• Well Red

Dresden's battle for a conclusion

Title: Battle Ground

Author: Jim Butcher

Published: 2020

Publisher: Orbit

Rating: ****

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Difficulty: Moderately easy

Series: Yes – book 17 in the Dresden Files

Always spoiler free – HOWEVER this is a review for the 17th book in a long series, so I recommend you don’t read it if you are part way through the series or planning on reading the series

In case you haven’t read my earlier review of Peace Talks – I wasn’t a fan. Knowing that it was a two-parter however meant as soon as I saw Battle Ground on my kindle yesterday, I devoured it in one evening. For a short catch up on my thoughts about the series: I found that the series peaked in Changes - I didn’t really enjoy Ghost Story, and from that point the books have felt like a push towards a grand finale in book twenty. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed them…but I preferred the earlier books in the series.

Battle Ground follows on immediately from events happening in Peace Talks and involves a big battle against a Big Bad. Any more information is basically a spoiler for both books.

Battle Ground is essentially one big battle, which I enjoyed because it mostly got Harry back to being Harry. The slow pacing of the Peace Talks is left in the dust, although Battle Ground does leave time for ‘serious Harry introspection time’. There’s definitely drama, emotion and twists in this one – almost everything that I felt was missing in Peace Talks, including a conclusion.

I’ve realised I’m starting to get long series fatigue, mainly because all the MCs keep showing very little growth. Harry is Harry is Harry is Harry. He’s got the potential to be really lethal (but isn’t quite yet), he always fights above his punching weight (and wins, but with sneaky help), people get more and more afraid of him because he’s done something odd/won and he shouldn’t have, and he doesn’t know how to deal with the new power…yeah, you could argue that’s all a spoiler, but really, isn’t that the basic plot line of all the later books? My Dresden fatigue meant that some of the more emotional plot lines in the book didn’t really have the same impact on me that they might have had a couple of books ago.

Look here’s the deal…Butcher should have cut some of the battle scenes from this book (superfluous), condensed the events from Peace Talks into the first two chapters of this book, and BOOM a much more enjoyable book. I have no idea why book 16 exists. It could, should, have existed as a couple of chapters in Battle Ground. The pacing would have worked better and the sub-plots that were started in Peace Talks all boil away to nothing in this one, because there is a Big Bad to deal with. You could argue that most plotlines were neatly tied away at the end (with a very handy character switch, although I’m still not completely sure what the point of the Thomas subplot was?), but I’m still not sure what the point in half of them were (some of it is explained at the end of the book, but I don’t like the explanation).

Book 16 and 17 feel like they are lying the groundwork for the next couple of books as well. I’m not adverse to series having an arc through several books, but it has to be done right and not forced in – oh yeah, while we’re having this battle, remember that thing that has kept coming up in the past few years? Do you want to tell me about it? Not right now…yeah, I guess that makes sense as we’re fighting for our lives. Subtlety, thy name is Butcher.

Finally – I want more Molly. And Mouse.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and the payoff from Peace Talks was there. If you've gotten this far in the series, and read Peace Talks, I would say read the book. I’m excited to read the grand conclusion of the series and see where Harry ends, but in the meantime I’ve definitely got Dresden fatigue.

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? To those who are already reading the series – of course!

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