“The building was on fire and it wasn’t my fault,” says Harry in the opening line of Blood Rites. This has to be one of my favorite DRESDEN FILES books, and the very first line is quite possibly one of the most memorable in the series. Harry has been asked for a favor by his pseudo-friend and White Court Vampire, Thomas Raith: he is to investigate a possible death curse at an independent adult film studio. As with all DRESDEN stories, not everything is as it appears to be. Harry finds himself in multiple perilous situations, all of which are over his head. Jim Butcher masterfully weaves the reader through the chaotic mess that is Harry’s life, all culminating in a dramatic finale that deserves a standing ovation.
There are so many great moments in Blood Rites, from demon monkeys throwing flaming poo, battle meetings held in an IHOP, to the endless humorous banter between Thomas and Harry. The events that take place in Blood Rites have a lasting impact that still lingers six books later. Several wonderful characters are introduced, and many existing ones are fleshed out. You learn more about the White Court vampires, and Harry’s relationship to them. Mouse the Fu-Dog is introduced, and Kincaid the mercenary body guard becomes one of my favorite characters.
Blood Rites is what I call a keystone book in a series, and long-running series like THE DRESDEN FILES generally have a few of these. The events taking place are essential to the overall story arc that will end many books later. I like to be given the feeling of a “big picture,” and Blood Rites is one of the first DRESDEN FILES books that really move the overall story further along. It was after Blood Rites that I first realized that Jim Butcher had a plan for how he was going to end this series.
I cannot recommend Blood Rites highly enough, and I'm excited that Roc is re-releasing it in hardcover. The middle books of the DRESDEN FILES certainly deserve this sort of attention, as they are some of the best books in the urban fantasy genre. I never read books twice, but though I’ve read Blood Rites before, I found myself unable to put it down when Roc sent me a review copy of their new hardcover edition. It is simply an amazing and fun experience from the very first sentence!
You can also learn more about Jim Butcher's books at the Fantasyliterature Butcher's page