Battle Ground: Dresden Files, Book 17 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Things are about to get serious for Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, in the next entry in the number-one New York Times best-selling Dresden Files.
Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.
But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.
Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 43 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 29, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,681 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#14 in Urban Fantasy
#28 in Supernatural Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#70 in Action & Adventure Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2020
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*** SPOILERS ***
My first problem is how much Ethniu power fluctuates from fight to fight. There is some excuse for this in that the main strategy is to wear her down but the changes are to extreme and the only reason for them is to allow certain people to survive who shouldn’t have and allow others to seem to contribute more than they should have. A few examples being that if the archive hitting her with debris could do anything to her at all then mortal weapons from a high-powered rifle up should have been able make her blink and a heavy missile might take her out completely. On the front of surviving we have Butters and Dresden. The holy swords can parry and block attacks as powerful as Ethnius blows but they don’t stop that kind of kinetic force just by being there they have to physically block it or else bullets knives etc would never be a threat of any kind to the knights. Butters took a direct hit from Ethniu to the face no matter how tired she was this should have torn his head completely off. The same is true of Dresden getting hit by a rock she threw full power. The only defense he had was his duster which has been said repeatedly at most spreads out blunt impacts and won’t tear under them. So at most it would have stopped him from being ripped in half by the impact it still should have broken his arm and caved in his chest completely and probably liquified organs as well. Saying that these 2 survived direct hits from her no matter how tired she was is like saying that me stepping on a medium sized ant won’t kill it because I am too tired to throw a proper punch.
Now lets talk about the eye. They call it a super weapon and talk about how it is so powerful that repeated use could tear the ver fabric of reality apart but it rarely goes beyond blowing up single ski scrapers and then needs time to recharge. If it where as powerful as they say it should have been able to simply blowup the entire city of Chicago without even being taxed. Even if you limit it to sight line every blast should have destroyed everything in front of it from one end of the city to the other in a swath at least a mile and a half wide. As to destroying a single sky scraper if everyone from McCoy and the Archive up can’t do that I would be shocked and if Mab can’t do it without breaking a sweat then I have vastly overestimated her. From the demonstrated power of they eye it seems to be the equivalent of 1 bomber loaded with bunker busters. If this is what they consider a super weapon then the supernatural world is not just vastly outnumbered by humans but also vastly overpowered by them as well.
Finally we have to talk about Odin and Kringle. Throughout the books they imply and sometimes say outright that the gods power is comes in large part from the number of worshippers they have and that is why they are so much weaker than they once were. But Santa Clause has so many more worshipers today than Odin ever dreamed of having. Even if you limited who he received power from to those that actually believe he is real and say he only receives this energy once a year he should at the very least be as powerful as he ever was. Probably still more powerful.
A few things I am not sure how feel about yet are:
The change it tone around Lara that started in peace talks.
I was very upset at first about Murphys death and I didn’t think I would be able to ever accept Dresden loving another woman. But then I realized that she will definitely be coming back at some point. With that said I am still conflicted on the whole thing.
Everything around Thomas and Justine was pretty obvious from the beginning except for her escaping. Given that the threat to the child would be just as effective against Dresden as it was against Thomas and might be that effective against Lara then without nemesis being restrained from harming it, it doesn’t make sense that it isn’t using that card or hasn’t already killed the child.
Lots of epic battles.
The humor sometimes doubled me over with laughter.
Dresdens relationship to Mab and him being the Winter Knight seems more and more interesting useful and a good thing on the whole especially as he comes to understand it and her better and better. I hope this continues well into the future. In fact I hope he never stops being the Winter Knight.
The dynamic with Molly and Lara has been great so far and has the potential to get so much better.
Dresden finally being out of the White Council and the dead weight they have been is so great it is like a weight off my mind. Add in the fact that he is starting to build his own group that will one day rival or surpass the Council and the potential is just wonderful.
I really like that with peace talks and this battle ground the story line about the Black Council seems to be finally moving forward again to some degree.
I found Mavras behavior interesting in that she seems to have some other angle concerning Dresden other than just serving Drakul.
