I abandoned The Dresden Files after Changes, not because I thought the story got bad or Butcher pissed me off with a story line, I just stopped reading. I thought the story had come to a conclusion I was happy with, and so just didn't read any further. Perhaps if I'd had Ghost Story immediately after finishing Changes I would have continued, but I didn't and when Ghost Story was finally released I was happy with the conclusion I'd drawn across the series. I was recently told to give the series a second chance.
First I have to say, this was the easiest series to slip back into. There was absolutely no confusion about who a character was, or what was going on in the world. Honestly, that's a pretty strong compliment to Butcher's ability to create memorable characters. As a side note, my favorite has and always will be Butters the mortician. The only moment I had of "wait, who?" was when I learned that the main villain was someone we had met before in a previous book, but a descriptors later and I was able to remember which book she'd been introduced in.
I really can't discuss the plot to this book without spoiling Changes. Seriously, Changes was an important book in the series and the events in it were earth shattering, not just for Harry but for his world. So.... In this book Harry is a ghost, and he's sent back to Chicago to figure out who murdered him. However, things in Chicago have gone south because when Harry destroyed the Red Vampires in Changes it left a power vacuum and now all kinds of supernatural powers are popping up to try and fill it. Which means the people Harry left behind, from Murphy to Molly to Butters and Bob, are not just dealing with their grief they're also dealing with monsters. And who would Harry be if he didn't decide to get involved.
I thought theme wise this was a good book to start the new story line with. It was a re-affirmation of who Harry is as a person, something both the readers AND Harry needed to know. And I don't know if I've been completely sucked back into this series, but I'm not curious as to what happens next. A feeling that was absent previously.
I have annoyances, of course. I hate Harry's misogyny. And I have a problem with it in the books. I think that part of it is Harry the character, but there are underpinnings that I think come from the fact that Butcher is a man writing in our culture which is steeped in misogyny. Everything to do with how Harry reacts to Molly creeped me out. For all that he's not interested in her, he sure did take the time to mention more then once how attractive she was. And by attractive I mean, it's described in a way that leaves me feeling gross, the same way I felt watching Michael Bay's camera as it zoomed in on Megan Fox in Transformers. It's just very male gazey. It does work for Harry's character, but since Molly is one of the few women subjected to that view point (in this book, I don't remember if it's in previous books. But I'll note that Murphy, the woman he was thinking about getting involved with at the end of Changes, is not) it grosses me out. I don't know if Butcher is setting up a romance between Harry and Molly, but I really hope not.
I was also a lot more annoyed at the pop culture references this time around. I'm sure they were just as prevalent in the previous books, but they just grated on my nerves. Why? I don't know, but I thought it worth mentioning.
I'm not in a rush to pick up the next one, but I don't regret reading this one either. Solid Urban Fantasy.