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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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Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  librarycatnip | Jan 12, 2015 |
Darker theme than the first two Dresden books, but equally as enjoyable. Butcher is building a nice catalogue of villians for Harry in future novels in this series. ( )
  utbw42 | Dec 8, 2014 |
Best one so far. ( )
  ladypembroke | Nov 22, 2014 |
The lack of a crucial wow factor denies this book a 5 star rating. If I were sure of my facts, I would admit that my reserves grew from the completely new laws of Grave Peril. I didn't find anything that didn't make sense. Any doubt were converted to appreciative nods. It's just that Harry's messiah and guilt complex is a slight bit grating. His cycle of depleted and regenerated powers are courting routine. I don't know anything about the next book. Somehow I don't think there will be a full out war. Anyway I thrive on surprises in my books and this one gave me plenty to think of. I like the author's imagination. My own is not as good, but I'll quip one phrase. Never say Nevernever. There, I got that out of the way. ( )
  Jiraiya | Oct 9, 2014 |
I love this series. The characters are fun, the world is interesting, and the plots have a nice Pot Boiler clip to them. Rarely a dull moment...except when Butcher rambles. Which he does.

Butcher likes to have Dresden, who is the narrator, wax philosophical, or express in far too many words his options and thoughts about a character or action. Often in the middle of a fight scene.

I get the impression that the books don't get edited. Someone needs to get out a red pen.

But none of that matters too much. It doesn't stop me from wanting to read them. Its easy enough to skip a few paragraphs when it becomes too internal and pointless. And the characters are indeed wonderful.

Butcher has a gift for getting his point across without the wordy pointless self discussions, so I don't know why he indulges. He can make you cry or laugh or cheer for his heroes. He even makes you vacillate between disgust and sympathy for some of his villains.

( )
  blatherlikeme | Sep 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
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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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