I was both happy and disappointed in the information about the artifacts in the armory. Happy that it assuaged my curiosity. Disappointed in that the whole armory is christian. I was really hoping for it to be items of equivalent power from multiple religions and places.
On the whole the series seems to be coming back strong. Heres hoping it continues that way.
So the Big Fight that was due at the end of "Peace Talks" kicks off, and it is epic. Everything including the kitchen sink and the entire catalogue of a builders' providers gets thrown in, and it is suitably heroic and heart-wrenching by turns. The (kind of, if you squint and the light is behind them) Good Guys do win in the end, but it's not easy or cheap. And as usual, Harry ends up with more questions than when he started. There's some very good writing here, and I mean the prose style as well as the plot - Butcher has always been able to pull off twisty plots and action scenes, but Harry's dialogue has been a little bit juvenile at times. That's better in this book, Harry still can't resist trying to get off a zinger but the situation is so grave that he is finally showing some self-awareness and growing up a bit. Butcher's writing has improved (though he still can't resist pop culture references but eh, that's okay).
Now for the criticism. Warning for spoilers.
I AM SO TIRED OF DEAD LOVE INTERESTS BEING USED TO MOTIVATE THE MAIN CHARACTER. Seriously, this is the major flaw in the Dresden Files series: women are Sexy or Dead. Sometimes both. Mab is the only one getting character development and that is as much in service of Harry's plot arc as for her own sake.
And once again, a woman Harry loves ends up dead in order to give him further fuel to motivate his battles. Now, I can see why Butcher killed off Murphy (yeah, this is the Big Spoiler here) and looking back, he was probably laying the groundwork for taking her out. In the increasingly high-stakes world Harry is operating in, Murphy has no place. "She's only five foot but dang she's scrappy" doesn't cut it where people can take down buildings with a wave of their hand and reality-benders are two a penny. So far Murphy survived because she could always manage to get her hands on More Gun, but that only goes so far. Her major advantage was being the buffer between Harry and the police and official bodies, and when she was booted out of the department that, in hindsight, should have been a major clue that her days were numbered.
But honestly, it's fatiguing by now as a woman reading this series to tick off all the dead women who were Harry's love interests but then shuffled out of the way to advance the plot and give him fresh options. Let's compare Murphy with Marcone, who is a major mortal figure and who, in this book, is revealed to have obtained a much-needed power-up.
He needs this to compete on anything approaching level terms with the entities and beings that he is now playing amongst. This is the Big Boys' League and, despite any women players, I do mean Boys. If Gentleman Johnnie had been Lady Joanie, (s)he would be dead by now like Murphy, because Butcher doesn't seem to know what to do with women who are main characters but who don't revolve around Harry (Molly still has her Jupiter-sized crush on/infatuation with him, something that is going to be played up for major jealousy and cat-fights with another female character in future unless I'm badly wrong). So this is mainly why I'm docking a star from my review.
And even Marcone seems to be trailing Harry; he's still supposed to be Harry's major mortal nemesis, but I can't help feeling that he's starting to copy-cat out of envy: "oh, you had a fallen angel in your head? I want one, too!"
That brings me to my next point, which is that I'm starting to feel the need for a "Previously, on this programme..." because frankly the cast of new and current enemies is starting to get a little crowded. Though one of the new arrivals did account for, in an admittedly cool way, how come the Black Court is still around even if they got taken down hard before.
Harry is immensely powerful. Hugely, almost god-like, powerful. But brute strength is no longer enough, and he needs to slow down and start thinking. There's so much going on that he doesn't know and needs to know, and so many people secretly or even openly manipulating him, and he's burned a lot of bridges where he has cut himself off from access to knowledge that he desperately needs.
And that brings me to the final part, the set-up that will have everyone furiously debating. Just what exactly does Mab intend to happen with this "let's you and her get married" notion? She definitely has a plan, and Harry needs to start thinking about what he *is* - as a wizard, as a star-born, and as the Winter Knight. He's valuable for some reason and he needs to find out why.
