“Long Past Dues” by James J. Butcher: Descriptive and Punchy

Grimsby, the newest Auditor in the magical Department of Unorthodox Affairs, finds himself in hot water when he intercepts a friend’s case in this fast-paced and thrilling urban fantasy.

Against all odds, Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby has become an Auditor, enforcing laws about magic for Boston’s Department of Unorthodox Affairs. But Grimsby soon realizes the daily grind of his job is far removed from the glamour he imagined. Overlooked for every exciting case, Grimsby tires of being told to handle mundane magical troubles, and appropriates a case file intended for a friend.

Alongside Leslie Mayflower, the temporarily unretired Huntsman, Grimsby aims to crack the case and discover the origin of a strange, unfinished ritual—one that seems to imitate the handiwork of a foe Mayflower put down twenty years ago.

Together, they’ll have to deal with escaped werewolves, a cursed artifact, and a perilous journey to the mysterious subterranean city below Boston, all to uncover the shocking truth. At any cost, Grimsby must stop this ritual from finally being completed. Yet the cost may be paid not by himself but by his friends. . . .

In this 2nd novel in the The Unorthodox Chronicles by James J. Butcher, he’s created a novel that is both descriptive and punchy, with imaginative language and fast paced action that will keep readers engaged. Grimsby is written with greater complexity and the troubles he and Mayflower face are far more interesting than just dealing with creatures and curses. 

In this second novel, I can see the growth in both the author’s writing but also in the worldbuilding. The department of Unorthodox Affairs is better described and we learn far more about the world that Grimsby and Mayflower face. The Department could still use more development but we also see how Wudge begins to fit into the narrative and how costs are paid not just by Grimsby but by his friends and others who wield magic in this world. 

The action is fast paced, the dialogue punchy and the descriptive language is superb. When reading this book, I could visualize the characters and the scenes with ease. I loved the deepening of the supernatural elements and I was thoroughly entertained by the story. While it does still bear some similarities to The Dresden Files, I can now see it breaking away and becoming something far more original and unique. The ending is complex and powerful and promises more to come.

If you like stories about magic and wizards, you will enjoy James J. Butcher’s take on magic. He brings us a character that struggles with magic but still succeeds, a character that is complex and entertaining. The story is descriptive and punchy, with scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It was a thoroughly entertaining read. 

4.5 out of 5 creatures. 

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