Battle Ground by Jim Butcher: Riveting and Emotional

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.

The tagline for this novel is Things are about to get serious for Harry Dresden. This, if anyone is paying attention to the trajectory of the novels, is not a surprise. It is also not a surprise that this is another turning point in the series, another point where things are about to change for good or bad but while I was completely expecting the fight of a lifetime, some of the impact on the characters and the lives of everyone in Harry’s Chicago will take a while to process.

Is this a good thing? Readers will have to decide on how they feel about some changes, especially as this is a spoiler free review. But there are lots of changes, including on Dresden himself as he utilizes more power than he ever has before but still needs a lot of help to fight The Last Titan. Some of his allies and even his enemies are integral to the battle and even Harry has a few surprises to encounter.

True to the character and the worldbuilding, all of the surprises are fitting and in character. Some will be less challenging, make perfect sense within the world that Butcher has built for his erstwhile wizard. There will be some lightbulb moments and some moments that are downright painful. All of them are integral to the story as a whole and I loved this story. This is Harry very much coming into his own and accepting responsibilities, accepting power in a way I don’t think he ever has before. He does have moments of temptation but this novel is about accepting his abilities and accepting his place as Wizard of Chicago. And the writing does this excellently.

This is very much an action oriented novel but there are moments of introspection, moments of insights about various characters surrounding Harry. Some will be obvious. Some will be delightful, especially Toot-toot and his gang of pixies. Some will be painful and rip your heart out. But there is never a dull moment in this book. It keeps you reading into the long hours of the night, riveted to your seat and it is powerful, emotional with every turn of the page as Harry fights the biggest fight of his life so far. There are enough leads and threads to indicate that there will be bigger fights on the horizon but this one, this one packs a huge punch.

If you haven’t read the series, this won’t be as big an impact so I do recommend the other novels before you get to this one. If you’ve been reading, you won’t be let down. This one carries the full impact of the previous novel and answers most of the threads from that book continuing into an epic story. This is Jim Butcher at his best. I don’t know how the next book will top this one but I can’t wait.

Rating: 5 out of 5 pixies.

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