Following the cliff-hanger ending in Changes, Ghost Story comes knocking on fans' doors with another dark and twisted chapter in the saga of Harry Dresden, Chicago's only residential wizard. This is the 13th installment in Jim Butcher's super popular urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files. In this installment, Jim Butcher rewards his readers with a spellbinding tale of thunder and lightning, and it's all happening at Chicago's downtown.
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, the one and the only professional wizard in Chicago, has died.
Shrouded in the mist of confusion, Harry returned to consciousness and found himself a permanent resident in a strange afterlife existing beyond his wildest imagination. You see, Harry has become a ghost.
Is this the end of the mighty Harry Dresden? Trouble found Harry again before anyone could say to him, Requiesce in Pace. It seems for Harry, being dead and ethereal does not translate to being done with mortal affairs. This time, Harry has no body, and no magic. Yet he must find a way to aid his friends and countering a black shadow gathering around Chicago. Meanwhile, Harry is also charged with a mission to find the man who killed him.
Ok, I know what you are thinking. Nope, the latest adventure in the life (or afterlife) of Harry Dresden is nothing like Patrick Swayze's romantic thriller; it has nothing to do with making out with Demi Moore next to a pottery wheel. No, Harry Dresden is about to narrate a ghost story as wild as it is twisted, wizard style...
My thoughts on this book:
Last week, I wrote a book review for Changes and shared my opinion about how good it was. So what about Ghost Story? How does this novel's quality compare against its predecessor? Simply putting it, I like Ghost story. I think this novel entertains and it is a fun, fast-paced read. But Ghost Story has a small problem - I couldn't help but feeling that in this book, Harry's new adventure wrapped up in an anticlimax.
Ok, let me start by sharing what do I like in this book.
The narratives of Ghost Story run on a very fun and interesting concept; that the series' protagonist, Harry Dresden, once a powerful, fireball-throwing wizard, has died. He lost all of his powers and became a ghost while trying to help his friend by interfering with mortal affairs. There are many stories about ghostly protagonists, so why did this story attract my interest?
The best element about Ghost Story, in my opinion, is the parts that narrated Harry's introspection as he reflected on his previous life and his relationships with his friends. This “introspective” Harry does NOT cast the story into a melodrama. Instead, I found Harry's reflection rather insightful because it revealed a new dimension to Harry's character who I have never met in the previous novels. In this sense, I think Harry climbed a very steep ladder in the character development here, and I liked what I read about Harry in this book.
When it comes to the writings, Jim Butcher is a true master of his craft. He packed this book with suspenseful mysteries, mysteries drenched in lucid, but vivid descriptions for the fictional Chicago. Ghost Story, like all of its predecessors, is soaked in a neo noir atmosphere. Meanwhile, Jim Butcher also threw punches of action scenes left, right and centre at his readers, and adrenaline never ran short on supply in this book.
So far I have described the positive aspects for this book. Next I will discuss, in my opinion, the only negative aspect for this book; that is, this ghostly adventure ended in an anticlimax. Make no mistake, however, the story in this book is anything but simple and straight forward. Its complex plot twists and turns along the unfolding narratives, and readers can expect to see dozens of surprises in the story. Despite the many twists and turns, the story ultimately ended in an anticlimax. Yes, Ghost Story also ended with a cliff-hanger, but it doesn't have the strong kick that was felt in the ending of the previous novel.
Even as a ghost, Harry Dresden still emanates a lot of star power. In this book, the chapters narrating Harry's introspection painted his character with much color, while also adding a new dimension to the Dresden saga that was never seen in the previous novels. Ghost Story takes the quality of The Dresden Files series up a notch with a rather impressive character development, but its anticlimax ending is preventing Ghost Story from being the best book in the series. Having said this, Ghost Story is an excellent novel, and veteran readers of The Dresden Files series will not want to miss out on this important chapter in Harry's life.