Sunday Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (Orbit)


This episode of the Dresden Files raises more questions that it answers about Harry’s past and the pasts of those around him. We find out that not all his relations are dead for a start, which comes as quite a shock but also explains a few things. Family troubles are also a bit close to home.

Blood Rites takes us to a movie set – though not typical Hollywood. He’s on a case, the women around a movie producer are dying in tragic accidents. Though it looks like the accidents have the taste of magic and Harry is asked to investigate.

This puts Harry up against an unexpected enemy and another problem has him team up with Murphy for the first time. The interaction between the straight down the line Murphy and the edge of the line Harry is a good exploration of both the characters and their relationship. Especially as Murphy agrees to do something that is bordering on illegal.

In Blood Rites we get introduced in more detail to the White Court.  Vampires who thrive of people’s psychic energy rather than blood. We also get to see the Black Court in action. For the most part Harry is hunting down a vampire den and trying to keep the ladies from dying. He has a bit of trouble doing both.

This feels a little weaker than the earlier ones. I think that’s because the story is smaller scale. The subplot about Harry’s history has some big bangs in it and hopefully will be developed in future books. It definitely feels like it’s setting something up.

If I was being completely honest I’d say that Blood Rites doesn’t quite hit the mark feeling more like plot by numbers – with things needing to happen and being driven by those revelations rather than being about the strength of the stories in this episode.

I am looking forward to the next one but I’m hoping that Dead Beat will get Harry back on track and Jim Butcher a little more focused.

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