Sunday 10 November 2013

#CBR5 Book 132. "Blood Rites" by Jim Butcher

Page count: 439 pages
Audio book length: 13 hrs and 11 mins
Rating: 4 stars

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only consulting wizard, is asked by his White Court vampire friend, and sometime ally, Thomas Raith to help a movie producer who seems to be the target of a death curse. As Thomas has aided Harry in the past, and even saved his life, Harry can't really refuse, but he demands payment both from the client and Thomas, in the form of information about why the vampire has been helping him, sometimes even at the risk of Thomas' own life. But how will Harry react to the truths that Thomas is so reluctant to share?

It turns out that the movie Harry is supposed to act as supernatural security on, and pretend to be an production assistant on, is a porn flick, which everyone of his acquaintances seems to find hilarious. The job quickly turns a lot more dangerous than Harry had expected, with the vicious death curse striking twice a day, affecting anyone close to Genosa, the director. It quickly becomes apparent that Thomas and the rest of the Raith family are more closely connected to the imperilled movie production that Thomas let on, and because Harry's life never seems to be complete unless multiple parties are trying to kill him, the powerful and vengeful Black Court vampire Mavra is determined to end him, one way or another.

One of the central themes in Blood Rites is family - the stress, grief and conflict having one can cause, and the void that not being part of one causes. Karrin Murphy happily agrees to come vampire hunting with Harry, especially if they can schedule it to the Saturday when the Murphy clan are having their annual barbecue in Chicago. She knows her younger sister is bringing her new fiancee, and feels that her mother is constantly disappointed in her, so would rather avoid going than having to face her family. During his work on the movie set, Harry is introduced to two of Thomas' sisters, with the younger, Inari, seemingly completely unaware that her entire family are White Court vampires. All the various family conflicts makes Harry all too aware that he is entirely alone in the world, with no living kin at all.

I'm really glad I stuck with the series now, and thanks again to the amazing Narfna/Ashley for suggesting I try the audio books. James Marsters is a really good narrator, and after the revelations and developments in this book, I'm probably hooked for good. Harry has really grown on me as a character, I was really glad to get more Thomas (yet another urban fantasy character with a messed up family life) and after seeing a little of what's going on in Murphy's immediate family, I'm not sure Harry should be so upset that he doesn't have a lot of close relatives. I'm trying to pace myself a bit with these (I have a limited number of Audible credits, after all), but I suspect I will average a book a month until I'm caught up, and Butcher will be added to the list of authors I hope will write and publish books faster.

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