Having thoroughly enjoyed Jim Butcher's Storm Front (Canada, USA, Europe), Fool Moon (Canada, USA, Europe), and Grave Peril (Canada, USA, Europe), I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into the fourth installment, Summer Knight.
The Dresden Files book sequence has become one of the most popular series in the speculative fiction genre, at least on this side of the Atlantic. Though, so far, the series has been a bit formulaic and episodic in format, the misadventures of the wizard Harry Dresden have made for entertaining and fun-filled reads. Even better, most fans seem to agree that Summer Knight is the point where the series truly takes off.
Now done with the novel, I can confirm the fact that Butcher elevated his game, bringing the Dresden Files to a higher level and setting the stage for a lot of fireworks to come!
Here's the blurb:
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a very powerful wizard and a dedicated private eye. He is also a wise cracking trouble magnet.
Fueled by a tempest of guilt, sleep deprivation, malnutrition, bad temper and frankly awful personal grooming. Harry is hurtling toward oblivion. According to Harry that is nobody's business but his own.
The Winter Queen of Faerie manipulates him into accepting a case to solve a murder and stop a war between the courts of Summer and Winter that could have literally earth shattering consequences. His own soul is up for grabs. Dresden must dig deep to discover that at time a willingness to accept a little help from your friends, be they a cub pack of werewolves, old loves in sheep's clothing, or a battalion of pizza loving dewdrop fairies, is a very good thing.
Summer Knight features the first-person narrative of the endearing, if frequently inept, only professional wizard in the phonebook, Harry Dresden. As always, although he is never the strongest of light bulbs, I find it impossible not to root for Harry. His heart is in the right place, and his flawed nature makes him one of the most likeable characters out there.
The supporting cast once again gives the story its own distinctive flavor. We finally meet members of the secretive White Council, as well as members of both the Faerie courts. Through these new protagonists, we uncover truths about what the vampires are planning for Harry, and how the faerie conflict puts the entire world into jeopardy. Needless to say, the proverbial shit is about to hit the fan, and the sole wizard in Chicago finds himself right in the middle of it all.
The introduction of new concepts such as the various vampire Courts, the faeries, and the Knights of the Cross in Grave Peril hinted at the fact that this was a series that resounded with a lot more depth than met the eye. The addition of new characters and developments, especially with everything regarding the Summer and Winter Queens of Faerie and their entourages, demonstrates that the Dresden Files sequence is more multilayered than it appears at face value.
Another fast-paced urban fantasy offering, in Summer Knight we see evidence of a bigger, more ambitious overall story arc which promises a lot more to come. The first two volumes were a bit more linear in their approach, while Grave Peril featured quite a few surprises. This fourth installment builds on the previous three, making this one the most satisfying book in the series thus far.
Never quite expected that, but Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files is fast becoming one of my favorite series on the market today. Can't wait to find out what misadventures Harry Dresden will find himself in next!
The final verdict: 8/10