Book Review: Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

Posted November 4, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #17
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on September 29, 2020
Pages: 432
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also in this series: Peace Talks

Also by this author: Storm Front, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Down Town, Shadowed Souls, Blood Rites, Proven Guilty , White Night , Small Favor , Turn Coat , Changes , Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files , Peace Talks , Peace Talks, "Christmas Eve"

Seventeenth in The Dresden Files paranormal fantasy series and revolving around Harry Dresden, wizard extraordinaire and a starborn in a story set in Chicago. This tale carries on from Peace Talks, 16.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of The Dresden Files books on my website.

My Take

Whoa…Butcher uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Harry’s perspective. And he is shocked to the core when Mab announces the supernatural existence to the population of Chicago!

Well, you know Harry. He can’t resist poking at his allies, and he pokes Marcone hard enough to force him to be nice. Of course, he’s also poking away at Ethniu. Ooh, baby, the snark is catching, and when you read Marcone’s defiant speech, you can’t help but clap!

More whoa…Ebenezar points out to Harry that Mab roped Molly in as the Winter Lady because of Harry.

Whoa, whoa, whoa…Mab insists that Harry deal with Molly if Mab falls. I’m not sure I wanna know what that means! What can be bad about a woman who gives all that new armor Molly provided for Toot-Toot and the Za Lord’s Guard, lol.

Mab makes an excellent point about how the White Council has treated Harry. Drakul makes his own point to Harry…and both are terrifying.

Then there’s a wow, and it makes perfect sense. That their allies are not fighting with the fae to honor the treaty, but to capture a weapon. Lord, there are so many conflicts in Battle Ground…I’m not sure this actual battle between the “good guys” and the Fomorians isn’t actually easier!

Battle Ground is overwhelming in its action, all of which is affected by the characters. And they’re all in here!

“Pizza has been one of the better long-term investments in [Harry’s] career.”

It’s an ending that is good…and bad with the promise of plenty of action in the next book, that’s for sure!

The Story

The city’s electrical grid has been blown out. The Fomorians are preparing to attack.

And everyone gathers to do battle: the supernaturals, wizards, witches, policemen, fire fighters, EMTs, regular people. Yet, when they see Harry flare his power as the Winter Knight, commanding the monsters of winter…they’re terrified.

The Characters

Harry “Hoss” Dresden is a wizard…and Mab’s Winter Knight with a bad case of conjuritis. As the Winter Knight, he wears the Winter mantle which keeps Harry from feeling pain and gives him great strength…all of which comes home to roost when he wears out. The knife from Hades is actually the Spear of Destiny.

Maggie is his young daughter guarded by Mouse, a huge gray Temple dog. Thomas Raith is his half-vampire White Court brother, who’s been imprisoned on Demonreach (Peace Talks). Thomas is also Lara’s brother. Margaret LeFay had been their mother. Karrin “Karrie” Murphy (her code name is Valkyrie) used to be a lieutenant in the Chicago PD. Demonreach is an unchartable island in Lake Michigan of which Harry is the warden where the worst nightmares are imprisoned.

Will is the werewolf alpha of the Alpha Pack, and he’s with Georgia Borden. Other pack members include Andi and Marci. The Ordo Lebes are kitchen witches with little power. Artemis Bock runs a shop from which he kicked out Harry. Goodman Grey, a mercenary mega-shapeshifter, has been protecting Justine, the love of Thomas’ life (Skin Game, 15).

McAnally’s is a basement pub owned and run by Mac and is a sanctuary for magic users. It’ll be a refuge during the battle for the Paranetters, low level magic users from the website, the Paranet. Crazy-but-Not-Wrong Gary is one of the Paranetters. St Mary of the Angels is a church of real faith where Father Forthill is based.

Sir Michael Carpenter is a retired knight (since Small Favor, 10) with a dozen angels guarding his house at any one time. His wife, Charity, builds armored vests. Little Harry is their youngest. The active Knights of the Cross are Waldo Butters, a medical examiner who adores polka and wields Fidelacchius, is the Knight of Faith. Bob, a skull, holds centuries of magical knowledge. Sanya who wields Esperacchius, is the Knight of Hope.

Major Players include…

Vadderung who has multiple identities, including Kris Kringle and Odin the Allfather, is also known as One-Eye. Thor is his son. Sleipnir is Vadderung’s eight-legged horse. H & M are Vadderung’s personal bodyguards. The Archive is growing up, a human with all the knowledge of humankind locked up in her head. Ferrovax is a shapeshifting dragon currently holding the door between the mortal world and the world of spirit closed. LaChaise marches with his ghouls.

