Book Review: Ghost Story

ghoststoryby Lucy Arnold

 

Ghost Story
Jim Butcher
Roc Books, 481 pp.

When I finished reading Changes, my first thought was, “Wow. Now how is he going to top that?” The climax of the previous novel in The Dresden Files amped up the power levels and put Harry in epic territory, in terms of deed and infamy. Butcher’s answer to this conundrum is Ghost Story, a novel that successfully follows up the climactic action of Changes by being a completely different kind of novel, its drama psychological and its heroes unlikely. Harry is at the center of the struggle, but his ghostly condition, a consequence of being shot dead at the conclusion of Changes, forces him to slow down, to think before he acts, and to reflect on his past and the choices he made in it.

As much as some of my favorite characters, like Molly, Murphy, and Butters played crucial roles in this newest offering in the series, I began to despair that I would see Harry’s best sidekicks: Mouse, Mister, and Bob. Hang in there: all three make appearances, of varying lengths. And nostalgic as I was at moments for the feel and the familiarity of the earlier books in the series, I give Butcher nothing but credit for shaking things up so viscerally. We readers, like Harry, lost a home, friends and family, and even a body, but this literally spiritual journey sets Harry up as a more complex, more likeable, and more believable hero than he’s ever been before. In short, Butcher nailed the nigh impossible task of following up Changes with something even better.

Hurry up on the next book, Jim!

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