In our last outing, Harry Dresden took me on an adventure with werewolves, a fun time for most involved and a welcome excuse to break further into magical Chicago. This time though we left behind the lupine to find ourselves some Nosferatu and spectral horrors. Say what you like about Harry, but a night out with him is never dull.
That said, this time me and Harry weren’t on our own as he brought along his wing-man Michael Carpenter, Knight of the Cross and all round stand up guy. Demons, spectres, dragons of unfathomable power came at us while we adventured, Dresden faltered but Michael stood tall, a bulwark against it all. The unflappable servant of the lord who is thus far the most unabashedly badass character in the series. Maybe I just have a soft spot for the family man wielding a broadsword to defend against the ills of the world but I think anybody will agree with me after meeting him.
Ah but I mentioned vampires, didn’t I? Once more the magical world of Dresden deepens, bringing in three vampyric courts, faeries beyond time (although perhaps don’t call them that within earshot), and ghosts both great and small. Each one adds to the complexity of this world which has gone from a rather fine patchwork quilt in Storm Front to something that’ll soon resemble the Bayeux Tapestry.
This adventure is a lot darker than the previous entries. Not as deep a mystery as Storm Front, and not quite as visceral as Fool Moon, but it just has more scale and realistic darkness in it. There’s introspection from Harry as he confronts his actions, what he’s lost in his fights against the encroaching evils of the world, that somehow grounds it and makes it more relatable then any book this steeped in the fantastical and humour should be able to have.
Having said its grounded, the magic in this instalment is grander than anything shown in the first two novels. Gouts of fire claw at inky nights as ash bound wraiths claw at their tormentors. We see the power of faith as holy fire smites the unworthy, and ordained blades slay the sinful. Everything has been ramped up to eleven, and from what I can tell this is only the beginning.
With at least another dozen books to get through, this feels like the true beginning of the series is done. These first three seem to lay the groundwork for Harry’s rise to power, sow the seeds of a vast world in which nearly anything can happen.
Personally, I can’t wait to be by his side for however many more adventures are to come.
“For the sake of one soul. For one loved one. For one life.” I called power into my blasting rod, and its tip glowed incandescent white. “The way I see it, there’s nothing else worth fighting a war for.”
Amazon Link: Grave Peril: The Dresden Files, Book Three: 3