, he did portray Lionel Luther in the TV series of Smallville, and he knew the kind of superhero attitude that lives within Harry Dresden.  Okay, I’ll give him that.  I can’t say that he did a bad job of this, because he didn’t, in fact when voicing the other characters in the story, Glover shined, but it just wasn’t Marsters voice behind Harry.  It seemed more of an inconvenience but as the story progressed, Glover did a great job, I just have a thing for Marsters’ voice as Harry.  Had I never heard the Marsters version I would say Glover was awesome, but for right now Marsters is my favorite, just like Tom Baker is my favorite Doctor from the Doctor Who series.   Sure other actors do a great job, but I will always hold my favorite.  Maybe I can look back later and say Marsters was a great Harry Dresden and Glover was a great Harry Dresden’s Ghost.

    We start out this story with Chicago’s resident wizard, Harry Dresden, contemplating his death.  He sees the light down the tunnel, but lo’ and behold, the light is a train.  Harry is ready to take this head on when he is whisked away from the tracks from Carmichael, a former Chicago Police Officer that specialized in paranormal type of crimes.  Harry saw Carmichael ripped to shreds by a loup garou years ago, so he knew he was still dead, the problem is what is going on.  Carmichael takes Harry to the police station in the “In Between” Chicago, where Harry is told that before he moves on he must find out who killed him.  If Harry doesn’t do this 3 people in Harry’s life will be hurt.

    Harry had just recently found out he had a daughter and was assassinated just after he saved her by wiping out the entire race of Red Court Vampires.  This genocidal act was done by pulling some favors from some unsavory characters and created a void in the supernatural power struggle of the world.  When Harry is sent back to Chicago (as a ghost) 6 months have passed since his death and the world has changed reflecting that void trying to be filled.  His first stop is at the home of Morty the Ectomancer (one who can communicate with spirits).  He finds Morty’s home under attack by wraiths and being guarded by ghosts of Morty’s ancestors.

    After a very cool battle Harry learns some of the secrets of being a ghost.  First off ghosts’ power comes from memories, and in order to fight one must expend that memory energy, but the cost is that with each expended memory the ghost loses a little of itself until it becomes a murderous wraith.  Harry’s magic as a wizard is no longer effective against the living and he becomes a beginner in relearning the magicks of the ghost world.

    Harry then learns what has happened to his old friends, Karrin Murphy, a former Chicago cop who now fight against the supernatural threat with a team of werewolves, vikings (courtesy of the mob boss Gentleman John Marcone) and Waldo Butters, former coroner now the owner of Bob, the spirit form of a former wizard now the supernatural equivalent of the internet.  Occasionally they get the help of Harry’s former apprentice, Molly, who seems to have lost a bit of her mind in the battle against the Red Court and now goes by the name of “The Rag Lady.”

    Helping his former friends now becomes a priority and Harry seems to have forgotten his task of solving his murder.  But leave it to Harry (via the great writing of Jim Butcher) to manage to work the two into the same task.    Throughout the story Harry gets hints as to who his murderer is but can’t seem to grasp the answer.  Here’s where I was a bit miffed, because I had it figured out at the first hint.  But through the twists and turns that make the Dresden Files stories so great we find out why Harry doesn’t get it.  (Thank you Jim Butcher for the awesome storytelling.)

    Another thing that grabbed me at first was why wasn’t Harry’s Brother, Thomas, not involved? What Happened!?!?  But alas Butcher had that figured out as well.  Yep, this is one of those books that you have to get to the very end before it all soaks in.  Great Stuff.

    But what happens next?  I think I’ve got it figured out, and yes it looks like Butcher will be releasing a new book in the series, “Cold Days,” so it looks like we’ll get more.  Again, I say, “Whew!”

     
  • gilwilson 8:55 PM on April 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    “The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle” Graphic Novel by Jim Butcher 

    “The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle”
    Graphic Novel
    by Jim Butcher
    Illustrated by Ardian Syaf
    Published by Del Rey (2008)

    Jim Butcher confesses in the preface to this collected edition, that when he writes a Harry Dresden story he pictures the action in comic book form and I found it interesting that as I read each new novel my mind immediately interprets into a comic book /animation format.  Jim says it’s because he collected Marvel comics for a large part of his life, maybe that’s my reason also.  I find it amazing that he and I shared the same passion, if only I had turned that passion into great writing like he did.

