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

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

by Jim Butcher, Vincent Chong (Illustrator)

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5,094114880 (4.16)158
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
Tags:Urban Fantasy, Signed, Subterranean Press

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Death Masks by Jim Butcher



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Note: This is the book where reading them out of order stars to do you an injustice. It does work as a stand alone to some extend, but you will get major spoilers for the previous books in the series and it also pulls in characters we have met before. So I recommend reading the first 4 books before you jump into this one.

Harry is about to have yet another tough weekend. It’s not going to be just one thing coming down hard on him. Nope. He’s going to have to deal with John Marcone (Chicago’s crime lord), hunting for the Shroud of Turin, Michael Carpenter’s fiery wife Charity, his old girlfriend Susan Rodriguez (who’s dealing with her semi-vampiric state), a scheduled duel with a Red Court vampire, and a new breed of bad guy – the Denarians. It’s amazing Harry gets to be as old as he does.

I’ve been so-so about the character Susan for the series so far. This is the book that changes my opinion of her. She took a very hard hit back in Book 3 (Grave Peril) and I can see that it sobered her. Harry had been telling her again and again that the supernatural beasties she so wanted to catch on camera and write about were very dangerous. She really didn’t take those multiple warnings to heart and it cost her dearly. So here she returns to the series with this new and weighty knowledge. She’s also learned the advantages of body armor, weapons, hand-to-hand combat training, and following Harry’s orders in the midst of a fight. She’s not a total bad ass, but she has learned a bit and she does have some vampiric strength too.

Wow! The Denarians! Let me say that these are some of the most dangerous foes yet for the series. The Denarians, lead by Nicodemus, are a collection of fallen angels/demons. Each one resides within a coin and the owner of that coin can communicate with the specific demon, gaining knowledge and power. Of course each demon does their best to insinuate themselves into their master’s life and eventually take it over. Couple that with the supposed powers of the Shroud of Turin and you have a formula for disaster for Chicago. Which means that Michael Carpenter, knight templar extraordinaire, is returned to the story. And he brought friends (Shiro from Japan and Sanya from Russia).

As always, the plot is fast-paced and with the several threads weaving in and out of each other, I was never bored. Butcher does a great job of packing character development into the little downtimes (such as driving from point A to point B) the plot permits. For instance, Charity and Harry get to have chat while making dinner together. Charity is not a fan of Harry and they get to clear the air a little.

The duel with the Red Court vampire War Lord Ortega comes up early but doesn’t happen until later in the book. This particular plot thread brings into play two very interesting side characters – the Archive (who presides over the duel to ensure fairness and record the outcome) and her bodyguard Kincaide. Also, Thomas (the white court vampire we met in Book 3) makes a reappearance. The White Council (ruling body of good wizards) are quite willing to sacrifice Harry if it means an end to the war with the Red Court vampires. Argh! Makes me want to strangle them!

Butcher ups the ante with this book, sacrificing some characters and forcing others to make tough choices. I really like how the seriousness continues to ratchet up for each series installment so far. The Denarians play rough and Harry and his friends will not get out unscathed. We also learn a very interesting thing about John Marcone that makes him a little more human. There’s very little Murphy in this book and I missed her. However, we get to meet Wizard Ebeneezer McCoy, who fostered Harry in his late teens.

So far, Harry has ended up in cuffs in each book for one reason or another. That happens again here. I find that amusing. Harry continues to grow as a character. We know he isn’t invincible and he knows it too. Yet he can’t stop helping his friends, protecting Chicago, and standing up to the bullies. The ending had a little unexpected twist for me that I expect will have major repercussions for Harry later on.

The Narration: James Marsters continues on as Harry Dresden and he does a fine job of it. In this book, his performance includes believable Spanish, Japanese, and Russian accents. I especially liked his kid’s voice for the Archive. He also does a great job with Wizard McCoy who comes from Arkansas and has that noticeable regional accent. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Apr 24, 2016 |
First Read: June 1, 2015

This series just gets better and better with each book! Harry has lost contact with Susan and is trying to locate her when he's challenged to a duel by Ortega of the Red Court. Keeping with the chaos that is Harry's life, he's then hired by a priest. An important relic, the Shroud, has been stolen from the church and he needs Harry's help to get it back. Before he gets the whole story, deadly assassins try to take him out...again. When Michael arrives with two more Knights, things get out of control. If the Red Court has challenged him to a duel to the death, then who is still trying to kill him? I really enjoyed watching Harry find out! The plot wove together easily, with quite a few surprises, and the ending was both exciting and bittersweet.

Butcher has created characters that I want to see again. I was thrilled when Susan returned to help Harry out of his predicament. She's definitely gone through some changes during her time away, but it's given her a new direction and helped her to cope with the blood thirst. I'm still holding out hope that maybe someday Susan and Harry will end up back together, but it seems that they both must move on for now. At least this time the characters had a chance to say goodbye and come to terms with their current situation. It was also neat to see Harry and Michael's children interacting, even if was just a little bit. Molly is going to be a handful for Charity and Michael very soon. She's too smart for her own good. The conversation she had with Harry was really cute. Even Marcone is finding a soft spot in my heart! I'm curious what will happen with his situation, too.

Can't wait to read the next one!

Second read thru: September 15, 2015
( )
  Becky_McKenna | Mar 10, 2016 |
I love Harry, seriously my favorite wizard. ( )
  brandochic | Feb 22, 2016 |
I loved the tv series - far too short-lived! Great book!
  TracyCampbell | Feb 12, 2016 |
Harry, Harry, Harry, he is faced with death by the Red Court, Chased by some really evil demons, the love of his life back, the shroud and losing a friend. This story was so incredibly good i was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole tale. ( )
  TheYodamom | Jan 29, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Butcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marsters, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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