Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Death Masks

Death Masks is the fifth book in the Dresden files. It continues the series' trend away from the private investigator schtick towards the super-powered magical hero set in an urban environment. In this novel, everything that's happened in the previous four come together in a climax that's worthy of Joss Whedon's Buffy.

We have the war between the wizards and the vampires, we have his former reporter girlfriend (now a proto-vampire), we have a stolen magical artifact (the Shroud of Turin), and we have the Knights of the Cross, as well as Chicago's crime boss. To me, this is the first novel where Dresden doesn't seem like a barely competent wizard, but actually seems to be effective at doing stuff other than dropping his implements and tools, and is able to achieve effects other than dropping unconscious any time anything contacts his noggin.

The novel seems built for the movies: lots of set-piece action sequences, fancy sword play, demons, and no less than 3 showdowns and a Mexican standoff. While it's all a lot of fun, it also feels like Jim Butcher's deliberately holding out on us: there's lots of hints about how Dresden is special, and lots of big actors are afraid of him, but no actual exposition on his past or his parents.

A fun summer read. Mildly recommended.
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