    Anyway, these stories were originally published in comic book form in four issues.  This edition collects those comics into one graphic novel and includes a section with extra artwork representing the covers and character development sketches.  Reading this story in comic book form allows the reader to enjoy the action with some great artwork.

    This story is a prequel to the Dresden files taking place just before the first book , “Storm Front.”  A side note here “Storm Front” has since been adapted to graphic novel form.

    After a security guard at the Lincoln Park Zoo is found dead at the zoo, the police immediately think that a gorilla named Moe is to blame.  Special Investigations Lt. Karrin Murphy, doesn’t think it fits that the gorilla escaped, killed the guard and locked himself back in the cage.  So she calls in the only guy capable of handling the world of the weird, Chicago’s own wizard, Harry Dresden.  Harry has to find what actually happened and present it to Murphy so the officials can somewhat swallow the story.  Harry is soon attacked by  several jungle cats, a black dog and a hag.   With some help from Bob the skull, Harry finds out what is killing but now he has to figure out how to stop them or more than just the zoo will be in trouble.

    With excellent Jim Butcher storytelling and beautiful artwork “Welcome to the Jungle” is a great introduction to the Dresden files series.

     
  • gilwilson 7:45 PM on March 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , harry dresden, , , , , side jobs, ,   

    “Side Jobs” by Jim Butcher 

    “Side Jobs”
    by Jim Butcher
    read by James Marsters
    Produced by Penguin Audio
    approx. 13 hours

    While still rushing with adrenaline from the huge cliff-hanger at the end of the last Dresden book, “Changes, ” I’m looking everywhere I can for my Harry Dresden fix.  If you haven’t read any of Jim Butcher’s series, “The Dresden Files,” you are seriously lacking in your fun, exciting detective story romp through the supernatural reading.

    Harry Dresden is a wizard and a private detective protecting the city of Chicago.  His adventures have taken him through the land of the Faeries, off fighting werewolves and vampires and even Gruffs (you’ll have to read about that one).  His support staff consists of some college students who spend their evenings as werewolves protecting their neighborhood, Karrin Murphy at first a lieutenant for Chicago P.D. Special Investigations, but later demoted to Sargeant,  Thomas his half-brother and White Court vampire, Bob a spirit of a wizard locked within a skull (the wizarding world version of a computer), Mouse a giant Temple Dog, Mister an oversized cat, and on occasion, Gentleman John Marcone Chicago’s biggest mob boss.

    With that team you’d think Harry would be able to take on anything, well in general he can, but for the most part it’s his luck that doesn’t hold out.

    “Side Jobs” is an anthology book set in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series.  Most of the stories were published in other anthologies but finally here they are in one book, in chronological order of appearance in the time stream of the Dresden Files books.   I had read many of these before because seeing a Jim Butcher story in an anthology, I had to read them at the time of release.  There are a couple of stories that were only available on the website and a new one that takes place just after the previous book in the series.  This collection contains the following short stories:

    “Restoration of Faith,” takes place before “Storm Front and originally published on Jim-Butcher.com. This story tells a little of a backstory on Dresden as he was working to get his private investigator’s license.  Harry rescues a little girl from a troll under a bridge.

    “Vignette” takes place between Death Masks and Blood Rites and was originally published on Jim-Butcher.com.  This one is a very short  fun story about Bob and Harry trying to write the perfect yellow pages ad.

    “Something Borrowed” was originally published in “My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding,” and takes place between “Dead Beat” and “Proven Guilty,” is about Billy and Georgia’s (werewolves that help Harry from time to time) wedding day.  Harry saves Georgia from a faerie and in doing so wrecks their wedding day, but they do live happily ever after.

