Title: Ghost Story
Author: Jim Butcher
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Warning: This review contains SPOILERS for the previous book in The Dresden Files series, Changes.
Harry awakens from his recent murder in the land of the dead, where he is told his work isn’t quite over yet. In order to save the lives of three of his dearest friends, he must return to Chicago and solve the mystery behind his own murder. The only catch? Because Harry is now a spirit, he will not go back to the world he knows as flesh and blood, but as a ghost.
I love this series. I don’t think I need to state that at this point. I am constantly amazed at Jim Butcher’s creativity, at the risks he takes with the storyline and his main character. After all, anyone who knows anything about storytelling knows you don’t kill off your main character at the end of a book when you’re still intending to write more sequels. But that’s exactly what Jim Butcher did in Changes – one of the most incredible, shocking, and best decisions ever made in the history of writing series – and that immediately leads to the beginning of this book, the thirteenth in The Dresden Files series, Ghost Story.
Harry is really in over his head in this book. Though he’s usually outmanned and outgunned, he usually has confidence in both his powers and abilities, as well as trust in those around him. When he reawakens as a ghost, however, Harry loses even those few advantages. He is alone, with no one able to hear or see him, and as a ghost, he cannot manipulate the real world, nor can he use magic. It’s a startling and humbling realization for Harry. It forces him rethink who he is – after all, he defined himself through magic. It was the essence of his being. If he no longer can use magic, then what is he?
It is very important to be familiar with the series prior to reading Ghost Story. First of all, the premise of this book is so different from the rest, so fresh and new, that you need to understand the other books to really appreciate this one. Also, a lot of this book is revisiting with Harry’s old friends and understanding the effects he had on them, and what they have become without him. It’s a great piece of storytelling, but if you have no foreknowledge of the people he encounters, it won’t mean much to you.
I absolutely loved Ghost Story. I think in some ways, it is a book for real fans of the series. There isn’t quite as much action as you’d expect from a Dresden Files novel; instead, it’s quieter. While there are multiple storylines, one of which is very action-packed, this book is much more introspective. It revisits old friends and once again changes the course of the entire series with its powerful ending. I devoured this book, unable to tear myself away from it, and already can’t wait for the next novel in the series.