BOOK REVIEW - White Night by Jim Butcher

on Thursday, July 15, 2010
By Jim Butcher (Official Webpage)
Buy it here: White Night

Blurb Review

Taking the wealth of information and buildup that has been the foundation for the Dresden books thus far, White Night is a culmination of just about everything fantastic in the Dresden files. While it might not discover new tidbits or exciting revelations about Harry's character, White Night is just what it is: another fantastic, riveting adventure starring Harry Dresden.

Full Review

Harry is back. If I remember my history of this series correctly, they were all originally published in paperback only (much like Larry Corria's Monster Hunter books). However, after some point, Butcher's publisher finally realized exactly what a phenomenon these books were, and so White Night was simultaneously published in both hardcover and paperback. Yay!

This is also the only Dresden book that has maintained a perfect 5/5 star rating on, based on 150 reviews (link above next to "Buy it here"). So, going into it, I expected a lot.

Hot of the heels of Proven Guilty, Harry as a new apprentice, the war is still going on between vampires and wizards (it's been almost 4 years I believe since Summer Knight), and Murphy needs him to help solve a case. Big surprise. White Night is almost traditional in how it follows the similar style as the first two books, Storm Front and Fool Moon. Unlike these books, however, Butcher has had years of experience in his belt, so he takes the mystery and does it right.

Somebody is killing witches in Chicago, and leaving a trail that only magic can find. This leads Dresden to believe the killer is sending a message to him, which sends him off on yet another crazy adventure. He once again is thrown into a conflict between himself and the White Court of Vampires (the main big, bad monster from Blood Rites, vampires who feed off human emotions). It eventually culminates into a vampire duel (reminding one of Death Masks) as well as a sort of vampire party (ala Grave Peril). It works, very well, though there are a few slight problems.

But back to the good stuff: this book really felt like a "best of" Dresden book. Butcher did little to mix up the formula that has worked so well for his other books; in fact, he is almost religiously loyal to the pacing and setup that made all the other books great. As mentioned above, bits seem taken out of the best parts of previous books, which works too. Also Elaine, Dresden's old flame from his childhood (who was last seen in Summer Knight) also shows up, as well as a lot of other character. I'm pretty sure the only ones not here from other books were Billy and the werewolf pack, and Susan (though she is mentioned). Butcher does an exceptional job with this series: he doesn't throw all the characters in at once; he spaces them out so, once you really start to wonder where they are, they come back. It is a testament to his fantastic planning (minus the first two books).

White Night is very fast, and you learn a few new snippets about Harry and the supporting cast. Molly, his apprentice newly established in Proven Guilty, is back and has grown up a little. Rameriez, one of my favorite Wardens who played a key role in the climactic battle at the end of Dead Beat (you know, the one with the zombie T-Rex Harry rides), is also here in full force. He's sort of a womanizing, arrogant joker, and actually plays very well with Harry's sense of humor (and falls into a rather amusing and revealing joke at the end of White Night that had me laughing quite hard). As a book, it reads very well.

I did have a few complaints, however. As mentioned before, it's a bit formulaic: Butcher just stuck with what worked and rolled with it. This is fine, I suppose, but considering this is the 9th book in the series, I was hoping he'd keep on improving so the formula wouldn't go stale (it was running the risk at the end). I'd also like to point out that the ending was really a lot like the ending of both Grave Peril  and Blood Rites, which again falls into that formula thing. Lastly, I really wanted more Molly. She's his apprentice, and I can understand him sheltering her, but she really just didn't seem to exist for a good 90% of this book. Considering what a key role she played in Proven Guilty, I was sad to see her set into the backburner.

Still, White Night is a lot of fun, and certainly worth reading. Oh; there is one key point I forgot to mention: Something rather monumental that has been hanging over Harry's head since freaking Death Masks (Book 5) FINALLY gets resolved in this book. I spend the last four books wondering how he was going to beat it, and I was very satisfied with how it resolved. The downer is that was my main concern with Harry in terms of internal conflict, and now that it's done I feel a bit sad.

At any rate, if you've followed the series to book 9 at this point, you probably don't care about what I wrote here. Point is: if you love Dresden, you won't be disappointed, just don't expecting as mind blowing in its revelations as Death Masks, Blood Rites, or Proven Guilty.


Cath Brookes said...

PROVEN GUILTY will satisfy all of the Harry Dresden fans out there. New readers would be better able to understand the complexity of Harry's world by beginning with the earlier books as each Dresden novel advances and intertwines plotlines from previous novels. Jim Butcher has once again written a winner and this reviewer can now only eagerly await Harry Dresden's next adventure!
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