Customer Reviews for

Changes (Dresden Files Series #12)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Butcher Fuego's My Nook

There has not been a bad Dresden Files book. Which says something because the author has to continually write better to top himself. With "Changes" Jim Butcher points to left field, calls his shot and swings away. Just a monster of a story. Incorporating fever paced emo...
There has not been a bad Dresden Files book. Which says something because the author has to continually write better to top himself. With "Changes" Jim Butcher points to left field, calls his shot and swings away. Just a monster of a story. Incorporating fever paced emotion and solid suspense Butcher tells the story of Harry Dresden's most spectacular adventure yet. Personally I love the increased role that Mouse plays in this installment. A nice touch. Butcher brings back the core characters from this series and gives them front stage in a story that spans multiple countries and realms. I enjoyed watching as Dresden sees his life turned upside down and still keeps focused on the goal. The author may prefer writing pure sword and sorcery fantasy but this book again shows that he has a serious talent for writing this character. This series is in a league by itself. I hope we see more of Harry Dresden's adventures in the very near future.

posted by 2895275 on April 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

A Disturbing Installment

I've had a hard time reconciling the positives and negatives of this book. The plot starts with a dramatic revelation, but then seems to just chase its tale with a lot of false starts, dead ends and confounding attacks on Harry. Although the story is compelling with hig...
I've had a hard time reconciling the positives and negatives of this book. The plot starts with a dramatic revelation, but then seems to just chase its tale with a lot of false starts, dead ends and confounding attacks on Harry. Although the story is compelling with high emotional stakes, the circular plot is frustrating until Harry finally uncovers useful information well past the story's mid-point. In the last quarter of the book an exciting confrontation occurs featuring well-described action and magic.

Unfortunately, the book's climax also exhibits both positive and negative aspects. At the outset the plot's resolution is surprising and inventive with a bombshell twist. However, it takes a decidedly disturbing and disappointing direction as Harry coldly manipulates and misuses an ally (and one of the good guys). As a result, Harry's character is irrevocably blackened. Further, the plot's resolution reveals an uncaring, some might say hostile, attitude towards motherhood. Moreover, the whole sequence of events during the climax is illogical as the innocent victim would surely have been dispatched by the bad guy(s) before Harry summons his will and acts decisively.

In the concluding scenes Harry's narcissistic concern for his material losses and self-centered plans to get drunk and get laid reveals a complete lack of remorse concerning his earlier misuse of his ally. Further, he experiences no grief over the loss of someone who should mean something to him. His total lack of remorse and sorrow paints the portrait of a selfish and shallow individual. I found myself asking what happened to the caring and heroic Harry. It's not just that Harry becomes 'gray' and makes compromises for the greater good, it's as if he looses his ability to feel compassion when it suits his purposes.

The finish of the book is likewise unsatisfactory. At first I thought it was an abrupt end to the series. Then I realized that it was being interpreted as a cliffhanger. IMO, the book's finish is a completely frustrating and feeble way to end any book, regardless of whether that book constitutes a stand-alone novel or is an installment in an ongoing series.

As regards other aspects of the story, the pace is fast exhibiting Butcher's trademark infusion of periodic action scenes featuring vividly described magic, heart-thumping combat and inventive monsters. Some of the characters, however, lose complexity and become Harry's 'fan girls'. In particular, Harry becomes romantically attractive to the two supporting female regulars despite one's past reservations and irrespective of the lack of any established romantic interest on the part of the other. Virtually all the female characters are simplistically divided into two groups. One is composed of scary monsters to be destroyed and/or feared. The other is composed of women who have a 'thing' for Harry. That division of female characters, (between monsters and fan girls), indicates a chauvinistic and somewhat juvenile attitude towards women. Plus, chauvinistic comments periodically pepper the dialogue. In sum, this book just seemed extraordinarily dismissive towards women.

So, do I recommend this book? Yes, it's a must read installment for fans of the series. However, if I was asked whether or not I liked the book, I'd have to answer no. I didn't like what happened in this book, and I didn't like the manner in which some characters, including Harry, were diminished.

posted by dalnewt on April 28, 2010

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