Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

(Reviewed for Little, Brown Book Group, Orbit from a free copy supplied by Netgalley.com)

First, the cover blurb…

THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET SERIOUS FOR HARRY DRESDEN, CHICAGO’S ONLY PROFESSIONAL WIZARD, in the next entry in the No. 1 New York Times and No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling Dresden Files.

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.

***

Over the course of my last few reviews, I’ve begun to feel like a stuck record. It’s my own fault; I need to be more careful when picking my publishers’ advance copies for review.

Once again I’ve been reading a book which is from a series that I started some years ago but am now nowhere near up to date with, and, consequently, I’ve had no idea what was going on, who half the characters were and was clueless as to the condition of the main character’s love interests and relationships.

Usually, this is of less consequence if there is at least a plot to follow, but, with Battle Ground, this isn’t the case because there is no ‘plot’ as such. This book is the playing out of one enormous battle – a sort of endgame, seventh-level boss fight, involving mystical creatures I haven’t come across before, allies that I’ve never heard of and enemies with reputations of which I was unaware.
But, even though I struggled to get into it as all the characters positioned themselves for the off, the battle is so well written, fast-paced and inventive that I really wanted to get to the end. I wanted to see whether the characters that I cared about most, Harry and a new-to-me dude named Butters, made it through and whether their strategies worked out. And, what’s more, it’s made me keen to go back to the books I haven’t read, in order to fill in the blanks.
I wouldn’t recommend piling into this book if you aren’t familiar with the series, and do wish that I’d at least read the preceding one (at least I would have understood the starting point and how Harry came to be in a boat fighting off a kraken in the first few pages), but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you found yourself washed up on a desert island with nothing else to read.