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Cover illustration by: Chris McGrath
Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Dresden Files (Book #16 of 25)
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 348 pages (US Kindle edition)
Published: 16th July 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 14th July 2020 Ace (US)
Stunning finish and setup for the next installment, but I’m not sure whether this should’ve been divided into two books or not.
Some of you who follow my on Goodreads or Booktube most likely would know that this year, for me, is the year of reading The Dresden Files. Unlike many fans of the series, I didn’t spend six years waiting for Peace Talks, the long-awaited sixteenth book in the series, to come out. I did find the fans’ enthusiasm when the release date of this book was first announced to be very pleasing, and the hype erupted further when Butcher and his publishers announced that the seventeenth book in the series is, indeed, also being published this year. Now, I have no idea whether if I’ll enjoy this book more if I’ve waited that long or not; I read the entire series for the first time this year, after all. However, I certainly enjoyed many aspects of Peace Talks.
“Fear is a prison. But when you combine it with secrets, it becomes especially toxic, vicious. It puts us all into solitary, unable to hear one another clearly.”
If it weren’t obvious enough from the title yet, both Peace Talks and Battle Ground are clearly one big book divided into two volumes. I need to finish Battle Ground first before I finalized my thoughts on whether this is a good idea or not, but for now, I will say that there were a few moments in this book where the pacing suffers a bit. For example, there was one long action-packed chapter that could’ve been taken out completely, and the book most likely would become better for it. Also, I want to say that I’m not a huge fan of Harry’s extraordinary horniness that comes from using his new power; it made him want to bang every single girl he met. Honestly, it gets incredibly boring reading about this uncontrollable lust repeatedly; four books in a row now, and it seems like it will continue for more. So yeah, structural issues and the repetitive horniness aside, I highly enjoyed reading Peace Talks.
“But there’s a deeper meaning to home. Something simpler, more primal. It’s where you eat the best food because other predators can’t take it from you very easily there. It’s where you can your mate are the most intimate. Its where your raise your children, safe against a world that can be horrible things to them. It’s where you sleep, safe. It’s where you relax. It’s where you dream. Home is where you embrace the present and plan the future. It’s where the books are. And more than anything else, it’s where you build the world that you want.”
As you can probably guess, there’s a limitation to the things I could say here. This is, after all, the sixteenth book in the series. I will, however, repeat myself and say that I truly loved the focus on family and making the hard choices in the name of it. This isn’t a new thing in The Dresden Files; family and love have always been some of the most evident running themes of the series. But I think the difficulty of the decisions that Harry has to do here and the impact it brings are one of the most pivotal in the series so far. Tough decisions have to be made, simple as that. Without giving any spoilers, the last 20% of this book was purely insane and cataclysmic. I am very excited to be jumping into Battle Ground immediately after the emotional confrontation and turn of events that occurred at the end of Peace Talks. Forces are gathering, and although the appearance of the new villain was quite sudden, I loved the world-ending scale story that the series is heading towards. This could truly be the most deadly enemy that Harry and co have to battle so far, and I’m so looking forward to reading about it.
“The pain we feel in life always grows. When we’re little, little pains hurt us. When we get bigger, we learn to handle more and more pain and carry on regardless.”
The setup in Peace Talks for Battle Ground has been done superbly, and as I mentioned, whether I’ll agree with the structural decision to turn it into two volumes or not remains to be seen. It’s crazy that currently there’s only one more published book in the series for me to read. The series has become so much more destructive and larger-in-scope than the first five books, and I hope the events of this book means Butcher is really working towards ending the series with a bang soon. Onward to Battle Ground!
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