    “It’s My Birthday Too” was originally published in “Many Bloody Returns” and takes place between “White Night” and “Small Favor” and depicts a day when Harry is trying to give his vampire half-brother, Thomas, a birthday gift but ends up saving Thomas and some “larpers” from a Black Court Vampire.

    “Heorot” was originally published in “My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon” takes place between “White Night” and “Small Favor” and is the story of Harry rescuing a missing bride with the help of Miss Gard, a Valkyrie and agent of Gentleman Johnny Marcone.  This one mixes in some Norse Mythology into the Dresden world.

    “Day Off ” was originally published in “Blood Lite” and takes place between “Small Favor” and “Turn Coat”.  This is a very funny story in which Jim Butcher explores the bad luck Dresden faces when trying to take a day off.  Harry’s apprentice is blowing up lab, the werewolves have fleas and a wannabe wizard is bombing the house.  “It’s my day off!”

    “Backup: A Story of the Dresden Files” (Mike Mignola illustrations from the first edition not included)  novelette from Harry’s brother, Thomas’ POV, originally published by Subterranean Press, takes place between “Small Favor” and “Turn Coat.”  Harry is being used by an ancient evil, and Thomas must put a stop to it without him noticing.  This story explores more of the “Oblivion Wars” which have only been mentioned in  earlier books.

    “The Warrior” was originally published in “Mean Streets” and takes place between “Small Favor” and “Turn Coat” reveals what happens to the Carpenter family after the events of “Small Favor.”  Michael Carpenter was a Knight of the cross, weilding the sword Amoracchius to battle for God.  At the end of “Small Favor” Michael was battered to the point where he lost function of one of his eyes and some limbs.  Michael will still battle when his family is threatened but will the take up the sword again?

    “Last Call” was originally published in “Strange Brew” takes place between “Small Favor” and “Turn Coat” and tells when Harry takes on the darkest of dark powers–the ones who dare to mess with this favorite beer.  Someone is lacing Mac’s Home brew with a psycho-control drug, and Harry must stop them.

    “Love Hurts” was originally published in “Songs of Love and Death: Tales of Star-Crossed Love” and  takes place between “Turn Coat” and “Changes.”  Harry and Murphy investigate a series of love spells with deadly consequences.  This also shows another side to the Harry / Murphy relationship.

    And finally a new novelette exclusive to the anthology: “Aftermath” which takes place 45 minutes after “Changes” and is told from Karrin Murphy’s point of view. She must help find a kidnapped werewolf.  All through this story Murphy is using what she has learned from Harry while at the same time mourning his “possible” death.

    If you haven’t read any Dresden novels you may want to pick this one up, as it is a great introduction to the fun to be had.   While I’m recommending, if you are into audiobooks, I highly recommend this in audiobook form.  As are all the Dresden Files audiobooks, it is read by James Marsters (you know, Spike from the Buffy the Vampire Hunter Series).  Marsters voice captures the wit and wisdom of Harry Dresden, and being that all the novels are told in first person you feel as though Harry is talking directly to you.  If the Sci-Fi channel would have cast Marsters as the lead in the short lived Dresden Files series, I think they series would have done much better….just sayin’.

     
  • gilwilson 9:41 PM on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audible frontiers, , , , , , harry dresden, , , , , , , , ,   

    “Strange Brew” Edited by P.N. Elrod 

    “Strange Brew”
    Edited by P.N. Elrod
    Multiple readers
    produced by Audible Frontiers (2009)
    approx 12 hours.

    In continuing my search for more Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” stories I find another collection of short stories that have a few of my other favorite supernatural authors and I may have found a few more.  This book features 9 stories all dealing with the supernatural, in particular witches, wizards and potions.  There is no Professor Snape to let this lot know if they are doing it right or wrong, but for the most part they all get it right.  The nice thing is that for most of the authors in this book, they have a running series and these short stories take place within the realm of that same series and for the die-hard fans, here’s one more source for some quick pleasure while waiting for that next book.

    Each story has their own reader thus giving this collection in audiobook form a better sound of being different stories from different authors.  Now let’s talk about each story one by one.

