Sunday, December 20, 2020

Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

by Jim Butcher
Release Date: July 14th 2020
2020 Ace
Hardcover Edition; 340 Pages
ISBN: 978-0451464415
ASIN: B082S1N875
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago--and all he holds dear?
My Thoughts
Peace Talks is one of those books I went into with a lot of trepidation.  I have been a fan of this series since the first book was published, and while it was not my favourite, Harry and company have grown on me to the point where I really looked forward to the release of the next book every year.  May it's his sarcasm that I understand so well, or the way he cares about people, but there is definitely something endearing about him as a character and I have followed his growth throughout the books.  Knowing what was to come in these two books, Peace Talks and then Battle Ground, made me put them off because I was afraid of what was to happen.  However, I enjoyed both of those books for different reasons. 
First of all, this book is definitely a set-up for Battle Ground.  When I first read it, I didn't yet know that the two books were originally one and were split for publication purposes, and that definitely made more sense.   And I think if you go into this book with that knowledge, as I did not, it is much more enjoyable. 

I tend to more or less agree that the last couple of books shifted away from the general direction the story had been going, but I am of the opinion that books need to fundamentally change focus or they become mundane and boring.  I like the direction this book is going and the path these characters are on. The author has created some flawed characters, but that's what makes them so interesting. They have these amazing powers, but their personalities and the personal quirks often get in the way of all of that and that's where all the trouble lies, which is exactly what humanity is all about.  Who says that awesome power equals awesome people?  I personally like the flawed characters and the mistakes they make is what drives the story.  

The book was a bit slower than what I was expecting, but I was fine with that.  There were a lot of characters coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, and the author needed to find a way to reintroduce them in a way that wasn't boring or mundane, and I thought he did a great job doing that.  Again, knowing that this was actually one book made sense in that regard as the slow buildup would eventually lead to some explosiveness later on; unfortunately, the real battles did not happen in this book which I think disappointed some people, but not me.  Knowing all the different characters from the other book helps when reading this one, and if you skipped a few books, you may be missing a few things.  

There were a lot of interesting things happening in this book: a lot of the jokes were actually quite clever and I appreciated them, and there were some scenes between characters that I think fans have been waiting for for a long time, some emotional ones.  I definitely appreciated those.  

What I really do miss in these books are the investigations.  The earlier books used to centre on Harry's detective skills, but I feel some of that has been lost as the books have progressed.  In this one, we have a mystery but no rhyme or reason for why it happened, just this violent act.  I am also wondering if maybe the scope of the characters was too large for this book.  Perhaps the number of characters got away from the author and he didn't quite know what to do with them all as even Harry, Murphy, and Lara seem a lot more passive than usual, you know, reacting to events rather than taking control of things and trying to really figure out what is going on.  Character development has always been one of my favourite things about these books, but there was not a lot of that happening in this book.

Peace Talks is one of those books where knowing it was intended to be part of a larger book would have helped.  I would have therefore, expected a slower build, less action, more character/story introduction, and no resolution.  I originally gave it a lower rating, but changed it after discovering this information as the book made a lot more sense once I realized that.  Going in knowing nothing gets resolved and that you are going to be introduced / re-introduced to whole whack of characters with little knowledge as to what is really happening helps and makes the book a lot more enjoyable.  There are a lot of thinbs being set up in this book and you will have to read Battle Ground in order to find our the resolution to all of this. 


Post a Comment