Monday, June 7, 2021

Review: Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

by Jim Butcher
Release Date: September 29th 2020\
2020 Ace
Kindle Edition; 418 Pages
ISBN: 978-1593199305
ASIN: B0867ZMV25
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.

But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.

Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.
My Thoughts
Battle Ground is the next entry in the long-running Harry Dresden files, and it was, simply put, a book-long battle whereby almost every character seemed to drop by for a visit; it was huge, all-encompassing, expansive, but I still felt like there was something missing.  Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed it tremendously, and I had trouble putting it down, but beneath the battles and the action, there were some issues as well.  
First of all, for long-time readers, we all knew that the clashes and battles would continuously get bigger and more elaborate as the series continued; the politics would become much more expansive and deceptive, and people would no longer know whom to trust.  Every book has built upon the previous one, and people are getting stronger, and the stakes are getting more dangerous.  I've been looking forward to something like this for quite a while.  
Personally, I liked the brutal turn this series took, and I wasn't too shocked at some of the deaths and the way this series turned; in fact, I was kind of expecting it. Harry is going to be around for a very long time so the people who are going to support him are going to be around for a long time as well.  That doesn't mean that humans don't have a role to play, and I loved that Butcher chose to highlight that in this book, and made it clear how important they were.  

Pretty much every character who has appeared throughout the series made an appearance in this book, and we even learned a few new things about them.  And Butters? Oh my gosh!!  Having all of these characters twist in and out of the narrative so cleverly just highlights the skill in Butcher's writing.  And I liked how he lets the reader breathe once in a while, in between battle scenes, then off we go to the races yet again, enmeshed in another epic battle.  I know people often complain about the slower scenes in a book, but not me.  It gives me a chance to reset, breathe, take in what's happening, and continue on with the story.
Can I say how much I enjoyed Mab in this story?  For so many books, she has been so cold and heartless, but the scenes between her and Harry have shown another aspect to her personality that I just loved. She is still terrifying, but I see her a bit differently now. And wow, Molly! I don't know how Harry will ever be able to do what Mab has asked him to do.  And like I've already mentioned, Butters! He was super awesome in this book, and I lived in terror that something would happen to him. I am super curious as to who may get that third sword though. Two are accounted for, one still left. Perhaps Thomas? And I know a lot of people don't like Marcone, but I think his personality is rather interesting, and I am curious as to how the author will deal with the situation between him and Harry in future books.
One of the things that did bother me was Ethniu herself.  I know she was a Titan and all, but I just didn't feel the vibe and the reasoning for what she did.  To go all, 'I will kill the humans because they are useless' just didn't work for me and I really thought the author could have come up with something more plausible than this for causing so much destruction.  However, upon reflection, she may represent a being who has never experienced love and affection, never experienced the real world, and reacts like a child throwing a temper tantrum when someone stands in her way.  Not really sure what he was trying to convey, but it was so muddied, it didn't make sense.  The Fomor though, are terrifying.

Battle Ground was epic, fascinating, and just plain fun. Listening to a recent podcast, I've heard the series is supposed to continue to at least book 25, so there is plenty of room for yet more machinations, and this book has set that up perfectly.  There are so many teasers as to what may happen next, and it has been fun listening to people argue over predictions and what ifs.  I didn't have a problem with the book being split into two books, although I did feel like there was some unnecessary filler added because of this split.  This wasn't really a book about character development per se, but there were definitely some characters who stood out, such as Butters, Mab, and Sanja. And the sweet Christmas story at the end was perfect.  Looking forward to the next entry, Mirror Mirror, when it releases next year.



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