    “Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs:  Patricia Briggs returns to the world of Mercy Thompson, but follows an entirely new character – the witch (Wendy) Moira Keller. Tom Franklin, werewolf and second in the Emerald City pack, shows up on Moira’s doorstep asking for her help in finding his kidnapped brother Jon, Moira cannot refuse him, even though it could mean her death. For Moira is no ordinary witch, and she has a dark past connected to those who have taken Jon – the Samhain Coven, led by the cruel and power-hungry Kouros. Together, Moira and Tom set out on Jon’s trail, using her magic and Tom’s strength to discover Jon’s fate, and to face Samhain once and for all.

    “Last Call” by Jim Butcher:  Harry takes on the darkest of dark powers–the ones who dare to mess with his favorite beer. All Harry wants to do after a long hard day of wizarding and private investigating is have one of Mac’s famous home brews and possibly a steak sandwich, but when Harry, walks into Macanally’s, he finds the place in disarray, not the normal planned disarray but one which finds several tables turned over, customers and Mac,himself, unconscious.  Harry then finds that the home brew has been tampered with and a deeper darker mystery unveils in which an ancient being wishes to take over Chicago.  This story takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.

    “Death Warmed Over” by Rachel Caine: This story takes place in a world where witches moonlight in extremely specialized fields. Holly Caldwell is one such witch with a rare affinity for resurrecting the dead, working at her day job when she receives a last minute email from her other boss, Sam – a request for a “disposable,” or a long-term resurrection from the local police department. Holly has sworn off disposables ever since her first and last job – because of the pain her impossible relationship with the resurrected caused her. Now, Sam and the police want Holly to raise the same man from her past, a powerful witch named Andrew Toland who died in 1875 fighting an army of resurrected dead gone violent (or more commonly, zombies). Though it pains her to reopen a relationship that is in all ways impossible, Holly breathes life back into Andrew. Unfortunately for them both, only later do they learn that someone has been killing resurrection witches, and Holly is next on the list.  This turns out to be kind of a creepy love story of sorts that has a twist in the mystery unfolding.

    “Vegas Odds” by Karen Chance: The longest story in “Strange Brew” is Karen Chance’s “Vegas Odds.”  The story bursts with excitement from start.  Half-Were Lia and her boyfriend Were Cyrus destroy her house while under attack from a group of War Mages.  From there the listener is thrwon into a world full of magic and a strong instantly likeable heroine while never letting up on the non-stop action.

    “Hecate’s Golden Eye” by P.N. Elrod:  Yes even the editor gets into the action with a story from her Vampire Mysteries series featuring the Vampire Noir, Jack Fleming and his partner Escott from 1930’s Chicago.  Fleming and Escott are asked to recover a stolen heirloom–a rare yellow diamond with a curse. Any man who touches it DIES. Of course, since Jack’s already dead he should be immune, right? Maybe, maybe not.  Mix in some con artists and a homicidally violent mad Irishman and see what happens!  Just picture the old film noir detectives, but picture one as a vampire and you have this fun tale.

    “Bacon” by Charlaine Harris:  A beautiful vampire joins forces with a witch from an ancient line to find out who killed her beloved husband.  This story has the funniest ending and is worth the purchase of this book alone.  This story takes place in the world of Sookie Stackhouse (you know, from “True Blood” fame) featuring the vampire Dahlia.  There was a previous Dahlia story in the anthology “My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding,” and Dahlia does appear in “All Together Dead.”

    “Signatures of the Dead” by Faith Hunter:  The story is told from the perspective of Molly, a witch who is asked by the police to track down a group of killer vampires. The star of the story is actually Jane Yellowrock, skinwalker and vampire hunter, who has the job of actually finding and exterminating the vampires. This story is an introduction for the Jane Yellowrock character, who is going to be the protagonist of her own series of books.

    “Ginger: A Nocturne City” by Caitlin Kittredge:  This is the story of werewolf detective Luna Wilder’s witch cousin Sunny Swan. This thriller is a morality tale of sorts showing how doing the right thing can get you into more trouble then you can imagine, and that in everyone is the will to get done what needs doing. Who knew that the small task of supporting her cousin by visiting the trial she is testifying in will lead her into the dark depths of Nocturne’s City underworld?

