I'm not going to say much about the plot of the book. We're 16 books in, so at this point, you either like these books or you don't. This feels like it may have been one large book that was split into two, especially since book 17, Battle Ground comes out in September. That being said, it's still great. It just that the book ends in the middle of the larger story presented and it looks like the s#!t is really hitting the fan this time. God, I can't wait until September now!
Received a review copy from Ace Books and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned. [4.5/5 stars] Peace Talks was everything I hoped it would be and more. Totally worth the wait! ^^ Especially because we’re getting TWO Dresden novels this year (Battle Ground is currently slated for release September 29th!).
The last few Dresden novels have been hit or miss. Ghost Story and Cold Days were byfar my least favorite books in the series. I briefly considered abandoning it, but then Skin Game (possibly the best of the series – PARKOUR!!) came along and fuego! – total reignition. I didn’t know what to expect after so much time between books, but luckily Peace Talks was more of all the things that make this series great: good characters, funny dialogue, supernatural politics, lots of magic, and stakes that keep getting higher and higher. It’s a relief because I wasn’t sure I liked the direction the story has been heading in the last few books. Butcher jumped the shark at some point and I was afraid it was going to get too far from the original essence of the story while dealing with the multidimensional shit. It didn’t. Instead it struck a nice balance between the familiar and the new concepts.
The book did take a bit of time for gentle reintroductions to the characters, but it wasn’t distracting. Frankly I could’ve used more reminders on the differences between the white court, the red court, the winter court, the summer court, etc. I’ve got most of it straight, but still get lost on occasion with anything to do with the fae. That’s more of an attention span thing though – early on in the series, all the evil beings sounded and acted the same so I never bothered to get them straight. Now I’m paying for being lazy because they’ve stuck around. Anyway, Peace Talks wasn’t as actionpacked as Skin game, but it more than made up for it with political intrigue and plotadvancements between key characters. There were definitely a few “omg!” moments. The story arc didn’t feel as robust as some of his other books, but that’s probably why we’re getting another novel this year. I’m ready for that one to knock me on my ass.
Really, the only thing that would’ve made my reading experience of Peace Talks better is James Marsters crooning to me on the audio version. Other than that, it was awesome!
Recommendations: Dresden continues to be an absolute joy to read, and seems to embrace its flaws to the point where it wouldn’t be a satisfying Dresden novel without them (they’re not so much flaws anymore as trademark Dresdenisms). If you haven’t read this series yet and are even mildly interested in the genre, it’s a great pick (give it until at least book 4). Oh! And if you haven’t had a chance to read the novellas yet, now would be a good time to pick up the Bigfoot ones before diving into Peace Talks. ;)
I’d like to thank Berkley Publishing Group, Netgalley, and Jim Butcher for providing an early review copy of Peace Talks – you made my year!
Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com
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Harry Dresden Is Back And Ready For Action, In The New Entry In TheNew York Times Bestselling Dresden Files Series When The Supernatural Nations Of The World Meet Up To Negotiate An End To Ongoing Hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's Only Professional Wizard, Joins The White Council's Security Team To Make Sure The Talks Stay Civil But Can He Succeed, When Dark Political Manipulations Threaten The Very Existence Of Chicagoand All He Holds Dear?
Peace Talks Is The Sixteenth Novel In The Dresden Files Series And Follows Harry’s Adventures After The Events Of Skin Game Edited 9/23/15
Jim said at yesterday's reddit AMA that the manuscript is due January 1st. Generally a 4 month turnaround is necessary after that, 6 preferable. Penguin has managed to bring that down to as low as 1 month, but that is unlikely. (Props to "Priscellie" for most of the above info).
Here is Jim's 50 word summary of what Peace Talks is about:
"The various supernatural powers are gathering together in Chicago to kind of hash things out in the wake of the Red Court’s destruction and all the chaos in the world. So basically they will all sit around a campfire and tell stories and sing kumbayah and everything will be fine."
Jim announced on twitter that the first line is (view spoiler)[My brother ruined a perfectly good run by saying, "Justine is pregnant." (hide spoiler)]
Six years I waited for Harry to come back. SIX YEARS!!!!
Was it worth the wait? For me? ABSOLUTELY. I loved every second of it. There's intrigue galore, amazing characterization. Awesome dialogue.
Peace Talks made me happy in all kinds of ways. I got my fix of some Thomas, Molly, Michael, Maggie, Mouse, Lara Raith, Marcone, Waldo, Mab, Justine, you name it, it was there. Best, I was listening to James Marsters for almost all of the book. He is just superb as Harry and the other forty or so characters he renders his voice for this series.
In addition, if you had read the short stories, you'll be happily surprised to reacquaint yourself with so many other characters from those.
As always, Harry is having all kinds of trouble. He's tired, running on little sleep and food and trying to save the world. Or this case Chicago and some very important people to him. Yet, Harry is becoming smarter and trying to do things logically, without burning down the building which shows some major growth on his part.
