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Summer Knight: Dresden’s Most Fantastical Fantasy Adventure Yet

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"Summer Knight" by Jim Butcher

For the longest time I’ve been meaning to dive back into The Dresdin Files. I did enjoy the first three books. I actually out right loved two of them and the fourth book has been on my reading list for ages. Sadly, there are also seventy or so other books on that list. Recently, I read a very long bore of a book and when I was done I said, “I’m going to read something I know is good,” and finally I cracked open the fourth Dresdin Files novel and began reading. The book is "Summer Knight" by Jim Butcher and this the review.

So, What Is It About?

The series follows Harry Dresdin, a wizard for hire who works for the police as a consultant on supernatural related murders. But things have gone south since the end of the previous book. At the end of the last book he fell into a mess with the vampires, inadvertently causing a war among the magical world. Because Harry is a wizard, and his actions to save the ones he loves violated some treaty of the magical world, he is quickly trying to find a way to establish peace again. This is why Harry must go to magical court hearings at the White Council where he may be charged as a criminal and turned over to the vampires. On top of that Harry’s girlfriend has been bit by a vampire. She’s not a full vampire yet, but she ends up hiding out somewhere isolated where she can’t accidentally bite someone and become a full vampire. So basically Harry’s a wreck. He stopped working, shaving and even eating much as he fell into a depressive stupor. He only seems to fall further into it every time he fails to find a cure for his girlfriend.

It isn’t until his friend Billy tries to help him, that Harry stops dwelling in self pity. Billy opens the shop and sets him up with a client. Though angry as ever about Billy’s stunt, Harry’s about to be evicted, and he decides to see the client ready to dismiss him. The client turns out to be the Fae Queen of the season Winter. She needs home to figure out who killed a knight of the Summer Queen. Harry knows the Fae are trouble, but he also knows if he can get the Fae on the side of the wizards, they stand a better chance with the legal vampire issues. She also offers him something else he can’t refuse. Harry falls head first into something much bigger than he expected, and if he fails finding who the killer is, there will be war between Winter and Summer. And if there’s no balance between the two, humanity’s pretty much dead.

The Good?

It’s fun. It’s a wacky monster mash that never fails to entertain. For example, Harry and his cop buddy have to battle a troll in the plant department of a Walmart. It’s just zany and zany is fun. The book actually has an epic battle toward the end and it was incredibly well written. Also one complaint I had about the past novels were the mentions of Never Never, the white council, summer court, winter court, fae, red council and so on. And those mentions were done in passively. I guess small hints of the magical world was all that needed as much of happened in the familiar circles Chicago in the last few novels. But here it is needed and it was all explained. The magical world was so detached from the human one by the end, it felt more like Harry Potter at times more than a Harry Dresdin book. Also this book is much more fantastical this time around. Instead of the supernatural mystery, this much more of a straight forward epic fantasy. But the best part I think is a theme of this story. Its core tale is about Harry pulling himself together to live again. He slowly pulls himself out of this depression. And at the last page when he finally accepts Billy’s invite for Pizza night, I couldn’t help but smile. It was just so great to see that he finally doing better and was just a little bit happy again.

The Bad?

The books up to this point have always been crime dramas with monsters. And that is what I was expecting. Instead I got something much more fantastical. It’s okay. But some people are not going to like this bait and switch. Also Murphy’s barely in this. If you’re a fan of her, you’ll be disappointed. The same goes for Susan. So fan favorites are missing. Also Jim Butcher fell for an old cliché that nearly killed me. When Dresdin finds the bad guy and the bad guy soon has him trapped; then guess what happens? The book has two whole pages where the bad guy tells him the master plan. Why does Butcher do these things? I don’t know. But when he does something like this it makes me roll my eyes so hard they might get stuck. Oh and one last thing. This book is slower paced than the previous novels.

Rating

Overall, the book is not what I was expecting, but it was still good. It’s more traditional fantasy and it’s still very fun. If you’re a fan, then I recommend it even though it’s not as grounded as the other novels. And if you’re not a fan, oddly enough this is a good place to jump in because the magical world and Dresdin’s back story is more thoroughly explained here than the previous books, so go read it. Have fun.

3 ½ smoothies out of four.

Overall Rating: Dresden’s Most Fantastical Fantasy Adventure Yet

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