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Quick quiz: what is Jim Butcher's favorite Radiohead album?
Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2020
It's The Bantz.
What was that, a groan? You didn't like that? Maybe you don't even like puns in general? Well, too bad, because Blood Rites has plenty of them – along with aforementioned bantz.
I'm dead serious. The bigger portion of the book is dedicated to Harry and various people from his ever-widening circle of friends, enemies and frenemies exchanging jokes, insults and threats. To be fair, the banter is really diverse. There's exposition banter, world-building banter, plot-advancing banter and of course banter for the sake of banter. I mean, Harry Dresden has always been a wiseass and referred to himself as the king of lame comebacks on numerous occassions, but this book shoots past "dialogue-driven" straight into the "dialogue-ridden" category.
Which is, let's be fair, is not an entirely unwelcome change. The more time we spend with Harry engaging in dialogue with other characters, the less time we spend in his head listening to him brooding about his past or explaining to us that his attitude towards women (especially pretty women) is chivalry, not sexism, and it was brought about by childhood trauma anyway. Relax, Harry, we understand.
Speaking of childhood trauma: Blood Rites finally answers some pretty important questions about Harry's past, wraps up several important storylines and brings back numerous characters introduced in previous books. This feels like the ending chapter of volume I, and despite the series' many shortcomings, I'm pretty excited to see where Jim Butcher will take The Dresden Files next.
Oh, and a couple of words about the actual plot: vampires suck.
(vampires SUCK, get it? get it?)