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daveg7777

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My hobbies include just about anything, really...except reading, I hate reading! Kidding of course, reading is my favorite hobby! I love not only reading, but creative writing as well. I'm currently working on a novel about a group of paranormal social workers who try to help creatures like themselves cope with being different while also protecting humanity from the more malevolent beings. Other hobbies include music, yoga, comedy clubs, movies, and video games. I read from just about any genre, but my favorites are fantasy/urban fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and graphic novels (that's what us comic-book geeks call them to try to sound more sophisticated). In my secret identity, I work as an accountant for a nonprofit organization . I know...accounting and creative writing don't exactly go together...what can I say, I'm full of contradictions! My rating system: 5 STARS - I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't wait to finish it, yet I also never wanted it to end! 4 STARS - I liked this book an awful lot! It would have been perfect, except for some minor issue or issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment. 3 STARS - I liked this book, but found it somewhat flawed. Probably would not read again, but might still give the author and/or series a second chance. 2 STARS - Overall, a disappointing read for me. It had its moments, but sadly the bad outweighed the good. 1 STAR - I hate the part of my brain that convinced me to read this book!

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Queen and Country: A Gentleman's Game
Greg Rucka
Dead Beat - Jim Butcher The chaotic events in his life may have Harry Dresden feeling Dead Beat...but his books have never been more energized!

dresdenad
As an accountant, when I have a bad day at work, it often means I spent hours poring through various mind-numbingly dull spreadsheets trying to rectify a discrepancy. Now here's Harry Dresden's version of a bad day at work. One of his most dangerous enemies has pictures that could destroy the life of Harry's closest friend and ally. In order to stop the evil vampire-sorceress Mavra from releasing the incriminating photos of Special Investigations director Karrin Murphy, Harry must bring Mavra something called "The Word of Kemmler". Harry has no idea what The Word of Kemmler looks like or even what it is, all he knows is that he's not the only one trying to find it. Three dark wizards who are more powerful than anything Harry has ever faced before are also seeking The Word and are more than willing to kill Harry if he gets in their way (in fact, at least two of them welcome the opportunity)! Add to that an ongoing war between the wizards' council and the vampire court, and a fallen angel trying desperately to ensnare Harry in her web, and you have the makings of a really bad day at work! Y'know, suddenly being an accountant doesn't seem so bad...

I was very exciting going into this book, as I knew that "Dead Beat" is where the larger story that was threaded throughout the earlier Dresden Files books really begins to unfold. The first novels of the Dresden Files were more stand-alone stories, with larger themes being introduced as the series went on, but "Dead Beat" is where many of those subplots begin to come together to make Harry's adventures one continuing epic drama! The war with the vampiric Red Court that began in "Ghost Peril", the debt Harry owes the Faerie courts from "Summer Knight", the bond with fallen angel Lasciel from "Death Masks", and the revelation of who Thomas is to Harry from "Blood Rites", all these events play a major role in this book, and it was a lot of fun to watch something that began as simple supernatural mysteries evolve into something so much more complex.

If you read any of the previous six books in the Harry Dresden series, you already know that you can count on plenty of excitement and humor, but this time around it's become apparent that Jim Butcher is truly growing as a writer. His fight sequences are now so beautifully detailed, they rival even R.A. Salvatore's! Also, Butcher really ups the ante in terms of action and suspense. The battles are larger in scale than ever before, including one involving zombies dueling with specters, and the grand finale features what may just be Harry's most epic moment to date. Also, the odds have never been more stacked up against Harry before, which made for a gripping tale. In addition, I noticed even Butcher's prose has matured. One sequence in which Harry describes seeing through the point of view of both predator and prey is so masterfully written, it's actually poetic. And then there's the twist...many an author has stumbled and fallen trying to yank the rug out from under the reader, but Butcher manages to come up with a moment that not only shocked me, but made complete sense when I thought back on previous events. Yes, almost everything I love about the Dresden books was bigger and better...almost...

As much as I enjoyed reading "Dead Beat", I found myself rolling my eyes far too many times to give the book a perfect score. For one thing, there's Butcher's annoying habit of turning Harry Dresden into...
thatguy
You know who I'm talking about...that guy! The one who got a laugh once doing a weak Austin Powers impression and now feels the need to incorporate it into just about every conversation! In all fairness, a lot of Harry's witticisms work, but Butcher has a tendency to overdo it to the point where Harry stops being funny and starts getting annoying, and this book was no exception. Even Butcher himself seems to acknowledge this when he has another character tell Harry, "You're not nearly as funny as you think you are." I'm not trying to bash Butcher, as I really do think most of his humor works, but it does get tiresome when Harry has to be a complete wise-ass in every single situation (even in ones where he should be focusing on trying to save lives)!

I had some other minor grievances with this particular story. One was that Karrin Murphy was almost completely absent this time around. Murphy has always been one of my favorite characters, and her chemistry with Dresden worked brilliantly in previous novels, so I thought it was a rather odd choice by Butcher to leave her out of the book...especially considering Harry's whole reason for originally entering into the search for The Word is to protect Murphy's career! With so many things other things going on, Mavra's blackmailing of Murphy becomes little more than an afterthought, and I can't help but feel that this plot point would have been far more effective had Murphy and Mavra actually been in the book for more than a few pages. Instead of Dresden teaming up with Murphy, we get a "bromance" between him and medical examiner Butters, but Butters isn't nearly as charismatic as Murphy. Harry's half-brother Thomas is along for the ride as well, but as he doesn't really have much to do with the story and even disappears without a mention for several parts of the book, he doesn't really serve much more purpose than giving Harry a chance to get out a few more quips. Another minor grievance was one too many James Bond moments, where the villains have Harry completely at their mercy but inexplicably give him more than enough time to escape instead of just killing him when they get the chance...
villainrule

Still, even with its minor faults, I would recommend this book to just about anyone who enjoys urban fantasy. If Butcher continues to grow as a writer, I see a lot of five-star reviews for the Dresden books in the future!

One last thing, I have a question I want to ask anyone who's read this book...if you haven't read "Dead Beat"yet, I urge you not to click on the spoiler, as it could potentially ruin the big twist for you...
I was convinced that Shiela would actually turn out to be Cowl's assistant Kumori...did anyone else have this same theory, or am I really the only one who fell for this particular red herring?!?"