Blood Rites can seem like yet another adventure that involves the quirkiness of the vampire courts, but it's not. This book represents an amazing leap forward in terms of character plot point developments and a heck of a lot of changes for the life of one Harry Dresden.
I like how the book ended up answering a lot of questions that had been floating around for a while without needing to go out of its way to do so. The revelations were all directly tied to the main plot and they helped move the immediate story forward, but they also really did a lot to change how we look at Harry. And that's some brilliant writing right there.
Synopsis: Blood Rites is the sixth book in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files books. This title brings the vampires back into focus and has us dealing with yet another court getting involved in Harry's life.
The book's main plot is primarily triggered by the Vampire Thomas of the White Court, who asks Dresden to take on a case as a personal favor for all the past times that Thomas had intervened to help save Dresden's life. The case in question involves a head of an adult entertainment studio who may be under threat from a sort of entropy curse similar to one that Harry had been subject to in the last book. In addition, it appears that the vampire Black Court has setup shop in the city and are also threatening Harry Dresden's life.
What I Liked: Obviously I really liked how this book added to Harry Dresden's character lore by answering a lot of different questions we may have had or didn't even realize we should have asked at this point. I can imagine how some folks might find the reveals in this book as a little left field, but they're not really. They make a lot of sense given Dresden's journey thus far and I appreciate hw things got to this point. It only means bigger and brighter stuff for the future.
And the plot in itself isn't bad either. What starts as a seemingly simple look into a potentially minor case becomes a major throw-down with not just one vampire court but two of them - both the Black and the White courts. That seems like a bit much given how past books had him pulling out all the stops to deal with just one of the courts, but don't worry. Dresden gets some serious help in dealing with his foes this time around.
What Could Have Been Better: While the main plot was still compelling the main "mystery" as far as detective cases go didn't go so great. I feel like it was left largely underdeveloped in favor of other story elements involving the vampire courts.
And while they generally had big plan for dealing with the Black Court with a preemptive strike before they could get a firm foothold in the city, the actually confrontation did feel a little underwhelming. Sure, Dresden has never been all that great in an extended battle and Butcher seemed to want to play to his strengths and keep things on the shorter side, but that was it.
And as much as the notion of the guardian puppy was cool, it felt a lot more like noise in this book as it was just sort of there on the side even during more important plot developments. I know Butcher is obviously seeding the book with story elements for future books, but this could have been handled better.
TL;DR: All that aside, this book left me feeling very fulfilled as a reader and fan of the series and I'm glad that Butcher tackled things in the way he did. This may not automatically be my favorite book in the series, but it definitely ranks way up there. Thus the book gets a full 5 vampire shenanigans out of a possible 5.