So the end brings him around again to his beginnings, in a way that could be self-indulgent but instead is another marker of how very far along the road he has travelled. He gets his old dwelling place back, maybe not the same as it was when he started out young, cocking a snook at the White Council, and so very ignorant of the dangers he was playing with.
He knows a lot more now, he's been through a lot more now, and even if he has his basement back (and this is so stereotypically 'territorial wizard' it made me laugh - he may think the White Council are stuffy old dotards but he's behaving just like one of them) it's abundantly clear that 'you can't go home again'.
So I am definitely looking forward to the next book because there need to be answers to the questions that have piled up. Harry can't afford to keep bulldozing his way through problems, he needs to start knowing just what the battleplans are.
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The way it has been butchered and rewritten and presented to us feels like a cash grab of the worst sort; two inferior books sold generating double the price for a diluted end result.
I could go into gritty details about why the content of this books is also not up to par, but I suspect that the author is aware because Harry Dresden tells the antagonist why her whole attack was poorly executed and as the reader rather than being 'Oh that's clever' you are more like 'Then what was the point of this mess anyway?'
There is just too much going on, certain storylines stopped and others started for a whole new start in the Marvel - sorry - Dresden universe.
I was hooked to the early books by the character of Dresden and co and the cleverness that Butcher showed in making magic believable in the everyday world. It was personal to Dresden somehow. Now we are entering epic urban fantasy mode, and to me, it is just not as much fun.
It may be that in the long wait until Peace Talks appeared that other authors filled the gap that just wasn't there before making it much harder to excel in this area and I will still carry on following Dresden's escapades but I don't see how Butcher can reign in before it gets completely out of control.
So it ends Battleground brings to a close the story that was started in Peace Talks not really a duology, a story told across two books, but rather one book split in two. As such my overall score is for the two books together they don’t really work on
there own. If Peace talks was all set up then battle ground delivers , action packed with a lot of pay offs and enough foreshadowing to keep Ardent series fans happy.
Dresden is put through the wringer, the Fomor have invaded lead by the last Titan bearing a magical weapon that lays waste to all before her. The Accorded Nations have been caught with there pants down, metaphorically speaking, with only a fraction of there forces on hand to repeal the invasion and those that are present are distinctly underpowered compared to forces from the dawn of time.
Characteristion is good, the battles are well written characters that have only been mentioned off screen make a appearance lots of stories come to a close or at least a crossroads and Jim deepens the mythology of the Dresden files while setting up the future all things he excels at. Butters, Mab, the Alphas, The Council and many others others new and old make an appearance and for those who found Peace Talks wanting will find this, I think, a much more satisfying experience.
What stops it from being five stars for me is Jim over using certain tropes too much and certain bad habits that made certain character arcs a bit too predictable well loved characters used solely to act as motivation for Dresden is too been there and done that at this stage of the files and can be seen coming a mile off and while it was thankfully turned down in battlegrounds the sexism that was rampant in peace talks still rears its head every now and then.
However all that aside this was a strong entry in the Dresden files and great way to close out this chapter of the files roll on book 18.
No. 1 wizard go to War for friends, family and the citizens of Chicago.
I reread the whole series of the Dresden files before this book and you can see how the different characters from each book change for good or bad as Harry battles old enemy's or creates alliance's with others. I'm not going to say anymore about this book other than read it for yourself and I bet it will make you laugh and cry as we see Harry's life and friends change forever. It's amazing how Jim Butcher keeps us all on our toes with the different characters in the Dresden files as we enter that world for however long it takes to read these brilliant magnificent books. We all need a way out of our own lives for a while especially with this horrible pandemic all around our world goes on. Thanks for giving is a magnificent series of book to read Jim and I hope you your family and friends are all safe. Thanks again !!
What we have over the two is, in effect, a rerun of Changes. It's a reset. There are two interesting drivers at the end that will carry the next book or two, so it is an important part of the canon, but as a two-volume book in its own right it was disappointing. I am an avid re-reader and have read the rest of the books several times each but I have no desire to read either of these again. I know the drivers. I don't need more. I'll read Blood Rites and Summer Knight happily but these two are just taking up space on my tablet.