Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7)

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Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) audiobook

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Review #1

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) audiobook free

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

In this seventh installment of the Dresden Files series, the White Council is still at war with the Red Court vampires. Thomas, Harry’s brother, is living with Harry in his dinky apartment after his sister disowned him. Mavra comes to Harry with a demand: Bring her the Word of Kemmler or she will hurt Murphy. As Harry begins to look for the Word of Kemmler and the book about the famous Erlking of the Fae, Die Lied de Erlking, he uncovers something that’s going to go down on Samhain and meets several people who are Kemmler’s followers… the same Kemmler who happened to own his very own friend Bob the skull. Harry is still dealing with the aftermath of burning the living daylights out of his hand, and he is having dreams of Lasciel, the demon whose coin he picked up and then buried. The shade of her is enough to impart a significant influence over him, and she is quite convincing as she tells him of her desire to help him survive all he has to deal with. He has a difficult time standing firm and resisting her.
Can Harry somehow find the Word of Kemmler, stop Kemmler’s disciples, and get it to Mavra in time without the White Court finding out and summarily executing him?

A common theme in these books is Harry constantly taking a beating and being near death’s door. This book was no different, but I’m really enjoying the Lasciel aspect. She is manipulative, of course, but also SO incredibly believable, and we are watching as Harry is slipping more and more into her grasp despite that he knows objectively that NO good can come from letting her have more power over him. This book almost makes the reader fall in love with her at the same time! She seems so sincere and gentle! I don’t blame Harry one bit for his feelings toward her. He is becoming more and more conflicted. It will be interesting to see where that storyline goes.
One thing I really enjoy about these books is the thorough explanation/exploration of the supernatural aspects. The Erlking in particular is a well-known figure in Faerie lore, and it was interesting to see how he was dealt with in this book. Necromancy in general is explained in a fascinating way – such that it sort of makes sense. Really, Jim Butcher always does a good job of presenting supernatural things in a really logical way — as in, they are just believable enough. I appreciate that, and it makes the books enjoyable to read. Harry’s sarcasm is, as always, fun and entertaining, but is it just me or is he getting darker? Less fun? It’s inevitable, but I kind of miss his casual playfulness and positivity. He is losing a little more of that in every book.

I am definitely looking forward to continuing on with the series.


Review #2

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) audiobook streamming online

I have been reading (and mostly rereading, because I stopped keeping up with the series after Changes) the Dresden Files for years and this is one of my favorite books of the series; it’s tied with Summer Knight for absolute fav.

Whereas my favorite part of Summer Knight is the focus on the nonhuman characters – particularly the Fae, who I think are really well written as an amoral Other rather than just plain evil nonhumans – what I like about Dead Beat is the focus on some of Harry’s best qualities: his dry and sarcastic humor (this book reads as very funny to me) as well as his ability to think on his feet and use adaptability to face and change situations that seem hopeless (the entire situation with the necromancers; just: all of it). I also really like the supporting characters in this novel (Thomas Raith, a White Court vampire who’s also Harry’s half-brother, and Waldo Butters, an ME who’s a recent addition to the in-the-know crowd), the twisty-turny plot (first this, then that, and oh look someone finally thought to take advantage of certain downsides to magic), and the fact this book is more reflective on certain parts on the Dresdenverse than other books have been (everything from wizard healing to the meaning of choice to the actual function of the Wardens gets a mention).

