Ghost Story (Book 13)
Wow. Just wow. Part of me thinks that Butcher wrote this book with the reader in mind. It’s like he took all of the questions that I’m sure fans’ usually ask (or at least all of the questions I really wanted to ask) and made a book of FAQs, but with a plot that is enthralling. There are so many moments in this book when I did nothing but nerd out.
For example: in Storm Front and Blood Rites, Butcher mentions He Who Walks Behind. In this book, you finally get to learn not only who He Who Walks Behind is, but you get to see Dresden’s showdown with him and learn who sent him after Dresden. All I could say, the whole time I was reading was f*@k yeah.
While it’s not quite an origins story, Butcher gives you so many glimpses into why Dresden is the way he is that it comes pretty damn near to that. Let me tell ya, it was completely refreshing. The flashbacks didn’t get in the way of the story at all. If anything, they accelerated the plot. Speaking of…
The plot: (Serious spoilers for Book 12 if you haven’t read it yet!)
Dresden’s dead. Yep, you read that right. The story begins with Carmichael (Murphy’s deceased partner) pulling Dresden off of subway tracks just before the train arrives. It turns out that Carmichael works in Between for Murphy’s dad. Murphy’s dad promptly tells Dresden that he needs to find out who killed him or three people that he loves will be hurt (in the maybe-not-coming-back-from-that way). Dresden, of course, accepts his proverbial quest and proceeds to Mortimer, the ectomancer’s house. (Seriously Microsoft, you should know and love the word ectomancer. I shouldn’t have to add that.) For Dresden, only a few hours have past from when he was killed to when he arrives at Mort’s place. For the rest of the world, it’s been six months and not a particularly pleasant six months. Troubles arise pretty quickly and Dresden is still on the case. (God, that was cheesy.)
Here’s the thing: I loved this book. It might not qualify as high literature, but you can’t beat it. Butcher is increasingly my go-to author for some good old fashioned escapism. I read his books because I want to believe there’s a person out there who is going to try to do the right thing even after they die. It’s quite pleasant to think that if you ever got into a jam, you could always phone up Dresden and he would unjam you just like that. *snaps fingers*
It’s funny, despite the fact that the world Butcher paints is so dark, the books generally tend to be filled with light and hope. Butcher’s main point is that, in spite of everything, the worst trouble you can get yourself into, even with death staring you in the face, the most important thing is to keep trying. It’s more than the familiar trope of don’t give up. Just keep swimming. It’s not enough to just keep going, you have to take the thing that’s threatening the people you love and kick it squarely in the balls. If you can make the world a better place, do it. Don’t just sit around waiting to get rescued. In some ways, it’s about embracing the characteristics that make us quintessentially human, but more than that embracing them to help your fellow humans.
I understand that this is one of the basic tenets of Sci Fi and Fantasy, but I don’t think people say it enough. This is another Butcher book that reminded me of Doctor Who is a couple places, though in particular toward the end (think The End of Time). Butcher continues to manage poignantly moving moments in a way that isn’t sentimental at all. It’s just touchingly human. (Too much with the human tripe? Okay, I’ll stop.)
In good news, it looks like the next book is already in the works. (Thank goodness.)
Once again, all 5 ink bottles and whatever else I can find in the drawer to give to it.