~~Moved from GR~~
Blood Rites (The Dresden Files #6)
by Jim Butcher
If you can get past the fact that the plot takes place on the set of a porno flick, meaning we're in for Harry's way overly detailed descriptions of women, this is one of the best books in the series. Granted, getting past this takes a monumental effort, since half of the plot takes place on set, but the book also presents the most three-dimensional representations of Thomas, Harry, and Murphy that the story has seen thus far, as well as introducing one of the best villains of the series. Plus, not only is this is the book that starts with the iconic line, "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault"; the plot also involves a fuzzy widdle puppy, and animals are always guaranteed to provide a human interest angle.
Harry Dresden's life has calmed down a bit, and his fiercest foes recently have been giant purple flying monkeys and mold demons. Of course, since someone up there--Mr. Butcher, apparently--hates him, that must mean he's in for a difficult time. Thomas Raith, a White Court vampire, comes to Dresden asking for help. Someone has set up a malicious entropy curse against a friend of his, and he wants Harry to put a stop to it. If that weren't enough, Black Court vampire Mavra is back in town, and is not exactly happy with Harry. Harry is in for a wild ride trying to handle savage hired killers, a tiny puppy who has adopted him, succubi, vengeful vampires, Agatha-Christie-style inept attempts on his life, really awkward porno-flick scenes, and, to top it all off, he has to help his best friend Karrin Murphy face her worst fear: a family reunion.
This book is action-packed bizarre, and full of fun, from Bolshevik muppets to frozen turkey weapons.
Harry is a strange mixture of ferocity and awkwardness. In the last book, he picked up a coin that implanted the shadow of a fallen angel in his mind, and although he, the oblivious narrator, doesn't realize it, he has become suddenly significantly more savage in this book. At the same time, he's just beginning to realize he has some feelings for Murphy, and is incredibly--and hilariously-- incompetent about it. Dresden flip-flops between aggressive attacker and what Christopher Moore would call a quintessentially "beta-male" persona. For me, part of Dresden's charm stems from the fact that he is not invulnerable and is often inept. Yes, I know he spends most of his time attempting to protect and shield all the poor little wimmenfolk around him, but most of the time, Murphy--and most of the other women he interacts with--wear the boots, as Murph would say, in the relationship. Of course, when someone threatens a woman or a child, Harry promptly goes scarily and unpredictably ballistic. I find him simultaneously irritating, unpredictable, likeable, and human. As the books have progressed, it seems to me that Mr Butcher has gone farther and farther away from trying to construct a superheroic everyman and instead settled for a rather entertaining nerd who is not as funny as he thinks he is. In this book, more than any other so far, shows off his totally nebbish, awkward charm, as well as trading--and receiving--a whole lot of ass-kicking.
Believe it or not, I've written a review of every single book in the series. I may have addiction issues. Links to the complete set are below. The starred ones are my faves.
[#1] Storm Front [#2] Fool Moon [#3] Grave Peril [#4] Summer Knight* [#5] Death Masks [#6] Blood Rites [#7] Dead Beat* [#8] Proven Guilty [#9] White Night [#10] Small Favor* [#11] Turn Coat [#12] Changes [#13] Ghost Story* [#14] Cold Days