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  • gilwilson 2:55 PM on September 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , terry pratchett, wizards   

    The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel 

    The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel
    By: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, Jack Cohen
    Narrated by: Steven Briggs, Michael Fenton Stevens
    Series: Science of Discworld, Book 2
    Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
    Release date: 01-20-15

    I dabbled in fantasy fiction back in the 80s and part of the 90s. I became curious about the genre after getting addicted to playing the RPG “Dungeons & Dragons.” It seemed I should study the characters in the game, so a friend recommended to me the Discworld books by Sir Terry Pratchett. I immediately was sucked into this humorous romp through the fantasy genre that all happened on disc world which was sitting on top of 4 elephants which were forever fixed upon a turtle flying through space. Weird but fun.

    A few college degrees later I felt as if I grew out of the fantasy genre and became more interested in biographies and sci-fi. Well, the sci-fi was my return to fun and I remembered the Discworld. I thought, well, that’s sci-fi mixed with fantasy. So after a little justification I looked to see what I missed. I then found these Science of Discworld, in which Pratchett and friends started explaining science not just of Discworld but the real world. The lessons in physics and science from these books seemed to soak into my brain better than most of my college classes.

    In this book we return to to the library of the wizards in which they have “created” Roundworld, or rather Earth. This time the elves have discovered the roundworld and wish to make it their own. While the wizards were only interested in the science of such a world they forgot about the inhabitants (humans especially). The elves, not so much. The elves quickly learned how to take advantage of the superstitious creatures of Roundworld.

    The wizards soon have to travel through time to fix and get humans back on track. In doing so this book soon gives the reader an interesting insight to evolution, creativity and language development.

    It’s funny that a book such as this can entertain and educate in such a manner that makes learning fun and really, accidental.

    The audiobook performers are such great comedic actors that you forget your listening to an audiobook but rather travelling to discworld with the wizards. They make the book so much fun to hear.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Roundworld, aka Earth, is under siege. Are three wizards and an orangutan Librarian enough to thwart the Elvish threat?
    When the wizards of Unseen University first created Roundworld, they were so concerned with discovering the rules of this new universe that they overlooked its inhabitants entirely. Now, they have noticed humanity. And humanity has company. Arriving in Roundworld, the wizards find the situation is even worse than they’d expected. Under the elves’ influence, humans are superstitious, fearful, and fruitlessly trying to work magic in a world ruled by logic. Ridcully, Rincewind, Ponder Stibbons, and the orangutan Librarian must travel through time to get humanity back on track and out of the dark ages.
    The Globe goes beyond science to explore the development of the human mind. Terry Pratchett and his acclaimed co-authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen combine the tale of the wizards rewriting human history with discussions of the origins and evolution of culture, language, art, and science, offering a fascinating and brilliantly original view of the world we live in.

    ©2015 Terry Pratchett (P)2014 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 3:24 PM on July 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , wizards   

    “Shadowed Souls” edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes 

    28953620._SX318_“Shadowed Souls”
    edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes
    Narrated by: Jim Butcher, Julia Whelan, Various
    Series: The Dresden Files, Book 14.5
    Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
    Release date: 11-01-16
    Publisher: Penguin Audio

    I just love to read anthologies. Several Short stories with a related theme. It’s like getting a view of the world from different perspectives. I was raised on the Asimov’s Science Fiction anthology magazine and others like it. Then I discovered the same idea but in hardback books or even paperback, and these were usually collections of horror stories. It was how I discovered many of my favorite sci-fi and horror authors, including Jim Butcher.

    This time around Jim Butcher edits (and contributes a story to) this collection, “Shadowed Souls.” This collection contains another favorite of mine, anti-heroes. All the heroes in these stories have something dark about them but they work on the side of right, most of the time.

