Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Ghost Story Ghost Story
by Jim Butcher

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

I’m going to have to begin this review with a spoiler alert: If you’re a fan of the Dresden Files and you haven’t read Changes yet, then stop reading now (and go and read Changes).

You see, at the end of Changes, Dresden is shot dead… and Ghost Story is the story of what happens next. Dresden returns to awareness as a ghost in a shadowy version of Chicago, and is sent to haunt the Chicago he knew, in order to find his murderer. Where it is still winter, in May…

What follows is a memorable and haunting tale, told from the ghost’s point of view. It isn’t nearly as frenetic or violent as Changes though not lacking in action. The Corpsetaker is back, she’s a ghost, and she’s after a body, and of course, Dresden has to stop her. But Dresden is severely hampered by his ghostly state, there’s a lot he simply can’t do. No fireballs freely sprayed around the neighbourhood this time. That is one of the factors that make this book a unique addition to the Dresden Files.

Another is the unusually philosophical slant to the tale. Butcher surprised me by making a distinction between soul and spirit that is rare in theology, never mind urban fantasy. Then there’s the whole theme of actions and consequences, and what happens when a power vacuum is created. These are deep waters, that few authors care to explore – and yet Butcher somehow manages to do so while maintaining his light and entertaining touch. There is a reason why he’s an acknowledged master of urban fantasy, and this book is one of his absolute best.

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