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Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

Grave Peril

by Jim Butcher

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dresden Files (3)

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English (136)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (139)
Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
This was a reread for me, choosing the format of audio with James Marsters narrating. Lovely, lovely time. I didn't want it to end. Can't believe I had forgotten so much of this one. Anyway, Harry is up against Ghosts, vampires, and his Faerie Godmother. He is put into impossible situations, because he will insist on doing the "Right Thing," and impossibly gets out of them. I love this stuff. ( )
  MrsLee | Sep 2, 2014 |
Well. It is Urban Fantasy minus the female empowerment. I don't know how to be gentle about this, but my interest really does lie in the gender lines, and I'm disappointed so far.

The protagonists are disproportionately male, which is to say, all of them are male. There is one male antagonist, and the rest are overwhelmingly female. The non-antagonist female characters are chips in the power game, objects to be defended and the tally marks by which the fight is won and lost.

The portrayal effectively breaks down to men being the heroes, powerful women being evil, and non powerful women being victims. Not coincidentally, I posit, the "uppity" women in this book very classically "get what is coming to them." I put those in quotes because it follows the traditional gender portrayals of women stepping into the masculine sphere.

Susan, a edgy reporter, traditionally a male occupation, gets infected with vampirism because she had the temerity to show up at the vamp party without following the proper rules and thus without the protection those rules would have provided. But the "uppity" woman stepping "out of her place" is punished by the narrative of the story. Harry's over developed White Horse complex* leaves him in an extremely depressive state of guilt over this result.

Karin Murphy, chief of the paranormal branch of Chicago's police force, spends the entire book in a coma after being victimized by the antagonist. Harry feels guilt over this too. But once again, a female character in a powerful position is taken out of the action, punished by the story line rather than developed.

Michael's wife is kidnapped by the antagonist to get to Michael and Harry, once again, she is a chip on the playing board.

The only redeemable quality that the punishment/reward system of this novel has is the nurturing portrayal of the male protagonists. Michael is a "family man," though it could be argued that his actions not having anything to do with his family negate that statement. The opening scene has the protagonists fighting a ghost to save a nursery full of new borns in a hospital maternity ward. Portraying the men as interested in children, and specifically defending and helping children is new, and so far is the only gender theme consistent with female authored urban fantasy.

I fully admit that my thoughts on this are nascent, it is inconsistent that I champion female protagonists expression of their sexuality and do not appreciate the objectifying nature of this male protagonists sexuality. I will have to look closer to see if there is a difference in how the power dynamics of desire and sexuality are portrayed.

This urban fantasy analysis may turn out to be a study of the differences between male and female authored sexuality and erotica.....

I can do some masculinities work on it in terms of what this posits as a manly man model.....
which might have some redeemable value in the theme of nurture (saving babies), and possibly in that he doesn't manage to save the girl all the way, she still gets infected with vampirism, so he has to live with having, in his view, failed.

I was more or less operating under the impression that Urban Fantasy primarily dealt with an exploration of female gender roles in our new and fluid social environment, but more broadly, the genre explores gender roles as a whole in the new and fluid post second wave feminism culture.

So, the exercise of imagination and play is how children learn about their world and conceive of themselves. Fiction serves that same purpose on an adult cultural level. We get to investigate different characters and learn about ourselves and who we are and who we want to be in the process. That's how fantasy works, is on a symbolic system. I am interested in the consistencies of that system, how particular motifs function and why they function on a mass level. ( )
1 vote raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
The best so far. I realized that I don't care for Murphy, so since she wasn't one of the main characters in "Grave Peril", I liked it a lot. Not that is the main reason of course. ( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
It was pretty good, but I got tired of Harry being so low, yet magically mustering up the strength & magic to get the job done. It got repetitive & a little too predictable. Still, not a bad read, but I don't think I'm going to start the fourth book of the series immediately. I need a break. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Omg. I thought I'd never finish this shit.

2.5ish? I dunno. Whatever. I'll be generous and round up, but I do so grudgingly.

I just want Harry to STFU. I want to like him, I really do, but he doesn't stop talking. Even when he's going to do something, he first has to talk about it for-seemingly-EVER. Shut up, Harry. Go be as bad as you tell yourself in your head that you are.

Additionally, what little "romance" there is in this book is so frikkin contrived. Words like "love" are tossed around and it's laughable, because there is so little interaction between Harry and that stupid twit Susan, whom I hereby nickname as Susan WSDA aka Susan Who-Should-Die-Already. I can't with this chick. She is so fucking stupid and annoying and inconsiderate and reckless and so I hate her and so I can't fathom anyone loving her and so it makes my head hurt when Harry bows down to her stupidity and so I just want to scratch my eyes out when she puts herself and others in danger for selfish reasons and so I just want her to die already. I'm speculating, but maybe Butcher just can't write the natural progression of a meaningful relationship well. I have not been sold enough on Susan WSDA and why she's in any way lovable. To me, she's expendable. The most I get from Harry to square away his deepening feelings for Susan WSDA is that she's pretty hot. Not enough, dude! Not nearly enough to make me stop wishing for her death. "She"s hot" is a weak argument for loving someone, especially when throughout the book, we get little else to base these feelings on. It just screams "stereotypical male POV". I hate to generalize, but the fact that this is a male author writing from a male's POV about love and romance makes it hard not to generalize. Jus sayin.

In conclusion, I feel that if even half of Harry's pointless inner dialogue was removed, this whole series would be about 6 - 7 books of good story. As it stands, I'm unsure if I have the will to go on. Unlike Susan WSDA, I actually have a sense of self-preservation. ( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Butcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, VincentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsters, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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There are reasons I hate to drive fast.
I felt uncomfortable, approaching the church -- not for any weirdo quasi-mystical reason. Just because I'd never been comfortable with churches in general. The Church had killed a lot of wizards in its day, believing them in league with Satan. It felt strange to be just strolling up on business. Hi, God, it's me, Harry. Please don't turn me into a pillar of salt. (chapter 9)
Thaumaturgy is traditional magic, all about drawing symbolic links between items or people then investing energy to get the effect that you want. You can do a lot with thaumaturgy, provided you have enough time to plan things out, and more time to prepare a ritual, the symbolic objects, and the magical circle.
I've yet to meet a slobbering monster polite enough to wait for me to finish. (Harry, chapter 16)
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Book description
In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451458443, Mass Market Paperback)

In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:35 -0400)

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Called to Cook County hospital to deal with an enraged ghost, Harry Dresden, Chicago's resident wizard, is puzzled and disturbed not by the ghost's wrath but by the fact that someone had cast a torture spell on it, goading it into action. Harry's disturbance increases when he discovers that the same spell has been cast on one of his friends. Harry begins to realize that he and his friends may be targets of a vengeful spirit, and as he desperately tries to discover which of his many enemies has it in for him, his friends are attacked one by one. The spirit, whom Harry refers to as the Nightmare, continues to torment Harry's friends until he manages to cast a spell preventing it from harming anyone else until it kills him, which leads to a showdown that Harry might not survive.… (more)

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