If the charge is writing one of the best Harry Dresden novels yet, then Jim Butcher has just been Proven Guilty As a practicing wizard, Harry Dresden has always been troubled by the methods of his bosses in the White Council But since becoming a Warden and witnessing the Council s methods firsthandnow he s outright disgusted by them When someone is caught practicing black magic, rather then considering rehabilitation for the practitioner, the Council prefers to simply cut the dark wizard off at the knees or accurately, the head So when Harry is tipped off that someone is utilizing black magic in Chicago, he hopes to find the practitioner before the Council does However, it wouldn t be a day in the life of Harry Dresden if there weren t at least five crises going on at once In addition to locating the spellcaster, Harry has to contend with an ongoing battle between the wizards and the vampires, movie monsters that have somehow come to life and are attacking citizens, the daughter of an old friend who is in trouble with the law, and fairies with the power to tear the world apart who are on the brink of war So now Harry has to save the world from the bad guys, as well as save the bad guys from the good guys Oh, and if he could survive the whole affair, that would be nice, too I ve always had somewhat conflicting feelings towards the Harry Dresden series While, personally I find the series a lot of fun, whenever I m talking to someone with sophisticated tastes than mein other words, at least 98% of the planet , I feel the need to defend my love of the books I ll find myself saying things like,Yeah, the FBI agent pulling a gun on Murphy over a snide remark was a bit much, but , or,yeah, I know the books feature a greatest hits cast of supernatural creatures from other books, butSo I was ecstatic to read this book and find that Jim Butcher has finally done ithe s finally written a book with enough depth and complexity that I no longer feel the need to defend my enjoyment of his work In fact, there were three major categories in which Butcher displayed a mature method of storytellingDeeper characters One character who showed a lot of character growth this time around was Harry Dresden himself In past books, his wise cracking could be funny, but it also often took the place of any real characterization, to the point where Harry could come across as a one dimensional wise ass whose constant one liners eventually evoked eye rolls than chuckles Dresden has gotten this reaction so many times, he was 35 years old before he realized that pupils are usually found in the CENTER of an eye However, this time around, Harry is conflicted His horror at the White Council s ruthless methods His desire to reconcile the Carpenter family with their rebellious daughter His temptation to accept the fallen angel Lasciel s offer of power Harry has become a much rounded character at this stage in the game, and he s not the only one In the past, the Carpenter s came across as almost cartoonish with their perfect life, with family matriarch Charity seemingly distrusting Harry for no further reason than to provide some comic relief with her snarky comments towards him However, now we re given a much clearer glimpse into the Carpenters lives, and they become far sympathetic because of it particularly the formerly unlikable Charity This time around, I wasn t just entertained by Dresden and his cast of charactersI truly cared about them Deeper story Look, I ll be the first to admit that, while I found the earlier books very entertaining, the actual plots were often as thin as the paper they were typed on Fool Moon was about pissed off werewolves Grave Peril was about pissed off ghosts Summer Knight was about pissed off fairiesI ll stop now, something tells me you ve picked up on the patternHowever, by this stage in the game, the books are now weaving together many different plot threads at once If this were one of the earlier books, chances are the black magic and the conjured up movie monsters would have made up the entirety of the novel However, in addition, we get political battles between the wizards, deeper ramifications of the wizards war with the vampires, and the presence of the fairies, where even the ones who are on Harry s side come across as devious and untrustworthy At first I was afraid the fairies were just being thrown into the mix, but Butcher managed to make them an integral part of the story And I ve always appreciated how Butcher s rendition of fairies is so much sinister than the kindly fairy godmothers that fairies are often depicted asparticularly recurring Dresden nemesis Queen Mab I can t imagine why this interpretation of fairies never made it into the Disney moviesAlong with a larger story, complex themes are explored as well I loved how the lines between good and evil were much blurry, and after being asked to wonderwill they or won t theyabout Dresden and Murphy for seven books, I was pleased to see how the tension between them was actually addressed in a mature fashion than I would have previously expected Of course, Butcher understands that people don t usually check out his books strictly for some weighty philosophical struggles, which brings us toDeeper action In the past, I ve referred to the Dresden books as fun , but this time around, one of the first adjectives that springs to mind is exciting Butcher outdid himself with the fight sequences, particularly in a duel between Harry and a movie monster known as the Scarecrow, where the action is so beautifully depicted, it channeled the writing abilities of R.A Salvatore himself I ve always considered Salvatore the greatest at describing fight scenes, but if Butcher can keep this up, he ll definitely be holding the silver medal next to Salvatore s gold Other fight sequences particularly the big showdown towards the end