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Review copy provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.
Cover illustration by: Chris McGrath
Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Dresden Files (Book #17 of 25)
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432 pages (UK Hardcover)
Published: 1st October 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 29th September 2020 Ace (US)
Epic, relentlessly action-packed, full of destruction, Battle Ground has transformed The Dresden Files into an epic urban fantasy.
“I’d never been in an epic mythology fight quite this epic before.”
We know by now that Harry has fought against many deadly villains, but what he encountered here might just be more than what he bargained for. I was worried about this book; this shouldn’t have come as a surprise, right? If you have followed my reviews for this series and you have read this book, you probably have predicted that Battle Ground would end up being one of the weakest books in the series for me. And I won’t lie, the 4 stars and above rating streak for this series almost ended here. I’m quite conflicted because I did enjoy reading the second half of the novel. So damn much. In my opinion, rather than the quality of the book itself, what diminishes the quality of both Peace Talks and Battle Ground was the decision to separate this one tome into two volumes.
“A supernatural legion is coming to murder everyone in the city. Whether Chicago stands or falls, it doesn’t stay the same. It can’t. This is going to be too big, too violent. The mortal world isn’t going to be able to ignore it this time. No matter what happens tonight, the world. Changes. Period.”
Despite the novel being one huge war-filled scenes that lasted for almost 400 pages long, the first half of Battle Ground felt like fillers as Harry and friends dealt with small and inconsequential enemies. Honestly, if the first half of this novel was completely taken out, I think I would’ve loved this book more. This was the same in Peace Talks as well. Instead of dividing this into two volumes, I think there were many scenes in both Peace Talks and Battle Ground that would’ve worked so much better if they were condensed or maybe even cut out. I did binge read Peace Talks and Battle Ground, but this doesn’t change my opinion. If both Peace Talks and Battle Ground followed its original plan of being one big book, I think it would have a very good chance of becoming the best book of the series for me. But oh well, what’s done is done, and thankfully, after the initial 40% of Battle Ground, I was completely enthralled by the remaining content that made this novel one of the most epic urban fantasy novels I’ve ever read.
“War leaves you precious little time to be human. It’s one of the more horrible realities about it.”
I guess the massive-scale events that occurred in Battle Ground has been a long time coming. We knew that the series would continuously become grander and larger in its scope and execution with each new installment, but I certainly didn’t expect it would become THIS gigantic. Battle Ground can be categorized as Butcher’s Avengers: Endgame for the series. Almost every character that has appeared throughout the series made an appearance in this book to fight in the unrelenting chaos of devastating battles. As someone who’s reading The Dresden Files for the first time from the beginning this year, it made me feel like I made the right choice in spreading out my read throughout the entire year. Seeing these characters—both protagonists and antagonists—playing a role in this insanely long epic battle truly exhibited Butcher’s superb talent in writing epic and urban fantasy. No, seriously, there were so many names, and how many pages of battle were in Battle Ground? Almost the entire book. And surprisingly, except for the first 40%, I absolutely loved the emotional and brutal turn of events that the series takes. Without giving spoilers, let me just say that some events that happened in this book would, understandably, piss people off; some would feel cheated by it. I, for one, actually think that the series needed these heartbreaking and epic events to transpire in order for the series to start moving towards its final story arc.
“When a group comes together around something they love,” I said, “it changes things. It changes how they see one another. It becomes a community. Something greater than the sum of its parts.”
Battle Ground is explosive and damn epic; the urban fantasy epicness scale almost rivaled Paternus: War of Gods by Dyrk Ashton. I’m gratified to finally catch up with the series. I’m curious about the number of installments remaining for the series, though. If I’m not mistaken, the original plan for the series was for it to end at the 23rd or 25th installment. Right now, I don’t see the possibility of this happening; the content of this book seems to reflect that the series is nearing its end. Honestly, that line of thought did actually crossed my mind several times when I was reading this book. I totally loved the ending and epilogue of this book. Even though Battle Ground can be said as the next Changes for the series—alliances changed, more power, new enemies appeared, and the events of this book will change the direction of the series—the ending remained immensely satisfying. There’s no cliffhanger here, and whichever direction the series will go next, I will be reading it.
“Nothing you ever do can change the past. Can’t live your life looking backwards or you’ll spend it walking in circles.”
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