“Battle Ground” by JIM Butcher: ARC Review

Thunder rumbled on the horizon.
“More rain coming.” Maggie said.
“When it gets here, we’ll run out and dance in it,” I said.
“Why?” Maggie asked.
“If we don’t, life has just as much rain,” I said, “but way less dancing.”

Synopsis: The Last Titan, a force more powerful than any Harry has ever faced, has launched their attack on Chicago. To survive, factions must band together in their darkest hour and face certain death, united. Their work is certainly cut out for them, but since when has that ever stopped Harry Dresden?

Who May Enjoy This Book:

  • Lovers of the Urban Fantasy and Noir
  • People who like epic battles
  • People who like big explosions

Welcome back readers!

I’ve been taking some time for myself lately; admittedly, I’d been approaching burnout mode and wisely pre-empted that by taking a mini-vacation from responsibilities such as this. Then the US Presidential debates started, and everyone was discussing that. I figured, well, now’s as good a time as any to chill out a little.

I’d like to thank Ace, the Berkley Publishing Group, and Netgalley for providing me with a free review ARC in exchange for an honest review. It’s a privilege to review a series I’ve been following for almost 2 decades, and now that I type that I am feeling very, very old indeed. For those of you who are not familiar with Jim Butcher, he writes a series known as The Dresden Files, an Urban Fantasy which borrows from hardboiled detective fiction and adds a few shakes of absurdity for good measure. Harry Dresden’s journey has been fraught with perils and hardship, and “Battle Ground” is the 17th volume in this whirlwind of a tale. If you have yet to take the plunge into Butcher’s mythos, I would suggest you cease reading here for the moment; do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy of Storm Front (Book 1).

You’ll be back.

We begin In Medias Res, immediately after the events of “Peace Talks” (the preceding volume); Harry and friends are still reeling from the attack of the Titan Ethniu, wherein she demonstrated just how big a fish she was in the little pond of Chicago. The city is set reeling, and Harry rushes off to plan a defense. “Battle Ground” is definitely a Part 2 companion of “Peace Talks”, and I would strongly suggest reading the two one after the other for the best experience. I didn’t have a long wait between the two, but even that short wait felt like a distraction. Butcher released them only a few months apart and, while I found this strange initially, it rapidly became clear that this was the correct move; this is one story, split into two books. So yes, don’t take a big break after reading the first one.

If you’re familiar with The Dresden Files series, I’ll simply say that yes, this book certainly follows the tried and true Jim Butcher formula. This isn’t a bad thing, of course. The true charm of the series is the cast of characters, with its femme fatales, mustache-twirling villains, and paragons of justice. Then there are the more nuanced ones, and Butcher can still catch a reader off guard from time to time. The important thing is that the formula, while predictable, works with these characters. At its core, it’s a story about overcoming incredible odds and devastating evil, and it’s just what we need in 2020. Frankly, this story felt like an Avengers Endgame mashup by the end, as just about every awesome character you can think of makes an appearance at one point or another. Was it shlocky at times? Oh hell yes; these books always are. I LOVE that about them: they are unapologetic, and over the top in such a glorious way. No matter who your favorite character is, I am certain you’ll find something here.

The plot itself, while extremely simple (Harry spends the majority of the book shoring up Chicago’s defenses), still manages to deliver some quality entertainment. There are humorous moments aplenty, despite the grim nature of the scenario, and there are incredible battles all over the place. It’s pretty much a non-stop ride, and I will warn you: there are a couple of tear-jerkers in this one. I’m not going to lie, things will get incredibly heavy. Consider yourself warned! The final battle for Chicago is worth the wait, and I fully expect a few fist-pumps out of you all by the end. It just ticks all the boxes! Action, Romance, Tragedy, Mystery, Horror… the 5 year gap between “Skin Game” and “Peace Talks” was worth it in my opinion.

As per usual for this series, we end the story with perhaps more questions than answers, but it certainly left me hopeful for the next book. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes next, and what fresh revelations we’ll be privy to in the next installment. If you’re a fan, don’t you dare skip out on these last 2 books.

Happy reading!

Order “Battle Ground”

Check out Jim Butcher at his website, jim-butcher.com

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