also feature raised stakes and creative spellcasting, making this an adventure I didn t just read about, I actually felt So by giving us a larger story with complex concepts and fleshed out characters, Butcher manages to proved his maturation and downright improvement as a writer The previous Dresden novels were good books, but added depth makes this one a good story as well Okaymaybe this book isn t really THAT deep, but it sure feels that way when you compare it to Fool Moon 4.5 Stars Amazing start, even amazing finish, but it definitely got dull in the middle so I couldn t give it a full 5 stars. Well, well, well My, my, my This book illustrates perfectly why I m safe from being a die hard fan of any author I don t have a shred of loyalty towards my favorite authors, and I wear that attitude like a badge of honor Most of the Dresden books I ve read so far have scored well Because of that, I believe that Jim Butcher doesn t need to punch above his weight to write a damn good book He is frighteningly talented So what happened here I m not alone in finding Proven Guilty a mediocre book The foundation of Jim Butcher s books relies on sentimentality If the structure of the story is sound and pleasing, the readers ignore the underlying cheesiness of the premise But if the structure of the story lends itself badly to deconstruction, we are aware of the paucity of logic and intelligence in the writing The hitherto strength of the series, namely that we are willing to accept that Harry Dresden courts trouble, and gets away with it despite a humongous display of stupidity with gallantry as his cloak, becomes his weakness in this book Paradoxically, the writer keeps Harry underpowered Harry escapes from a tight bind in Proven Guilty with resourcefulness, but with no show of power What messes the balance in the series is that the hero keeps fighting foes who are increasingly dangerous He should not have survived Also, when the biggest villain yet is pitted against the hero, the stakes should be high But curiously, they re not Also, not to nitpick, but this is the first book where we get to learn nothing new about Dresden The Dresden Files relies a lot on characterization We don t ask for it, but us fans have been served with books that ooze chutzpah, sincerity, wholesomeness, and among others,braveness in the face of decay and death Some of the passages depict human frailty, with us not even at the top of the food chain The magic of this world is shown to great purpose In this book, the sincerity sounds faked The winks and nods have in common with fan service than with humor The twists are moribund, and may perhaps be the most embarrassing aspect of book 8 The most pleasing element of Proven Guilty is the exposure of the corrupt intricacy of the White Council the wizard court What happens near the end, the case where Harry moonlights as an attorney, feels realistic Such a tainted organization as the Council would behave the exact way as it has been shown I hear the next book serially is just as bad as this one, but after that things get better I d better get on with it. Reread with the lobster Wonderful read This series just gets better and better and I love how there are now so many secondary characters that get revolved between the various books It makes the series that little bit compelling as when you start the book you re not 100% sure who is going to be in it.It felt to me like there was a lot of foreshadowing in this one Ultimately how powerful is Harry going to become The wizard Harry Dresden continues to anger the White Council, the Red Court of Vampires, the winter court of the Fey and pretty much everyone else in the universe He and Bob have a new dangerous project in his work space He s worried about his half brother, Thomas, who has been acting kind of weird and may or may not be feeding off of people again He and Murphy are starting to talk about their interesting relationship and there s a fallen angel in the concrete of his house Could things get much worse Yeah, it could When Michael s daughter begins to have problems, Harry has to deal with those too.First, he has to witness an execution of an evil magic user by the council It makes him sick to his stomach because the boy was never trained and didn t know that what he was doing was wrong It reminds Harry of his own questionable past and how close he came to the same fateBut it doesn t change the fact that we ve just murdered a boy who probably never knew enough to understand what was happening to himpg 15The White Council is so stretched by the war with the vampires, they ve giving less time to social niceties than perhaps they able to in the past They ve also been able to train fewer wizards And there s a new threat running around Chicago that Harry has been tasked to discoverAs the senior Warden in the region, it falls to you to investigate and find those responsible In my opinion, it is vital that you do so immediately To my knowledge, no one else is aware of the situationpg 29I really enjoyed this entry in the series until the end of the story arc with Michael s daughter That part felt off to me and crossed a line that I didn t know I had for these books.In my mind, The Dresden Files are sort of the junk food of my to be read pile The hero of the stories is not perfect and admittedly so He s kind of a dog when it comes to women and relationships He tries to make the right decisions but it sometimes back fires in his face But I usually agree with what he tries to do and understand his motivations behind it.But the way that he treats Michael s daughter I didn t agree with that There s a kind way to go about things and a cruel way, and I felt like he unnecessarily chose the cruel way It s not what I look for in my junk food reads Plus, the whole scene gave me the creeps and made me feel like I didn t know