Title: Grave Peril
Author: Jim Butcher
Release Date: September 5, 2001
Publisher: Roc (Print) / Buzzy Multimedia (Audio)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Harry has teamed up with his friend Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross, in order to take down the unusual number of ghosts that have been haunting Chicago. He realizes that the boundary between our world and the spirit world has grown thin and tries to figure out what is really going on.
While I wouldn’t say my audio rereads of the first two books in The Dresden Files series Storm Front and Fool Moon disappointed me, they definitely weren’t at the level I remembered. I found that they dragged a bit and didn’t incorporate the wonderful, overarching mythology I’ve really loved over the course of these books. I was beginning to wonder if I had been inflating the series in my mind when I started Grave Peril, and almost immediately I knew that this was the real beginning of the series I knew and loved.
While the first two novels stand alone, Grave Peril is really the beginning of the interconnected, greater world of The Dresden Files novels. The book incorporates ghosts, vampires, and even the Catholic Church; the mythology is everywhere and Butcher shapes it well. Dresden is as great of a character as ever, though in Grave Peril he experiences some serious self-doubt. He reaches his limits and is pushed beyond them. I’ll admit, at times I thought it was unrealistic he was still able to stand after the beatings he went through, but I love how strong and resilient (and stubborn) Harry is.
I listened to Grave Peril on audio, and it runs 12 hours and is unabridged. The narrator is the man who has really become the voice of Harry Dresden for me, James Marsters. He does an amazing job and really embodies the spirit of Harry. I noticed in this audiobook that Marsters also does an excellent job with female voices; he softens enough so that you know there is a woman speaking, but it doesn’t sound silly or ridiculous. Audio is a wonderful way to experience these novels, and I’m glad I’m rereading them this way.
It’s funny that I feel like The Dresden Files series didn’t start until the third book, but now that I’m through Grave Peril, I’m eager for more. This is such a well conceived series that I can’t wait for it to really start unfolding before me.