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Summer Knight By Jim Butcher

This review has spoilers for the end of Grave Peril. Therefore it goes under a cut.

All actions have consequences. That’s what Harry is feeling at the beginning of Summer Knight. Ever since the previous book, Grave Peril, Harry has been hard at work trying to find a magical cure for vampirism to save his girlfriend Susan, neglecting his friends, his job, his apartment, and hygiene in the process. Meanwhile, the vampire Red Court has declared war on The White Council, and The White Council puts the blame directly on Harry. To complicate things further, Mab, the faerie Winter Queen approaches Harry with a difficult case, find the murderer of the Summer Knight. In return for solving this crime and completing two more tasks, Harry will be released from the deal he made his faerie Godmother when he was young. Initially, he turns her down, as making deals with faeries is never a good idea. Then, events change and soon Harry has no choice but to help the Queen of Winter. If he doesn’t the world may plunge into chaos.

There’s a bit of a story behind this book series. I read the first three books over a period of a few months, and found them to be funny, exciting reads with an amusing lead. Then I put aside most of my personal reading when I took a young adult literature course. In the meantime, I recommended the first three to my fiancé, seeing as he’s a fantasy fan and I thought he would enjoy the detective angle of the books. He read the first three books, and then purchased the next two. The next thing I knew he was flying through them, and we were making weekly trips to Borders so he could buy the next two, then the next two books in the series. I was sad I wasn’t able to discuss them with him, but one thing he told me was “Summer Knight is my favorite.” So far, I think I have to agree with him.

Summer Knight is heads and shoulders over the first three books in the series, which apparently the author wrote for a class. With this installment, the writing is much better, better to the point when I was constantly looking up and thinking “wow where did that come from?” The plot is tight, and the pacing at a steady speed. Also, I feel this is the book when we really get to see what made Harry who he is. We get to see the full White Council for the first time, as well as a few faces from Harry’s past. This information really helps us understand Harry in a better way. I also like the fact that Harry seems to have learned from his mistakes and is making fewer blunders in this book. He’s less likely to isolate his allies in feeble attempts to protect them, and he doesn’t do something as silly as say, dress up as a Hollywood-esque version of a vampire at a real vampire’s ball. Harry’s really at the top of his game here. It’s not his fault that he’s just in way over his head.

I would really recommend this book to fans of the Dresden Files. Even if you weren’t blown away by the first three, give this one a try. Maybe it will change your mind. The only thing that made me sad is the fact that apparently this is the best book in the series. The feeling of “it’s only down hill from here” is never a pleasant one. Luckily, a few of my classmates have explained to me that it only gets better from here. Perhaps the books will continue to be this good.

Rating: Five out of Five Stars
Similar Books:  The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison. For dangerous faeries: Tithe and The Good Neighbors: Kin by Holly Black.
Other books I've read by this author: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril

Next I'm reading, Little Sister by Kara Dalkey

xposted to bookish and temporaryworlds

Tags: faeries, five stars, jim butcher, paranormal fantasy, the dresden files, urban fantasy, werewolves, wizards, year published: 2002

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