Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The reread (via audiobook) continues, but I think it may stop here. I don't know if I'm the only person in the Dresden fandom who doesn't like James Marsters as a narrator, but his mispronunciations are really starting to annoy me. "Sidhe" as "Sheath". "Runes" as "ruins". Even "wretched" pronounced to rhyme with "fetched". It's never a good sign when you find yourself yelling at the MP3 player in the car when your narrator mispronounces yet another word.
As Jim Butcher's brief intro to the audiobook says, many fans feel that the series got properly going from this book. Certainly, it sows a lot of the seeds that sprouted in much later books, especially Changes and, of course, Ghost Story, which revisits the world of ghosts, as this does.
It introduces us, too, to the Knights of the Cross, who play such an important role later in the series. Here Butcher does an interesting thing. He has a very devout Christian character (actually, several, but one main one) who is open about the importance of his faith; his main, viewpoint character respects that faith, but doesn't share it, and finds his (somewhat stereotypical) preachiness annoying - even while not denying any of the supernatural aspects of it, or suggesting alternative explanations for them. Christianity is factual in the Dresdenverse (though later on there are also pagan gods), but Harry doesn't feel he can live in the way Michael, the holy knight, wants him to.
Some of these aspects were played down a little more in the later books, probably because of strong fan reaction, but some remain, and I've always respected Butcher for including a sympathetic portrayal of people of faith.
The story is a dark and scary thriller, once again, with bad people happening to good things. Knowing some of the things that were coming, and knowing the ultimate upshot further on in the series, increased the tension for me, but also meant that I didn't want to keep listening.
I did finish it, though. I'm going to check whether Marsters is the narrator for the next book (I know there was one he wasn't available for), and if not I will probably listen to it.
View all my reviews