Blood Rites: Book Six of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Published October 2005 (UK), by Orbit UK, US 2004.
Review by Mark Yon / Hobbit
Please note: I last reviewed Harry Dresden in January 2007 with Death Masks. For the record, please read the other reviews first: (Book 1 (Storm Front) review here , Book 2 (Fool Moon) review here ; Book Three (Grave Peril) (link here ) Book Four, Summer Knight (link here: ), and Book Five, Death Masks (here: ) as there may be spoilers in this review.
‘Family. Nothing but an accident of birth. Family is meaningless. It is nothing but the drive of blood to further its own. Random combination of genes. It is utterly insignificant.’
‘Your children don’t think that,’ I said. ‘They think family is important.’ He laughed. ‘Of course they think that. I have trained them to do so. It is a simple and convenient way to control them.’ (page 427)
After the micro-scale events of Book Five of this series, things here get deeper and more personal. This one, as the quote above suggests, (and to put it in a nutshell), is about family and relationships, all of which, as you might expect in Book Six of a series, develop and alter irreversibly here.
The main thrust of the book is dealing with vampires, of whom previous readers will realise that Harry has had some difficulties with. Yes, he is still responsible for starting the Cold War presently existing between the wizard White Council and the vampire White, Red and Black Courts. But Harry has his own issues.
A job that starts as a favour for the vampire Thomas (met earlier in Death Rites) soon becomes more complicated when it is realised that someone has put a curse on the famous producer Arturo Genosa. Harry agrees to keep an eye on things, even when he finds out that Arturo is a producer of pornography. However the attacks grow in strength to the point when other innocent people are killed. Harry becomes determined to discover the reason and the protagonist, even when it looks as if Thomas’s family, the notorious Raith family (of the vampire White Court), seem to be involved. Not only that, but they have a secret about Harry that will change permanently in this book for the foreseeable future.
My review of Book Five expressed a slight disappointment. In my opinion, this one was stronger, though there are plot clichés that may makes some readers question whether the revelations are to make things interesting or (cynically) to simply extend the longevity of a popular series.
Most of my grumbles however are outweighed by the elements that shine here.
Some of the new characters are well developed in the context, and older issues are explained further as backstory. Thomas’ sister, Lara, is impressively scary and sexy and no doubt will appear at a later date in the series. As cynical as I may be, there is still that page-turning element; and yet again, I finished the book in a couple of days.
In summary, as with Book Five, although the series is showing signs of repetition and predictability, still recommended. Harry’s laconic putdowns and his increasingly complex background still show a hero with staying power. In the present glut of urban fantasy, Butcher still rules in my library.
In homage to my review of Book Five, in short: more continued goodness this time around. More complicated personal life, even more vampires, more duels, and no werewolves.
Onto Book Seven!
Mark Yon / Hobbit, January 2008.
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