    The various authors and various narrators in this audiobook keep the excitement rolling. I couldn’t point out a bad story in the lot. My favorite stories are the the first one, “Cold Case” by Jim Butcher, in which we follow the new Winter Lady, Molly Carpenter as she rescues children from the colds of the north but then is forced to realize her reality as a “Shadowed Soul.”

    The last story in the collection was a great way to end the book. “Impossible Monsters,” by Rob Thurman tells of an anti-hero that seeks revenge that is long overdue and at the same time, requires the long time to boil over with revenge. (I’m going to have to look for more from Rob Thurman)

    Publisher’s Summary
    In this dark and gritty collection – featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman – nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil….

    Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

    In number-one New York Times best-selling author Jim Butcher’s “Cold Case”, Molly Carpenter – Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady – must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad.

    New York Times best-selling author Seanan McGuire’s “Sleepover” finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything weird. They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

    In New York Times best-selling Kevin J. Anderson’s “Eye of Newt”, Zombie PI Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner….

    And New York Times best-selling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals with some overdue – and nightmarish – vengeance involving some quite nasty “Impossible Monsters”.

    Also includes stories by Tanya Huff, Kat Richardson, Jim C. Hines, Anton Strout, Lucy A. Snyder, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Erik Scott de Bie.

    Full cast of narrators includes Jon Lindstrom, Sumalee Montano, Mozhan Marno, Karissa Vacker, and Macleod Andrews.

    ©2016 Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes (P)2016 Penguin Audio

  • gilwilson 10:48 PM on December 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: amulet of samarkand, , , bartimaeus, , djinn, jonathon stroud, , , simon jones, wizards,   

    Audiobook Review: “The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1” by Jonathan Stroud 


    Audiobook Review: “The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1”

    by Jonathan Stroud

    read by Simon Jones

    Published by  Listening Library

    13 hours and 30 minutes


    Once again I find myself seeking an audiobook adventure in the world of young adult fiction.  It seems that  YA fiction is filled with many stories of the supernatural, especially wizards.  This is one of those books, or rather series.


    Every coming of age story deals with the confusing times of life when it seems the world just won’t listen when because you are too young and yet you know everything.  This time around eleven year-old Nathanial, a magician’s apprentice, knows there is going to be an attack on London’s magical community, but proving that without giving away that he has been studying more than his mentor has allowed is a tricky situation.


    This story takes place in an alternate timeline in which Great Britain’s Parliament is run by wizards or Magicians.  Nathaniel is adopted through an agency by Arthur Underwood.  The parents are paid large sums of money while the children adopted are made to forget their birth names.  Any being from the nether can use a magician’s real name to take control of the magician.


    Underwood is, at best, a mediocre magician, and does not realize the full potential of his young apprentice.   Nathaniel teaches himself the advance magicks since Underwood will not.  The main reason Underwood does not teach the advance magicks is because he thinks they are too far advanced for the young apprentice.  There is also a bit of a hint through the book that Underwood may not have that strong of a grasp of the magicks to teach them anyway.


    Nathaniel’s troubles all begin when an arrogant, high on the social ladder, magician, Simon Lovelace embarasses him publicly.  Nathaniel retaliates by releasing some mites but when Lovelace beats the mites without breaking a sweat Nathaniel is punished by Underwood.  That’s when Nathaniel  takes it upon himself and go beyond his magical training and summon a demon, or rather a Djinn, demon is pretty much like a racial slur to the Djinn.  The Djinn he summons is the sarcastic Bartimaeus.   Nathaniel tasks Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Lovelace because it seems to be his most prized possession.


    Soon the secret of the Amulet is revealed and the mystery of why Lovelace has it is revealed when Bartimaeus and Nathaniel learn how it was acquired.  The fun and adventures begin as the two race across London to stop the impending doom that is destined to fall on the magic community.


    Not sure yet about the rest of the books in the series, but this coming of age story definitely weaves in the fun with some great sarcasm from Bartimaeus and some really cool magic theories.  I will definitely be looking for the next three books. (Yes, I know it says trilogy but it seems the author has added a fourth book into the mix.)


