I have a deep seeded love for all kinds of mythology and lore. And the Fae are some of my favorites. They are a beautiful, devious, powerful, crazy bunch of peeps, especially when Mab, the Winter Queen, needs you to do something for her. She’s not exactly the kind of person you can say no to.
As it turns out Mab has bought Harry’s debt from his godmother, the Leanansidhe, and in doing so, she is owed three “favors” or errands from Harry. She needs him to prove her innocence in the murder of the Summer Knight, the rival courts champion, and find who holds the fallen knight’s power. And what happens if he can’t? Nothing big… just the end of the world.
In this book we get to see some of the inner workings of the White Council of Wizards, the ruling body for wizards around the world, and the enforcers of the seven laws of magic. It’s clear that Harry is known council-wide for being a smart ass, and is generally not taken seriously. The fact that he started the war with the vampire courts doesn’t make it easy for anyone to support him. You start to see divisions in the senior council, and what people are willing to do to support their side.
We also finally get to meet Elaine Mallory. She was Harry’s first love, which he thought was dead by his own hand and has been killing himself with guilt over her supposed death for years. Turns out she’s been hiding out with the faerie courts (thanks for the post card!), and is in way over her head. Of course, Harry feels a bone deep, sometimes annoyingly strong, need to rescue every damsel in distress. And he gets sucked into this situation more than once, and more often then not, (read: always) ends up being more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve never been a fan of Elaine’s. She shows up again later in the series, and I know the author isn’t done with her story line yet.
In Grave Peril we had a little break from Murphy. In Summer Knight she’s back and I actually really like her. She’s completely willing to trust Harry, and accept the fact that some things (like vamps, werewolves, ghouls, and giant Fae tree… things) need to be handled a little differently. By doing this she proves she’s a friend not foe, and wins my heart. There is a scene with Harry and Murphy in a 24 hour Wal-Mart that shows how bad ass she really is. She’s amazing under pressure and handles everything with a calculated calm that comes with years of discipline and practice. The girl also knows her way around the home improvement section.
I can admit when I’m wrong. And I was wrong. Karrin Murphy rocks my socks.
Jim Butcher is great at taking classic lore and making it new. This time Harry’s client is looking to recover a holy artifact. When Harry finds out what artifact was stolen, his response is classic. “Some one stole the freak’n Shroud of Turin?” This installment was full of twists and kept up a fast paced hilarity despite its much darker tone.
Death Masks has plenty of character development, and we have face time with some of our old friends and few new favorites. We find out what happened to Susan, offering some resolution to the open ending of Grave Peril.(For those of you that have read it, I want me some enchanted rope.) And we meet Waldo Butters. I love Butters. He is a smart, dorky, Polka loving Chicago M.E. who knows there’s weird out there, and he’s not afraid to admit it.
The Knights of the Cross are a pivotal part in this story and we get a healthy glimpse into a few of them. We see a lot of Michael, and his big holy sword. Let me tell you, Michael, and the rest of the Knights of the Cross kick evil booty! Sanya is fabulous, and he’s Russian, so it lends for some truly giggle worthy quotes. Shiro leaves a huge impression on Harry, which will last the rest of his life. The extent the Knights will go to, to protect and serve the greater good astounds me.
There’s something about the ending that gives me hope. It’s not that a difficult situation is resolved, because it isn’t. The conclusion opens more doors than it shut. The bad guys still get away. In fact, we come across them several more times. What gives me hope is, in the end, the story is about doing what you can to protect those you love.
Blood Rites give us something different from the previous books in the series; a secret is revealed that holds a deep significance to the character development of Harry and changes him in a way that we never could have imagined.
A portion of Blood Rites takes place around a movie set. A porn set. I wasn’t completely sold on this idea, and thought it would be super corny and hard for me to take seriously. I got to chapter 7 and changed my mind. The setting lends for some funny and inappropriate scenes. It’s hilarious to listen to Harry’s inner dialogue while he’s on the set, watching his polite chivalry at odds with his baser needs.
This installment is also about the White Court, all of whom are incubi and succubae. When you deal with the White Court that means Thomas Wraith is involved. Oh ya. Thomas is one of my favorite characters. He’s smooth, cunning, confident, funny, and hot as hell. It’s scary how much I liked Thomas, and I found myself defending, and justifying the actions of the incubus. There is a plot twist concerning the Wraiths that shows you how scheming and deceptive they are.
In the end Harry does what needs to be done, and while he doesn’t escape unscathed, he does gain a friend.
...and for all you Harry fans, here's a sneak peak at Chapter 3 of the next release, Ghost Story.