Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Dresden Files (Book #3 of 25)
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 465 pages (US Kindle edition)
Published: 4th March 2010 by Orbit (UK) & 1st September 2001 by Roc (US)
This book showed the first signs of The Dresden Files getting better in quality.
Grave Peril is the third book in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, and the story takes place a year after what happened at the end of Fool Moon. Harry Dresden—with Michael—are dealing with a new case in this installment: ghosts and vampires. I know I’ve mentioned this—and I’m repeating myself here—but I’m thankful for the fans of the series who have acknowledged and mentioned to me that the first three books of this series were generally considered the weakest books of the series. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that Fool Moon would’ve put me off from continuing with the series.
“Some words have a power that has nothing to do with supernatural forces. They resound in the heart and mind, they live long after the sounds of them have died away, they echo in the heart and the soul. They have power, and that power is very real. Those three words are good ones.”
I think one of the main reasons why the first three books garnered mixed receptions was that despite being three books into the series—that’s roughly 1000 pages—already, it still felt like the series was still in its introductory phase. It’s assuring to me that the second half and the conclusion of this book showed promise that the main story will truly “begin” in the next installment, but that’s only one out of several things that’s great about Grave Peril. The conflict with The Nightmare and the Vampires were engrossing, Butcher’s prose was as engaging as always, and unlike the previous books where the characterizations seemed to be exclusively focused entirely on Harry, Butcher also developed the side characters further. We finally get to see Harry’s Godmother making an appearance here, Bob’s addiction to romance novels were once again clarified, and most importantly, Harry’s relationship with both Michael and Susan made the book more entertaining.
“Michael half-smiled. ‘The Lord will never give you a burden bigger than your shoulders can bear, Harry. All we can do is face what comes and have faith.’
I gave him a sour glance. ‘I need to get myself some bigger shoulders, then. Someone in accounting must have made a mistake.'”
Harry and Michael’s friendship definitely made the book for me. Their friendship and how they influence each other’s actions and thinking—especially in faith and love—despite their contrasts and differences were so delightful. I’m also feeling more invested in Harry’s journey now. Yes, he can be a chauvinist pig, he also complained a lot, but he’s genuinely trying to do good things as best as he can, and it really shows in the text. Plus, the actions and stakes also felt tenser now; feeling of tension was something that’s lacking for me in my experience of reading the previous two books.
“For the sake of one soul. For one loved one. For one life.” I called power into my blasting rod, and its tip glowed incandescent white. “The way I see it, there’s nothing else worth fighting a war for.”
In my opinion, Grave Peril is as enjoyable as Storm Front, and additionally, it has more depths to the story, characters, actions, and humor. I must say, though, many readers have mentioned to me that they binged through this series like insane; I personally advise spreading your read through the series if it’s your first time due to the formulaic and standalone approach to each main story in respective installment—despite obvious connectivity on timeline and character’s progression—that can make the series feels repetitive. However, that’s just my preference; whichever option you decide, if you haven’t started the series, it would be a wise choice to start it now. I look forward to reading The Summer Knight—this is the book that fans of the series claimed to be the point where the series starts to shifts in quality from okay/good to great. To be honest, though, Fool Moon aside, the series has worked really well as a palate cleanser/relaxing read in-between epic fantasy tomes that I usually read.
Picture: Grave Peril by Vincent Chong
You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)
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