    “Dark Sins By” Jenna Maclaine: Recently turned vampire, witch Cin Craven may be the strongest witch in existence if she knew how to use her magic. This small fact allows for the imprisonment of Cin and her companions The Righteous a group of vampires that act as judge, jury, and executioner of their own kind.

    So if witches are your cup of tea, check out “Strange Brew.”

     
  • gilwilson 4:38 AM on June 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , battle of wizards, , , changes, , , , harry dresden, , , ,   

    “Changes” Book 12 of “The Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher 

    “Changes”
    Book 12 of “The Dresden Files”
    by Jim Butcher
    Read by James Marsters
    Produced by Penguin Audio, 2010

    As I eagerly began this book, yeah, I was pretty much salivating at the promise of a new Harry Dresden, wizard for hire, novel, I was not aware that the title would speak volumes as to what is in this book.  I have to warn you, while I’m not one for spoilers, ther may be one or two that slips in this review, it’s hard keeping it to myself.  Harry Dresden’s life and the lives of those around him are going to go through major changes in this book.

    First let’s sum up what’s up with these books.  Harry Dresden is a wizard of the White Council.  The White Council is the world’s wizards that police the world’s population’s use of magic.  They do all they can to prevent black magic from occurring.  The White Council is at war against the Red Court of Vampires.  Vampires are represented by 3 courts, Black, the ones closest to the Nosferatu image of vampires, White, the ones that don’t drink blood but live off the energy of a human, and the Red, these are the ones that look bat-like but can create a flesh mask to hide their true selves.  The Red Court want to rule the world.  Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan was halfway converted to a Red Court vampire, all she needs is to take human blood to become a full-fledged vampire.  To avoid this she ran off to South America to find a group that is fighting off the urge to become full fledged vampires and to battle from within the Red Court.

    Harry Dresden is a black sheep when it comes to the family of wizards, when his mother died he was raised by his uncle who turned Harry to the “Dark Side,” but Harry was too young to realize there was another choice.  Harry managed to be turned over and trained by Ebenezer a White Council member and the only wizard capable of bearing the Black Staff.  The Black Staff gives the wizard the ability to break any laws of magic to protect the laws of magic.   Harry also has a Fairy Godmother, a real godmother who is a powerful Fairy.  Serious Magic there with the Faery and Fae.  The Queen of Winter of the Faery court has been trying to recruit Harry to become her Knight, basically the Queen’s body guard and errand boy, but with killer intentions.

    Wizard Dresden also has help from an odd collection of assistants, Harry’s half-brother is a Vampire of the White Court, Harry’s Apprentice Molly is being taught how to become a wizard after nearly slipping to the “Dark Side.”  She is also the daughter of Michael Carpenter a Knight of the Cross (yes THE CROSS).  Harry’s best friend is a Chicago cop working in the strange crimes division, Karrin Murphy, Harry’s computer of sorts, Bob, a wizard spirit kept in a human skull that knows pretty much everything in the history of magic,  and finally Harry’s 2 pets  Mister, a huge fat cat, and Mouse a huge Chinese Temple Dog.

    So that’s where we stand with some great magical fights and some great team work through all the Dresden files books, until we get to this one.  Here’s where it all “Changes.”

    At the beginning of the book Harry gets a call from his former girlfriend, Susan, saying that the Red Court has kidnapped their daughter.  Harry has a daughter? Yep, that’s news to him also.  Now it’s personal, with some emotional moments Harry decides he’s going to do everything he can to get back his daughter.  But first Him and Susan and Martin, here protoge in the Red Court underground go to the building where Harry has his private investigator/wizard for hire office.  Red Court attacks Harry’s office building is blown up…no more office and that is only change #2 in a long series of changes.

