December 26, 2011

Review. Grave Peril, by Jim Butcher

Author: Jim Butcher
Title: Grave Peril
Series: Dresden Files (#3)
ISBN: 9780451458445
Publisher: Roc (2001)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Harry Dresden's faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you're the only professional wizard in the Chicago area phone book.
But in all Harry's years of supernatural sleuthing, he's never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble--and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone--or something--is stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself . . .” GoodReads’ blurb

At the beginning of the audiobook, there was an author’s comment saying that many people felt that the Dresden Files series really took off with this volume. I kind of hope that it didn’t, because I didn’t like Grave Peril as much as the previous two instalments.

That’s not to say that it wasn’t en enjoyable read. Harry Dresden is very much his usual self, facing against odds stacked too high against him, pulling it off by crazy last-stands, trying to do the right thing and getting zapped in the process. In that aspect, Grave Peril was very much like the previous books, and in that aspect I was hooked to the read, cheering and wowing and wooing in all the right places.

The things that bothered me, if bother is even the right verb, concern the supporting cast. For one, Harry’s relationship with our journalist friend becomes much more stable. Okay, even if that’s not the girl I’d have chosen for me. Then, Murphy is nearly wiped out of the book, and while she has a decent excuse to be unavailable, I’d have liked to see her around, as before. And finally, we have Michael. Who’s Michael, you say?

Right. That’s my qualm.

Harry grows a sidekick, someone who knows him has worked with him in the past, and has just recently been part of a huge operative along with him, and we were none the wiser. The operative, which is the root for the whole conflict in the book, happens behind the scenes and we are left to deal with the fallout. It’s not that it grated me to the point of insanity, but I’d have preferred to get to know the villain who seeks revenge, so that I could at least know why he did it. I’d have preferred Harry to keep his usual cop team, and, if a new good, kind-of-supernatural helper was so important, I’d have liked to get to know him a little beforehand.

Also, while this is something that happens in previous books as well, there was one thing that began to bother me while listening to Grave Peril: all the secondary cast is female, incredibly – supernaturally – hot, and most of it neglects the use of a bra. I understand Harry needs his eye candy, but hey, so do I! Couldn’t we have some mixed villains? Some standard female characters, even, if males were out of the question.

So, all in all, I found Grave Peril to be entertaining but slightly weaker than its predecessors. Not weak enough to recommend avoiding it, but I do hope that the next books will go back to the previous line. I think you should start reading Storm Front and Fool Moon, and then give Grave Peril a shot if you loved them, as I did.  


  1. I really want to read this series. I just happened to find the tv show awhile back on, and watched it. I loved it and didn't even know it was a book series before that. So I was super excited when I learned about the books.

    That made me laugh, though... give Ron her eye candy!!

  2. Hey, Ron! Hope you had a GREAT Christmas!!

    You know, I've seen this series on blogs here and there, but never investigated in depth. I siimply assumed it was some sort of spy/crime thing, which is not the type of stuff I enjoy reading. Well, now that I've read your excellent review, I see that I shouldn't hava assumed this is now something I'm definitely interested in! Any book containing supernatural elements is right up my alley!

    I'll have to start with the first two books in the series, obviously.

    I agree with you about the all-female staff, by the way. Where's OUR eye candy? Where are all the shirtless guys running around flexing their pecs? Lol.

    Thanks for the great review!! : )

    Maria @

  3. @Christy: then we make a good team, because I had no idea there was a series of this one! I think I don't want to see it, though - Harry has become way too solid in my mind's eye to risk taking a look at the actor!

    @Maria: Oooh.... I'm so glad I helped you find the series! It's quite good, and while there's a lot of action and some investigation as Harry tries to solve the mysteries... it's definitely supernatural stuff! Actually, if I'm not too off the mark, this was one of the first really popular Urban Fantasy series. I hope you'll enjoy this!

    As always... If you like audiobooks, then get the audio copy: James Marsters IS a master at voice-acting Harry!