Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Grave Peril (Dresden Files #3)" by Jim Butcher

Cover from Goodreads
This review features a book that is the third in the series, and may have minor spoilers for those who have not read Storm Front and Fool Moon. My critique of Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) can be found here.

By now you should know I'm a sucker for the Dresden Files, not that I'm completely taken with them, but these books are devilishly paced, funny, dorky, and a tad romantic. This third installment only took me a day to dismantle, and I'm coming to the realization that the Dresden Files are a bit like potato chips- once you eat one, you can't help but devour the next.

The Plot:
Harry Dresden cannot abide not helping a damsel in distress, and the latest, Lydia, is worried about a ghost stalking her. Naturally chivalrous, Harry gives her a charm to ward off harm from vengeful spirits, and sends her on her way, only to have to face down another vengeful spirit with help from his friend (and Fist of God) Michael. But with his fairy godmother out to steal his freedom, the border separating Nevernever and our world becoming increasingly wonky, and someone trying to torment ghosts into grave actions, will those he holds dear remain among the living?

I noticed a theme in the negative reviews of Grave Peril, what I'm now referring to as the Boobs Debacle. My fellow female reviewers noted an absurd amount of breast descriptions, and so I took action and highlighted each one I came across. At the end of my endeavor, I found 11 bosom mentions- some of them involving the same character. I did the math, and that amounts roughly one reference to a set of breasts per 34 pages, which is more than the average romance novel. Unfortunately, in my reading of romance novels, I've never highlighted breast mentions, so I have no conclusive proof, but most romance novels are told from the girl's point-of-view, and therefore less skeevy. Perhaps the editor for the content of this edition didn't do his job, because although Harry is a self-described chauvinist, his descriptions of females have never been this titillating and top-heavy before.

In this episode, Harry's past becomes a bit clearer, and his relationship (or friends with benefits, as I see it) with Susan gets more serious. At the same time, women are throwing themselves at him for ulterior motives, but I find it odd that such a normal-looking guy would have such delusions things happen to him. I'm a bit torn about the odd throw-ins (like that) that are appearing in the book- with little to no reason for them to be there. I understand I'm not the target audience for this book, but I dislike all the females fawning over Harry as much as I dislike all the males fawning over the heroine of a romance novel. It comes across as disturbing and unrealistic.

Harry is still neglecting himself, and remains Captain Unprepared by not having anything helpful on hand during his adventures (someone else brings useful things to the action scenes). I'm starting to feel like the author is trying to make him a sort of wizard Macgyver who ends up looking a lot like SNL's Macgruber.

Not Macgruber!!! From Reaction Gifs
Grave Peril is a good book, but it obviously could've been better with a little less inexplicable boob mentions (yes, people realize women have breasts, now move on) and weird propositioning. I don't mean to say I didn't enjoy most of it, as the action scenes were stellar and I had my share of laughs, but it didn't quite feel as great as the past two Dresden Files.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars for a Dresden File that could've been better.

Content: Violence, 11 breast mentions, and swearing. Better read when Ages 18+.

Page Count: 378 pages in my Kindle edition

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