May 5, 2017

[Books] Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files - Book 8) Review

Have I mentioned I'm totally hooked on The Dresden Files at this point? I know I've been steadily reading the books in sequence at this point but let me go on record here. I am totally loving these books and Dresden's whole world and my only regret is not having gotten into these books sooner. I'm doing my best not to rush through things as there are only so many books. But additional book that I read just pulls me deeper into things.

Proven Guilty is a book that continues to redefine the very book world that had been established at the start of the series in quite a significant way. And it's not a change in the status quo that felt very left field. Instead it all makes sense and the transition from where things began and where things are now totally make sense.

The world of The Dresden Files is one filled with amazing, well-developed characters, fairly complex rules and politics and a lot of good fun. And thus the books remain quite the delight to read and totally worth the investment of reading time.

Synopsis: Proven Guilty is the eight book of Jim Butcher's The Dresden ,Files series of novels.  At this point we have Harry Dresden fulfilling his responsibilities as a Warden in service to the White Council as the war with the Red Court  of vampires still on-going.

A year since the confrontation depicted in Dead Beat, Warden Harry Dresden starts the book attending a trial of a teenage boy found guilty of black magic. Given he violated the law of using magic to control the minds of others, the Merlin has no choice but to have him executed. This feels like a message of sorts to Harry - a reminder of his place in the Merlin's view of the world and a warning that there are those who are prepared to strike him down as soon as he makes a mistake.

After this initial incident, Harry receives a message from the enigmatic Gatekeeper to track down use of black magic in Chicago before it's too late. As he begins to puzzle over this charge, Harry then receives a call from Molly Carpenter, daughter of Michael. She begs Harry's help in some police matter and it becomes a stark reminder that she's no longer the little girl he once knew and that he had been consciously avoiding the Carpenter family after his dealings with  the Denarian Lasciel, whose echo now lives in his head.

What I Liked: I'm a bit of a sucker for stories that involve the Faerie world and Harry resorting to reaching out to the Summer Court early in the book already got me excited about where things would go. Spoiler alert - they're involved in the story as a whole and are not just a cameo of past characters and it does make the book all that much better.

Its funny how I enjoy so many parts of this book that I'm actually uncertain how much I can write about before totally geeking and revealing too much about things because of that. Molly Carpenter is a great character and I was not expecting her to be reintroduced into the series his way. Harry is certainly growing in his own abilities but is once again attempting to isolate himself given the Denarian threatening to take control of him. And Murphy and Harry finally have a somewhat meaningful conversation and that's also a big deal. So much good stuff  in this book!

What Could Have Been Better: There's not much that I'd change in this book so we can only be left with nitpicking.Sure there are parts of Molly's story that initially seem more annoying than they needed to be but Butcher has a way of making even the most mundane, incidental characters end up being important later on. It may feel like you have to suffer through some of the early bits of the story with the horror convention and all that but that's just the beginning.

If I were to complain about anything else, it would be the lack of more Michael Carpenter being involved. Yes, this was a narrative requirement to really have Harry looking out for Molly and bringing that relationship back up to speed but it's totally fun to fanboy over Michael as a Knight of the Cross so I'll just take this time to complain about things.

TL;DR: Proven Guilty is a great Dresden book and one that feels like it setups up a lot of new stories for the future centered around the Faerie Courts, Molly Carpenter, Lasciel and a whole lot more. It's very well done and it really celebrates its characters so I really enjoyed it. Thus the book gets a great 5 horror monsters brought to life out of a possible 5.


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