    Simon Jones does an outstanding job bringing out the voice of Bartimaeus making him a true-to-life character.  Jones does an excellent job throughout the book but he made me really become a fan of Bartimaeus.

    • Audiobook Jungle 2:28 AM on December 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      It’s really good, isn’t it! Actually that was one of the first audiobooks I’ve ever listened to and I loved every minute of it. It’s a very fun story and indeed, the narration is very well done. You should absolutely listen to the next books in the series! 🙂


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

    “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
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , wizards   

    “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
    Tags: , , , , , , , , wizards   

    “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 10:41 PM on September 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ascendance, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , wizards   

    “Ascendance – Part 1 of 2” book 5 of “The Demon Wars Saga” by R. A. Salvatore 

    “Ascendance – Part 1 of 2”
    book 5 of “The Demon Wars Saga”
    by R. A. Salvatore
    Multicast performance
    Produced by GraphicAudio
    approx 7 hours

    Being a big fan of science-fiction, fantasy and supernatural stories, I jumped at the chance to begin reading the “Demon Wars Saga” by R. A. Salvatore.  I first looked at this series and saw there were seven books in the series and knew it would be a fun adventure.  I then found out they were available as audiobooks from GraphicAudio and knew that was a convenient way to get into the saga.  When GraphicAudio first produced these I was so enthralled by the story that they couldn’t release them fast enough.  I then thought well, just go read the books.  That didn’t work because GraphicAudio had me addicted to their superb production quality and presentation that I just HAD to hear these masterpieces of audiobook production.

    You see, GraphicAudio has a slogan, “A Movie in Your Mind,” and they take it pretty seriously.  It shows from the first words spoken in these audiobooks.  The full cinematic feel of these stories is pushed along with superb voice acting and sound effects that come exploding out of whatever sound-system you hear these productions on.  They really know how to suck you into the story.  The storytelling prowess of R. A. Salvatore is enhanced a thousandfold through GraphicAudio’s production quality.  The nice thing is that GraphicAudio separates the books into 2 or 3 parts keeping each edition to about 6 or 7 hours in length.  This is nice in that the books can be absorbed in chunks and then give you time to recover from the experience before continuing.

    So let’s talk about this book.  This is book 5 of the 7 book saga that is “The Demon Wars,” years have passed since the “Miracle of Avelyn” occurred on Mount Aida healing the country of the Rosie Plague.  The Abellican Church is well on its way to canonizing Avelyn, even though he was once called a heretic.

    Jilseponie after losing her husband, the Ranger, Elbryan (Nightbird) Wyndon, has settled in to becoming Baroness of Palmaris and serving the people.  The Abellican church, who realize that with her talent of magic using the holy gemstones would better serve the Church and the folk of Palmaris by becoming a Bishop of Palmaris.  The Bishop being a representative of both secular and church interests.  At this same time King Danube Brock Ursal, king of Honce-the-bear wishes for her to become his wife and Queen.  The King is actually in love with Jilseponie, but the church seems to have a hidden agenda.

    The elves of Touel’alfar took Jilseponie’s unborn son (also son of Elbryan) and raised him to become a ranger even greater than his father and to, hopefully, be the salvation of the elves. The plans of the Touel’alfar go awry due to Aydrian’s own arrogance, cultivated by a dark force he encounters at Oracle.

    The focus of this book is on the development of Adryan and what could possibly be a dark future for all the residents of the land of Corona, elves and humans alike, and GraphicAudio delivers this story with a punch.

