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Death Masks (The Dresden Files, Book 5) by…
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Death Masks (The Dresden Files, Book 5) (edition 2013)

by Jim Butcher, Vincent Chong (Illustrator)

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4,86898950 (4.16)156
Member:donaldmcobb
Title:Death Masks (The Dresden Files, Book 5)
Authors:Jim Butcher (Author)
Other authors:Vincent Chong (Illustrator)
Info:Subterranean Press (2013), Edition: Limited Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Urban Fantasy, Signed, Subterranean Press

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Death Masks by Jim Butcher

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Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Six-word review: Magical monster chase featuring religious McGuffin.

Extended review:

I went straight from the preceding book of the Dresden Files series to this one with nary a pause for breath.

Death Masks launches Harry Dresden on yet another dependably fast-moving, action-packed investigative adventure in the realm of magical and mythical beings, this time on the trail of a stolen religious relic. Some of those beings are agents of evil, and not just ordinary human Adolf-Hitler-type evil but capital-E Evil right out of the bowels of Hell.

Evil forces notwithstanding, this Dresden yarn is not quite on the epic scale of Summer Knight. Still, the plot is layered deep in the fallout from that conflict while introducing new villains and enlarging the dimensions of Harry's life. Harry remains likeable in a naughty-boy-but-charming sort of way, making us shake our heads even as we consistently root for him. He's not so different from us, especially on our off days: He wears old clothes. He skips showers. He eats junk food. Another character, an ambiguously bad guy fighting by his side, suggests that they disregard knightly standards of combat and shoot a really, really bad guy in the back, and he says, "Okay" (page 321).

So might we, right? We can identify.

And that's part of what makes Butcher's handling of his material so appealing.

The same character who wants to shoot true villains in the back also says this of our hero: "Mister Dresden is a diplomatically challenged individual. He should be in a shelter for the tactless" (page 309). Just because there are times when we don't feel like upholding the standards of Miss Manners, never mind turning the other cheek, we cheer silently for Harry when he tells it like it is.

Invited to imagine that we might speak and behave (or want to speak and behave) in Harry's characteristic down-to-earth, take-no-shit fashion, we find it easy to forget that he is a formidable foe even to powerful supernatural beings. He has a strong code of honor, short on tact though it may be: he lays his life on the line almost routinely and offhandedly, both to defend a principle and to protect someone he cares about--or even just someone he's sworn to protect, whether he likes her or not. And when he goes all out--well, we know he's going to make it through at least fifteen books.

So there's a nice thrill of vicarious power in relating to Harry, letting the surge of magic that courses through him roar through us as well, delivering well-deserved thrashings right where they're needed most.

Good job, Jim Butcher.

One of the things I liked most about this novel was seeing Gentleman Johnny Marcone--a rather interesting foil for Dresden--move into a moral gray area. The shift might have been a little heavy on the sentimental side, but it does set us up for some potential dramatic conflicts as the series progresses.

I noted some of the usual defects, such as word repetition and little failures of fact checking (it's Joseph of Arimathea, not Aramathea), alongside choice bits such as the Wagner allusion and various inventive explanations of how magic works. I think they pretty much balance out, so I won't enumerate instances. When it comes to entertainment that doesn't insult our intelligence, the score is still well up on the plus side.

That's five. Time for a breather. But I will be back for more. ( )
1 vote Meredy | Jul 17, 2015 |
Not necessarily my favorite in the series so far, but still a damn good read! The cast of characters introduced in this one are amazing, we get to meet Michael's fellow Knights, a bunch of the fallen, some nasty vampires from the red court, and Susan finally shows up again (reunited? or not, duh duh duh...)! When the shroud (the blanket that cloaked Jesus on his death) is stolen from Rome, Dresden is approached by a foreign priest to help get it back. When he signs on for the job he has no idea how much danger he has put himself in, demons from hell (way cooler description in the book than I can accurately summarize here) are intent on retrieving it first. As if that's not enough to worry about, Susan is back in town (with a man!), and Dresden has been challenged to a duel by a warlord in the red court. Soo many things going on and Dresden has to somehow keep it all straight and not get killed. Wickedly funny, sexy, and adventurous, it's another great installment in the series. ( )
  ecataldi | Apr 24, 2015 |
The series do get better and better, BUT please tell me that Harry will give in to the dark side at some point! A dark, spiraling, out-of-control Harry would be so much fun! As to the other characters, Susan has become so much more fun, a little backstory of Marcone's evilness was really called for, Ivy has got to be the cutest thing ever, and the bad guys get more evil with every passing day! Behold the excitement! And the subtle hints about Harry having a sibling makes me think whether all this will turn out Supernatual-style - two siblings hunting monsters. Awesome and light read, as always! ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
I wasn't sold on the direction the love thread was taking, but after listening to this installment, I'm ALL IN. Same goes for the Knights; their holier-than-thou attitude would have tested my patience eventually, however in DEATH MASKS they demonstrate that they aren't 100% black or white either. The Archive was some freaky deaky sh*t which leads me to believe that Butcher has only dipped his big toe in this universe's scope. The punches kept on coming in book 5, and with so many secondary plots intertwining, the story left me reeling in the best kind of way. I don't know if I'll be able to focus on anything else until BLOOD RITES is on my iPhone, locked & loaded. Goodbye weekend! ~ 4.5 stars ( )
  RabidReads | Mar 13, 2015 |
Harry Dresden is a self-righteous ass. I liked the series for its action and excitement, but his character is making it really hard to read the books. Not sure when I'll tackle the last Dresden book I have. ( )
  kenzen | Feb 23, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Butcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marsters, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of Plumicon and Ersha, fallen heroes.
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Some things just aren't meant to go together.
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Book description
Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he's getting more than he bargained for.
  • A duel with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards
  • Professional hit men using Harry for target practice
  • The missing Shroud of Turin
  • A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified


Not to mention the return of Harry's ex-girlfriend Susan, who's still struggling with her semivampiric nature. And who seems ot ahve a new man in her life.
Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're charging.
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Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing wizard, is hired by a mysterious priest to find the stolen Shroud of Turin. But first, Harry must deal with the Red Court of Vampires' champion, professional hit men, and the return of his semi-vampire former girlfriend.… (more)

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