A review of Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)

Plot Blurb from the internet: “Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment

Ever since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry Dresden has been down and out in Chicago. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t even recall the last time he took a shower.

The only professional wizard in the phone book has become a desperate man.

And just when it seems things can’t get any worse, in saunters the Winter Queen of Faerie. She has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him–and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple enough, but Harry knows better than to get caught in the middle of faerie politics. Until he finds out that the fate of the entire world rests on his solving this case. No pressure or anything…

My review: Summer Knight is volume four in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, and, yep, same old, same old: Harry’s down and out, is faced with a seemingly endless series of impossible obstacles, defeats bad guys/girls who are far more powerful than he, “snarking” all the way, cleans up his act a little,. plays D&D. (Okay, the last one’s new.)

Of the previous Dresden novel, I wrote “it’s as though, if women didn’t have breasts, there’d be no reason for them to be in the novel at all.” Happily, the blatant sexism seems to be on hiatus, here, but at heart, I think, Harry’s still a male chauvinist, as are most dudes who tout their chivalrous natures.

My basic impression of Summer Knight was “Is it ever gonna be over? Are we there , yet?” It wasn’t really boring, exactly, just felt like it went on for-effing-ever. Hell, it seemed like the scene in and around Walmart was almost a book in itself. The scene at Murphy’s apartment seems unnecessarily long, too. There are other examples. This book could’ve, prob’ly should have come in at under three hundred pages. I mean, I finished reading four, maybe five other books while working my way through this one.

Technically, I don’t have any issues with Butcher’s writing, here. Stylistically? While it’s not life-altering, it’s a competently told tale. That said: Jim Butcher just kvels to write metaphors. Admittedly, simile and metaphor, used judiciously, are among the hallmarks of good writing, but, in Butcher’s hands, so damned much stuff is “like” other stuff that it becomes an affectation. To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s character in The Big Chill, “Ever gone a paragraph without a metaphor?”

And the repetition: “Vast” is a terrific word. It concisely conveys the idea of immensity as few words can. Use it twice in the same freaking paragraph, with the space of two sentences, for gods’ sake, and you strip it of its power. Now, it just means ”big.” Hells bells…

A couple of thoughts: Harry is able to defeat a Queen of the Sidhe, not, admittedly, without help. In Faery, no less. On her home court, so to speak. Really. With that kind of power, why the hell is he worried about the White Council or the Red Court? Also, Aurora is able to immobilize Harry with a look, but, on the stone table, she plants “both feet against my chest…kicked hard and drove me back.” Did she exceed her magical power quotient, or something?

While there were parts I liked, even a few I liked a lot, as a whole, the book was just okay. Not sure I’ll bother with Harry anymore. Kind of a “if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all” feeling to them, now.


One thought on “A review of Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)

  1. Pingback: The Dresden Files | Trenz Pruca's Journal

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