    His first choice is to see if he can get help from the White Council of Wizards, after all they are at war against the Red Court.  Talk about bad timing the Duchess of the Red Court is making an appearance before the White Council at the same time Harry arrives.  What a chance Harry has now to demand his daughter back, except in order to protect his daughter he does not reveal to anyone that she is his daughter only a little girl kidnapped by the Red Court.  It seems the Duchess is there to promote peace and a cease fire in the war.  There goes the White Council’s help.

    Harry then turns to “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone, Chicago mob boss.  Marcone cannot help but steers him to a security firm that can help.  After a trip to Europe, Harry is presented to an extremely powerful being, could it be?….Thor’s father, Odin?  He cannot help but does provide some tools.

    Harry eventually gather’s what forces he can and heads to the Mayan temples in Mexico.  It seems the Red Court is using Harry’s daughter to perform a blood curse ritual.  Using the girl as a sacrifice, this will kill all in her bloodline.  Harry is the target.  So with the final Knight of the Cross, a cop, a white court vampire, an apprentice, a temple dog, and his fairy godmother Harry is off to Mexico.

    At the end is a huge battle that features some serious magicks, and gunplay that would make John Woo proud.  The big event is what Harry has to sacrifice in order to go to Mexico.

    Okay…I’m not sure how to say this but the end of the book left me flabbergasted.  After the huge battle the world of Harry Dresden changes.  I’m doing everything I can to keep from telling you the end so I think I will stop here.

    Great book…get it.

     
  • gilwilson 2:56 AM on April 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , harry dresden, , , , ,   

    “The Warrior” A short story by Jim Butcher in the collection “Mean Streets” 

    “The Warrior”
    A short story by Jim Butcher
    in the collection “Mean Streets”
    Multiple Authors
    Multiple readers
    Produced by Recorded Books
    approx 2 hours (for this story)

    I am getting ready to listen to the latest novel about Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher, “Changes” but I had downloaded and put on my iPod this story that occurs earlier in the timeline of the Dresden Files.  So, I’m listening to this one first.  The entire collection runs about 10 hours in audiobook form and I am continuing with the rest of the book, but I had to stop and let you know about this story.

    Before we go further let me tell you about the book “Mean Streets.”  This collection of original novellas tied to popular crime/fantasy series which include; Thomas E. Sniegoski’s “Noah’s Orphans,” angel PI Remy Chandler must solve the murder of the biblical Arks builder, whose battered corpse is found on an abandoned oil rig. Simon R. Green writes with a slight humor that is similar to that by Jim Butcher in “The Difference a Day Makes,” in which PI John Taylor assists a woman who wandered into the the “nightside” a world hidden within London, and another noir type story by Kat Richardson’  “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” neatly merges noir conventions with a fantastical plot.  I’ll let you know how those go when I finish the entire collection.

    “The Warrior” by Jim Butcher Reveals what happens to the Carpenter family after the events of Small Favor, this story takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.

    Michael Carpenter, a former Knight of the Cross has turned in his sword, Amoracchius.  The weird part is that an Archangel has decided that Harry Dresden, wizard and non-religious, hold the sword until it’s new rightful bearer can be find.  Harry, from a previous battle, after the death of another Knight of the Cross, Shiro Yoshimo, has possession of another sword, Fidelacchius.  Many in the church cannot accept the fact that Harry, an non-believer, has possession of 2 of the 3 swords.

    In this story someone is sending Harry photos of the now retired and recovering Michael Carpenter.  Harry assuming that Michael is in danger, goes to the Carpenter home and tries to warn him.  On the way Harry saves a little girl from being run over by a car.  At first this may just seem like a simple piece of the story, maybe more of a filler, but at the end that action makes the world a better place.  That’s the way Harry rolls.

    Upon arrival at the Carpenter house, Harry explains the photos and concerned the Carpenters have Harry spend the night for safety’s sake.  During the night someone tries to steal the swords, luckily Harry expected this and had fakes in plain sight while the real swords were hidden.  On chasing down the thief, harry discovers the man is military trained and protected to an extent against magic.

    Harry and Michael track down who is trying to steal the swords and along the way Harry learns about faith and goodwill.  Great short story here in the world of the better wizard named Harry.  Now to finish this book and get on with “Changes.”

     
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