Friday, August 14, 2009

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Harry's at it again. Harry can do more in one day than most people can do in a lifetime. Case it point, he goes on the Larry Fowler talk show, accepts a duel with a duke from the Red Court, destroys the studio, gets attacked by hit men, takes on the case of the missing Shroud of Turin, bumps into his ex-girlfriend, gets called in by Murphy to identify a headless, handless corpse, runs into a Fallen demon and is saved by the Knights of the Cross (Michael, Sanya, and Shiro) and finds out 29 more Fallen demons are after him. oh, and there's a magical plague curse which can sweep the city. While many people may balk at these tasks, Harry handles it with his wry wit and wizardly skills. Susan even trades barbs with him, among other things. With the shroud missing, demons after it, the Knights around, the Red Court hanging around, Susan on the prowl, what's Harry to do except bring it all together in a resounding conclusion. Short? Perhaps, but Harry tends to drone on and on (kind of like someone else I know, who I constantly have to remind him to get straight to the point). Yet Harry does figure it all out and manages to fix things without killing himself, a feat which is impressive all its own (there are twelve in the series so Harry should pace himself).

I caught this short-lived series on the Sci-Fi Channel and have been hopelessly addicted since. Butcher does tend to be a little long-winded (I'm sure he'd say it's Harry), but the idea of magick and the otherworld creatures are done better than other writers I've encountered. There is some sex, maybe some swearing, but it's all manageable and toned down in a way not to be offensive. Sure, it's the dark side, but it's the fun-loving portion of it. A ride into the fantastic that will perhaps live beyond a fad, no wonder the books are so popular, if only the series had the same power or should I blame the powers that be?


hamilcar barca said...

two questions -

would you characterize this as "Young Adult" reading?

and given that this is a 12-book series, does each one stand by itself? i'd hate to commit myself to a dozen books, but if the stories are stand-alone, then i can simply pick and choose.

Christina said...

No, I wouldn't characterize it as "Young Adult." While the cussing, sex, gore, and such are tame and barely reaches the "screen," there's not enough angst for it to be YA. Just kidding, I don't think YA readers would like it, though I could be wrong. It's geared towards a more older generation.

Some characters from previous books pop in usually and there are main stays, like Murphy, Bob, Mister, and (formerly) Susan. However, I do think you could read them as standalone as when Harry talks about a previous character who pops in, he mentions the person's background and reason he knows the person. As I said, Harry tends to be long-winded. You can follow my 50-page rule, if the book doesn't grab you in 50 pages, drop it.