The Fae are…
…divided between Winter and Summer. The Winter queen is Mab who holds Dresden’s “leash”. Molly Carpenter is the Winter Lady, the deputy to the Queen of Air and Darkness. The Leanansidhe, a.k.a. Auntie Lea, is Harry’s godmother.

Titania is the Summer Queen. Sarissa is the Summer Lady. Sir Fix is the Summer Knight.

Major General Toot-Toot Minimus commands the Little Folk for the Za Lord. Lacuna is a pixie and prisoner of war of Toot’s. The Erlking is the Huntsman, the goblin king, and the master of the Wild Hunt. River Shoulders is a Sasquatch (and a shapeshifter!), one of the Forest People who has been helped by Harry. Black dogs, phobophages, Redcaps, and Malks, which are nasty cat-like nightmares, are some of the Winter troops. Grimalkin is an elder of the Malks and Mab’s personal aide.

The svartelves are led by Etri. Evanna is his sister (Peace Talks).

Baron Marcone…
…is a human and a mob boss in Chicago, a.k.a. Gentleman John Marcone. He erected Castle Marcone on the site of Mrs Spunkelcrief‘s boardinghouse where Harry used to live. Gard and Nathan Hendricks are Marcone’s bodyguards along with Freydis, a Valkyrie. More include the Einherjaren, revenants.

Randy is one of the humans who join Harry’s side, as part of the Scattergun Brigade.

The Vampires
Lara Raith of the House of Raith is the true queen of the White Court. Riley is one of her guard and a shooter.

The White Council of Wizardry
The council leaders include Martha Liberty, Ebenezar McCoy is the Blackstaff as well as Harry’s grandfather, Listens-to-Wind is a shapeshifter and Indian shaman (who used to be River Shoulders’ apprentice), and Cristos.

Carlos Ramirez is one of the Wardens and loves Harry, but worries about Harry’s current allegiances. More Wardens include Yoshimo, Chandler, and Wild Bill Meyers.

The Chicago PD
Detectives Rudolph (a cowardly idiot) and the by-the-book Brian Bradley (with Internal Affairs) interfere quite a bit. Lieutenant Stallings is their boss. Detective Rawlins, Murphy’s former partner, is good with Harry…and almost retired.

Lamar is an EMT who wants nothing to do with Harry.

The Men in Black, the Librum Bellum, is the Special Collections Division of the Library of COngress. And they now know about the supernaturals.

The Enemies

The Fomorians are…
…an enemy of the fae. Their original king imprisoned his only child, Ethniu, to prevent her having a grandchild. Ethniu is a Titan wearing Titanic bronze and hate, hate, hates the fae. Captain Listen appears to be Ethniu’s second-in-command. He’s been running operations in Chicago for years as an advance scout.

The Huntsmen are from Annuvin, the Welsh Land of the Dead, and they’re formidable, especially because when each is killed their energies flow into the still-living Huntsmen. They’re hard enough to kill as it is!

Mavra of the Black Court is back and raising zombies. Drakul, whose eyes are as empty as the soul of hell, is another of the Elders of the Black Court and a starborn. Jotuns are giants. Svangar, son of Svangi, is a fire jotun. King Corb is an ally.

Nicodemus Archleone is the host for the fallen angel Anduriel, the Master of Shadows, and a Black Knight (Death Masks, 5). Nemesis is also He Who Walks Beside, a Walker from the Outside.

A soulgaze involves both parties looking deep into the eyes of the other, seeing everything. Soulfire is the purest force of Creation in the universe. Titanic bronze, an alloy of Olympian bronze and mordite, affects Creation on a fundamental level. Graceland is the cemetery where Harry’s empty grave awaits him. The black wizard, Justin DuMorne, had been Harry’s mentor. Titans are a madness that needs ruin and destruction.

The Cover and Title

The cover finds the streets of Chicago aflame with the scruffy Harry in his fedora, leather coat, black T with dangling amulet, jeans, and carrying his staff, striding through the flames. At the very top is an info blurb in black. Immediately below, but above Harry’s head, is the author’s name in a deep, deep blue outlined in white. At the bottom is the title in yellow with a white outline. Below that, in white, is the series information.

The title is all about Chicago, the Battle Ground between supernaturals, gods, and humans.

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