Archive for August, 2014

This one is the sixth book in the series.

Links to my reviews of the previous Dresden Files books:

One: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-storm-front-5-stars/

Two: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/book-review-wednesday-fool-moon-dresden-files-4-stars/

Three: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-grave-peril-4-stars/?preview=true

Four: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-summer-knight-5-stars/

Five: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/book-review-wednesday-death-masks-dresden-files-book-5-5-stars/

I’m going to assume by this point you know what this series is about. So here’s the blurb for this particular book:

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, takes on a case as a favor to his friend Thomas-a vampire of dubious integrity-only to become the prime suspect in a series of ghastly murders.

This was one of the better books of the series so far. Five stars. We meet Thomas again who I’ve grown very fond of over the past few books. He’s very centric to this book, and we end up finding out a lot more about him in this one. Thomas is a soul sucking incubus (otherwise known as a vampire of the white court), but he’s quite a nice one and Harry likes him, even if he doesn’t really trust him.

There’s been a series of murders at a film studio. Oh no. So Thomas asks Harry if he can go help. It’s only later that he finds out said film studio is an adult film studio, which is an interesting development. There’s some real bad mojo going on, and each time Harry fails to stop it someone else dies.

But of course that’s not enough peril for our hero, so enter new bad guys : the black court vampires. Now the black court vampires kind of seem like a real creepy mix of vampire and zombie. They remind me of those scary floating guys who grin while they cut peoples hearts out in that Buffy episode where no one speaks. They go around all corpse-like with dry skin peeling off and kill people, and this time they seem to have a plot that involves killing Harry.

This doesn’t come as a big surprise since we met Marva, the leader of the black court vampires in a previous book. And of course Harry did what he does best meeting new (people?), he pissed her off. He’ll never learn.

So, a lot of action in this one, the usual high stakes. We also meet more white court vampires, and learn a big secret concerning Thomas. That one’s pretty neat. I won’t give it away, but it plays a huge part in the next books in the series.

The characters were fleshed out as always, even the more minor ones. The book starts out right in the middle of action, and continues from there. There’s a lot of humor, and a lot of cuteness. Harry gets a new fluffy member of his family, so cue a liberal amount of cute precocious baby animal moments.

If you want to read more reviews about this book, follow the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/99383.Blood_Rites

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Another world war two book. This one is as the title suggests about the experiences of a sniper from the Red Army during the war.

I really wanted to like this one. The Eastern front is a particular interest of mine, and I love hearing accounts of the Russian and German soldiers and civilians involved in that part of the war. The descriptions of the battle are intense, and I really feel for what the guy went through, but the translation makes this a pain to read. I wish I had the language skills to read the original book to see if it reads better.

Culture and language differences make this a head scratching read, and the translation doesn’t seem to work well. Saying that, the parts I understood were very shocking and thought provoking. There are moment that will stick with me, like when he arrives home to find his wife and oldest son dead, and the only survivor of his family his youngest son. Then he has to go back to the front, and with no family left struggles to find someone to look after his remaining son in time. It was hard to believe that the war could take so much from one man and then expect even more.

I’d say if you’re patient and love reading soldier accounts from world war two, then give this one a go. Don’t expect an easy read though. Three stars.

For more reviews on this book check out the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9246093-red-sniper-on-the-eastern-front

Links to my reviews of the previous Dresden Files books:

One: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-storm-front-5-stars/

Two: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/book-review-wednesday-fool-moon-dresden-files-4-stars/

Three: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-grave-peril-4-stars/?preview=true

Four: https://samaustinwriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/book-review-wednesday-dresden-files-summer-knight-5-stars/

 

At this point I’m going to assume you know the basic premise of the Dresden Files books and leap forward to the blurb for this particular book:

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he’s getting more than he bargained for.

A duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards…
Professional hit men using Harry for target practice…

The missing Shroud of Turin…

A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified…

Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semivampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.

We get more Michael in this book, this time in his true role : going after fallen angels. Michael is one of three knights of the cross (as in the one Jesus died on), who we met earlier in the series.  He’s just about the most decent guy you’ll ever meet. And we get to meet his fellow knights, one of whom is agnostic. It’s an interesting take on it.

As well as old enemies, we meet some new ones. Enter fallen angels. Scary, scary, scary things. They basically tempt humans into joining with them, and then take over their body. There’s a bit more to it than that, but I don’t want to give too much away. They’re our major bad guy, with the red court vampires doing their best to join in.

There’s also a new good / neutral character: The Archive who I won’t give too much away about other than to say it’s a bit of a surprise when you get to see what she’s like. She comes with her personal bodyguard Kincaid who is one of those people, I at least loved on sight and was terrified of at the same time. All the new characters play big roles in the next books. It’s great to see the larger mysteries unfold throughout the series.

The plot was action packed with very high stakes. To say that the guys he’s going up against in this book are heavy hitters is an understatement. And worse, they have brains and use them! I think the enemies: the fallen angels, are by far the most formidable enemies introduced in the series so far.

These books are brain candy which is why I love them. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and yet Harry always seems to pull through and get out the other side somehow. This was a five star one for me. Enjoyed every minute of it, and I’m not sure I have anything bad to say about it.

For more reviews on this book check out the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/91479.Death_Masks

I’ll admit, I wasn’t so keen on the first two books, but this book which follows a different set of characters I liked a lot more. It was less humorous than the first two, but with that it also made a lot more sense. The plot is a lot more cohesive, and there was less having to read a page a few times over to try and make sense of it.

Here’s the blurb:

On Discworld, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late. The town witch insists on turning the baby into a perfectly normal witch, thus mending the magical damage of the wizard’s mistake. But now the young girl will be forced to penetrate the inner sanctum of the Unseen University–and attempt to save the world with one well-placed kick in some enchanted shins!

So, the bad points: There still seems like there’s too much clutter, and the plot line was very slow for my liking. It took a while to get into it, and I did find myself bored at points. There just doesn’t seem to be much going on until near the end of the book. But this is one of his earlier books, so maybe that improves later? I am planning to go onto book four, so I’ll see.

The good points: the characters are likable, there’s some humor although not as much as the first books, and the parts where Esk gets to show off her magical abilities are very satisfying. I also really liked the grandmother’s use of ‘headology’ (basically using the placebo affect.) And something like quantum mechanics crops up later in the book, which being a science nerd I always like hearing about.

The best parts of this book for me had to be the message about gender roles. Girls can be wizards, and guys can be witches. Separating magic into types and restricting them to genders isn’t helpful. There are a lot of parallels to real life, like ‘only guys are good at math,’ and ‘girls should stick to the softer subjects.’ This is akin to all those inspiring stories we hear about, like how hard the first woman to attend medical school had to fight to get in. Sure, it’s fantasy, but really it’s the same story, and it’s always nice to see the underdog fight for what they want.

Should you read it? It depends. If you read the first two books and only liked them for the zany humor, then you may not enjoy this one as much. If you liked the first two books because of the interesting world, then give this one a go. As this starts fresh with all new characters instead of following on from the previous ones then you can start with this one out of order. I’m a little ocd about series order even if they don’t matter, so I’ll be working my way through them by number.

In case you want to read more reviews on this book before  you make up your mind, go to the following line: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34507.Equal_Rites