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

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

    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 2:12 AM on May 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Kat Richardson, , private investigators, , Simon R. Green, Thomas E. Sniegoski supernatural, wizards   

    Mean Streets by Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, Simon R. Green, Thomas E. Sniegoski 

    Mean Streets
    by Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, Simon R. Green, Thomas E. Sniegoski
    Read by Dion Graham, Richard Poe, Mia Baron, T. Ryder Smith
    Produced by Recorded Books
    Approx 10.5 hours

    So do you like Private Investigator stories?  You know the one where the gumshoe pounds the pavement to solve the crime using only his amazing powers of observation.  “Mean Streets” is a collection of 4 novellas about private investigators that have other powers.  Yes these private dicks all have supernatural powers of some sort to back up their crime fighting skills.  The neat thing about all these stories is, for the most part, they are told in first person, so the listener really is in the head of the P.I.  Each of the readers of the stories does a great job in delivering the story that you feel as though you are listening to the P.I. as he narrates his own noir story.

    The first novella is by one of my favorite authors and his awesome character of Harry Dresden, wizard and private investigator.  Harry has often teamed up with a Knight of the Cross Michael Carpenter, this novella, “The Warrior,” tells the story of what happens after Michael retires from God’s Army.  For the full review click the link below.  This story is read by Dion Graham.  While I’m used to the James Marsters voicing Harry Dresden in the regular Dion Graham really makes Harry his own.


    The second novella is by Simon R. Green, “What a Difference a Day Makes,” read by Richard Poe.   This story contains Green’s character John Taylor, from his Nightside series of books, based in the existing location of the “Nightside”, a hidden area within London in which magic and advanced technology exist.  The Nightside is a place where the lowlifes end up, especially the dead lowlifes.  John Taylor is approached by a beautiful woman named Liza Barclay.  It seems Liza has lost 24hours and needs John Taylor to find them.  Basically she woke up on the Nightside and 24 hours of her memory is missing.  With the help of Dead Boy, a back from the dead adolescent, and his futuristic car, their search carries them to the worst side of the Nightside and looking for Liza’s husband.  What led her and her husband to the Nightside is disturbing indeed.

    The next novella is by Kat Richardson and is titled, “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog,” Mia Baron.  This one is fun romp to Mexico during the Days of the Dead celebrations and features Richardson’s character Harper Blaine.  Harper is a private investigator living in Seattle and was killed while pursuing a case. She was dead for only two minutes and brought back. She is able to recognize witches and vampires, see ghosts and is aware of other elements of the supernatural world . She discovers that her brief death has turned her into a Greywalker, a human able to move back and forth at will through the Grey, the realm that exists between our world and the next.  In this story Harper is sent to deliver a clay dog to the grave of a man on November 1st,  “Día de los Inocentes” (Day of the Innocents).  When she arrives in Mexico, the customs agent drops the clay dog shattering the figure.  As the dog shatters the ghost of a dog appears at Harper’s feet and she realizes this was the package to be delivered.  The mystery of who the man is and who the woman who bequeathed this journey to Harper unfolds to a tale of murder and revenge.

    The final novella is one that delves into the world of angels.  “Noah’s Orphans” by Thomas E. Sniegoski and read by T. Ryder Smith.  This features the character of Remy “Remiel” Chandler,  an angel that wants to be human.  He recently lost his wife and is grieving when Sariel a fallen angel approaches Remy to find out who has murdered Noah.  Yes THE Noah, the ark builder.  Noah has been touched by God and well when you are touched by God your life seems to be extended.  In modern times Noah has been grieving over the ones left behind, the ones he could not save in the flood.  The story reveals that God had two patterns for humanity, and that only one he was happy with and the flood was to clean the slate of the ones that didn’t make the cut.  Noah is murdered as he his trying to find this lost race.  The mystery unfolds and the adventures abound in this interesting take on angel life.  One of the best, or at least most fun, of this story is Remy’s relationship with his dog, a black Labrador named Marlowe.  Remy can speak to animals and can understand them the dog’s words are fun, simple and yet the most informative.  T. Ryder Smith does such a great job when voicing the dog that you actually think you are hearing a dog talk.

    This book is a great collection of supernatural mysteries that only this odd collection of Private Investigators could handle.

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

    “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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