Friday, August 1, 2014

Proven Guilty, Book Eight of the Dresden Files

Proven Guilty
Book Eight of the Dresden Files
Publisher: Penguin Books USA as Roc (2006)
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Fantasy, Urban
Pages: 480
Price: $9.99

There's no love lost between Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined. But war with the vampires has thinned their ranks, so the Council has drafted Harry as a Warden and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City.

As Harry adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, all grown-up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it's all in a day's work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob....

A fan convention, horror movie monsters, and behind the scenes manipulations, what could possible go wrong? Well, if you've read any other books in The Dresden Files, you already know the answer. We join the story with Harry witnessing some good ol' Council justice and then hit the ground running through a raucous adventure.

What begins as a fairly simple 'whodunit' becomes a wild rescue attempt at an enemy stronghold. It's fast paced full of things that we as readers will need to know going forward in the Dresden-verse. Harry's life is turned upside down by one unwelcome 'roommate,' one roommate's decision to strike out into the world on his own, and one possible new addition to the chaos that is usually his life. There are machinations within machinations throughout this story and we're left know that there are huge forces pulling the strings, we just don't know who.

Harry also seems to put to rest some of the distractions in his personal life. Getting everything all out in the open is both heartbreaking and a nice affirmation in parts of this book There is an important reconciliation at the end as we learn just how dangerous Harry's life is going to get.

One thing I really enjoyed was the amount of falling action in this book. Usually the climax happens and we have a chapter or two wrapping up what the ramifications were. Here we have the rescue attempt, and then ninety more pages detailing the aftermath. I loved not having to wait until the next book for everything to be put to bed through inadequate remembrances of past events. It was a great way to end this book, there are so many little things going on in the background that that time spent wrapping it up never felt like a waste.

Conclusion: An incredibly important book to the ongoing story of The Dresden Files. The repairing and clarifying of many of Harry's relationships are satisfying, if maybe not exactly what the audience wants. It's clear from the ending that there are big things on the horizon.

Rating: 8.5/10

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