What I don’t like about the Dresden Files – that Dresden himself is a sexist ass, which doesn’t change even though it does get less pronounced with certain characters over time (I’d forgotten about Murphy helping destroy nest of Black Court vampires in the book before this one) – is less pronounced in Dead Beat for one reason: the lack of female characters. This is something I’m torn on. I’m happy that, at least for one book, Dresden’s patronizing chauvinism plays a relatively minor role and I didn’t have to put up with it for long as there are exactly five female characters in this book that play any role – Murphy (who goes off to vacation in Hawaii at the very beginning of the book; she’s completely uninvolved in the rest of the plot), Mavra (a Black Court vampire blackmailing Dresden for the plot’s macguffin who shows up for two scenes that bookend the novel), Kumori (an apprentice to one of the necromancers, supposedly in the service of eliminating death), the Corpsetaker (one of the actual necromancers and who only counts on this list because they’re in a stolen female body for most of the book), and Shiela (the imprint of the Fallen Angel Lasciel) – and, of the five, only Shiela/Lasciel recur more than a few times and are meant to be anything other outright villains. The characters are there (in that have at least one scene and they’re named), but have little in the way of actual characterization; they read less like people and more like archetypes (Lasciel is the Temptress, Kumori is the Misguided Girl, etc). This is like saying ‘Well, if example-MC treats nonwhite characters in racist ways, just have fewer nonwhite characters, put them in smaller roles meant to do/symbolize specific and discrete things – thus having a smaller range of potential interactions – and that aren’t meant to be have good connotations anyway; problem solved.’ As this would not ‘solve the problem’ of the example MC’s racism, such similar treatment of female characters in Dead Beat does not appropriately deal with the issue of Dresden’s sexism. Though somewhat masked, it’s still there and will still return full force in later books.


Review #3

Audiobook Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) by Jim Butcher

Seven books into the Dresden series and I’m still hooked. This one doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but this formula has worked throughout the series so no real need to change it yet. Jim Butcher has a knack for creating some memorable villains and I think that’s what has made this series so successful. It reminds me of the X files in terms of the story layout – you’ve got a long term story arc dealing with the nuts and bolts of the series – Harry’s past, family, hidden secrets etc – and in between we get these awesome “Monster of the week” types showing up in each individual book. So far we’ve had dark sorcerers, werewolves, faerie queens, fallen angels, vampires, and countless others bringing their nefarious schemes to Chicago. This time it’s necromancers stirring up trouble (and corpses) on Halloween night and it’s up to Harry to stop them. No Murphy this time, but a couple of familiar faces make an unexpected appearance in a nice surprise. Another great Dresden book


Review #4

Audio Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) narrated by James Marsters

I’m old. And I’ve read thousands of books. This is the best series of its kind. It keeps me up reading. It has me reaching for my kindle when I get up. I made my husband drive the car so I can read. If I’m awake, the phone (kindle) is in my hand or nearby. Nothing gets me upset. I’m too into the series to waste psychic energy or any other kind of energy when I could be reading. Seriously good writing. Lots of humor that has me chuckling along. Increasingly complex and thoroughly believably plot. Butcher doesn’t think obtuse is necessary for complex plotting. And when the writing is this good, there is NO NEED for obtuse. I think I’m in love. And I’m not halfway through the series. YES!


Review #5

Free audio Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7) – in the audio player below

Number 7 in the Dresden series — at this point, anyone who’s still reading these books should know the score.
Anyone jumping in at this point should stop and go back.
Having said that, the books still do the basic introductions for every recurring character and concept whenever the crop up, which is now getting a little tiring and I say that despite a two-year gap between reading Blood Rites and this.

This one starts with Harry — same as ever Harry: sleep-deprived, gallant, chivalrous and ever on the verge of trouble — living with his brother Thomas (see end of book 6) in his cramped apartment.

The main plot revolves around the arrival of a bunch of necromancers to Chicago, looking for a number of magical mcGuffins in order to become god-like and kick off world-ending-like problems.

A number of the usual supporting characters don’t appear at all, or very little indeed — notably Karrin Murphy (or any cop really) and Michael.
However Butters, the rarely-mentioned medical examiner, gets a much enlarged role here and he’s great. A funny and talented, yet permanently terrified individual with a passion for polka.

Overall I think this is tied, with Summer Knight (#4), for my favourite so far in the series.

This is a very easy read; thrilling, well paced between the many action sequences and the “figure it out” sequences involving Bob and Butters. Harry’s dog, whom I don’t remember from earlier books, plays an ever-increasing “role” in the books which I like.
Plenty of pop-culture humour as usual, pretty sure this scored at least five out-loud laughs.

The sole over-arching storyline for the series is now Harry’s “internal” battle with Lasciel, the fallen angel. This treads water a bit here, but does its job of maintaining that ever-present sense of doom for Harry’s future.

4 stars. These books are fun thrill rides, though not terribly memorable or substantial; doesn’t matter, I’ll keep reading.


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