the character after all.And perhaps that was the point Sometimes Harry does the wrong thing Sometimes he thinks the wrong thing But at the end of the day, in this book at least, he didn t make a different type of unforgivable mistake.That being said, if he lived in my world, I wouldn t let him be around my kid, end of story And if this book hadn t included the icky part with Michael s daughter, it would have been a five star read for me. I m gonna say it againthe series just keeps getting better I know told ya so s are in order, but I have to tell you that those first few books weren t all that convincing Not that they were bad mind you, but I didn t feel much for the characters other than a very shallow interest Mostly, I kept reading to satisfy a mild curiosity to see how Harry would solve his next case oh and I was being pressured by a longtime fan Twisted my arm, she did.But now, these last few books I ve been reading as much for my love for the characters as for the outcome of his next disasterI mean case There has been a significant improvement in the quality of each book as we get to know a deeper side of Harry Not just the chivalrous sex starved wizard, but a guy who when all else fails will stop at nothing to save lives, protect his friends and be a thorn in the flesh of any who stand in his way He s got a lot of help too Each book has introduced some pretty awesome friends, sidekicks, villains and nasty monsters And we re finally at a point where they all begin to connect to a bigger picture It s so cool to see some of the earlier characters showing up, helping out, or revealing about themselves Mysteries abound folks The you know the you realize you re missing I felt that this book had a lot of heart Harry finds himself in the midst of family turmoil while working his next case and I had so many feelings on how the family handled themselves I m also always happy when Michael or his family shows up I love how Jim Butcher handles the topic of faith even though his main character is far from religious He stays true to each of his characters and I can absolutely respect that Especially being that they all must work together for the same cause while being of very different backgrounds The magic is straightforward and I always enjoy the moments Harry is gathering up his power or formulating his next spell It s very cool to see how it works, how limiting it can be for him, and the means he must use to get around his own limitations Not always the most ideal means, but definitely interesting sometimes concerning So for what it s worth, I would recommend to anyone who has given up on the series or is struggling to get through those first few books not to give up on it just yet It might seem like a waste of time to push through books you re not truly enjoying but once you get over that hump it will be well worth the effort. There S No Love Lost Between Harry Dresden, The Only Wizard In The Chicago Phone Book, And The White Council Of Wizards, Who Find Him Brash And Undisciplined But War With The Vampires Has Thinned Their Ranks, So The Council Has Drafted Harry As A Warden And Assigned Him To Look Into Rumors Of Black Magic In The Windy CityAs Harry Adjusts To His New Role, Another Problem Arrives In The Form Of The Tattooed And Pierced Daughter Of An Old Friend, All Grown Up And Already In Trouble Her Boyfriend Is The Only Suspect In What Looks Like A Supernatural Assault Straight Out Of A Horror Film Malevolent Entities That Feed On Fear Are Loose In Chicago, But It S All In A Day S Work For A Wizard, His Faithful Dog, And A Talking Skull Named Bob Jim Butcher is a creep And not the cool kind of creep like Bukowski that you romanticize, but like Ezra from Pretty Little Liars kind of creep Seriously, Butcher, I m not putting this one on Harry The last few pages of this book made my skin crawl Sexualizing an underage character and Harry blatantly lusting after her and beating himself up over it and trying to moralize it is just awful But like I said, this isn t Harry This is some weird thing Jim Butcher has going on in his head Was he substitute teaching while writing this one I mean, he talks about her body, and piercings that you can t see and I wondered which one of his friends daughters he is lusting after in real life.Aside from that, this book is mostly just an interlude It s a way for Butcher to get from one book to another and introduce his concubine, Molly There s really nothing going on iin this book that alters the Dresden universe, and really, this book can just be skipped entirely I mean, Butcher starts to repeat himself even than ever Not just plot points of other books, but full sentences, sentiments and other diatribes On top of that, I don t think Butcher has ever actually seen another human being Or rather, he s never payed attention to another person s body language For some reason, he s addicted to writiing that his characters changed their stance while in the middle of conversations What Are we haviing an argument in a dojo No one, and I mean, no one, except a cop who s about to pull his weapon, changes their stance while having a general QA coonversation People stiffen, avert their eyes, relax their posture, put their weight on one hip, get in your face, etc, but changing stances isn t something that happens I don t know why he s so fond of saying that so often, but it is just such an irritant Also, don t say something is almost blank An almost silver light Pick what it is and say it Simple Oh, and while I m on it, don t say everyone is a blank in their own right What does that even mean Was your word count low Did your editor take a vacation I just don t get it.The last Dresden book I ll ever read.The end.
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it Jim currently
- 489 pages
- Proven Guilty
- Jim Butcher
- 13 June 2018 Jim Butcher