For people who like Karin and Dresden together, they are going to be happy. Me being a #MollyTeam or even a #LaraTeam, it didn't make me happy but it didn't make me mad either. I guess I still hold a grudge for Karrin shooting Harry so many moons ago but if Harry is happy with her so be it.
After finishing Peace Talks, I started thinking of so many things that could go wrong since this book doesn't have all the answers. Luckily, I don't have to wait long for Battle Ground.
I believe if you are a reader who's saying there was not enough action in this book, the next one is going to have too much. The question is who are we going to lose. It terrifies me. I don't want it to be any of my favorites (which is like 20!)
On a side note, I'm super concerned about Ramirez. I don't trust him anymore. Be careful, Molly.
Peace Talks sets such a masterful way for Battle Ground. Frenemies must come together to protect it all or die trying and Harry Dresden is going to be in the middle of it all with the baddies from all sides gunning for him. Watch out!
Cliffhanger: YES! A big one!
A complimentary copy was provided by ACE via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Update 7/20/20: No fifth star here, folks. What we've got here is a part one of two situation. This is basically the first book in a duology inside the series proper, with Battle Ground being part two. We now know why the surprise second book! And I can't fully judge this one until I see how (most of) it turns out. Luckily September 29th isn't that far away.
I had to step away from this one for a bit to try and see what Butcher was going for, since it's such a huge change of format for him. All previous Dresden Files books have contained a full story arc, wherein the temporary bad guy or crisis is resolved or defeated, but that is not the arc this book employs at all, and it's jarring, and depending on how you feel about waiting two months for another book to finish up the main conflict, may make or break the book for you. A good way to explain is like those special twoparters you sometimes get on TV shows, where the first episode sets up the conflict, and part two resolves it. Because I spent last weekend finally finishing Picard, I will use an example from that show as well as Star Trek: TNG. Think "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I," which finished up season three of that show with an unprecedented cliffhanger (beware thirty year old spoilers): (view spoiler)[Picard being taken, and turned into Locutus of Borg (hide spoiler)] Unsalvageable. I'm tempted to tell Jim Butcher to go screw himself, because he sure screwed his faithful. What's more, most of his fans are rating this book, praising it to the heavens.
There was an overemphasis on Mouse, the dog, and mention of a threesome, twice. If that kind of events happened in the author's life, then spice it up a little before serving it.
I know Butcher is a terrific writer, and I can see myself giving 5 stars to Battle Ground, but my personal opinion on this garbage book is that hype is a real thing that can reel in the gullible, the famished, the naive, and the fanatic. 4.5 stars
Peace Talks picks up right after Skin Game, quickly setting up the first in a whole new set of challenges. Considering this instalment follows the best book in the series by far and a seriously long break, there were a lot of expectations to live up to. Butcher’s answer is to offer the typical Dresden novel with a few significant twists. It takes some skill to produce something that feels the same AND different, cosy and surprising. I read the whole book straight through, loving every minute back Harry’s Chicago. As far as I’m concerned, the only real issues were structural. This instalment feels like half of a whole. Whether it’s true or not that Butcher wrote one book and then split it into two for publication, that’s the way it comes across, and it does explain why we have the second part coming in September. Even knowing it was likely to have a cliffhanger ending didn’t stop me from feeling that weird disassociation you get from an abrupt ending, that sense of incompleteness, and I’m betting some people are going to be really disappointed by that. There is more than enough action and tension to keep the story moving forward, but everything that happens here is part of the build up to what’s clearly going to be an epic battle in er.. Battle Ground. Clue is definitely in the name, right?! Peace Talks is the book that sets out the problems, Battle Ground will demolish them, one way or another.
Nevertheless, this is not wasted time. There’s a giant dollop of much needed character development in Peace Talks, told via intense and impactful scenes that furnish long running favourites with new dimensions to both their character and backstory. Some are pretty stunning in their ramifications, clearly significant to the next book and beyond. The focus here is undoubtedly on relationships, especially between family, both blood and found, with some getting a fundamental reshaping. These personal issues are interwoven with the larger political and diplomatic nightmare that is the Peace Talks. It’s the kind of shitshow Harry in which so often finds himself but the stakes here are world shattering. The potential consequences hang over the book like a dark cloud, amping up the seriousness and desperation of Harry’s situation. Even though he maintains his classic wry commentary and silly jokes, there’s still a noticeable difference in attitude. Shit Harry, maybe you’ve finally grown up. It’s taken you a hell of a lot of time, but it could change everything. Despite all the throw downs and big wins, Harry hasn’t often felt like much more than an unenthusiastic participant, dragged in to various fights, succeeding as much by luck as by judgement. Until now. Oh, he’s still being manipulated by bigger players, but there’s a new certainty to him. This book shows that he’s made some decisions about about what and who really matter to him and what he’s prepared to risk for them. He’s also more thoughtful, or perhaps more able to see what his actions look like from the outside. This new perspective provides the opportunity for a fascinating exploration of what Harry expects from himself, and what we expect from him as a result. Grown up Harry is much more dangerous, and that opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
It’s a fun read and a great set up for Battle Ground in September.
ARC via Netgalley Butcher risks declining interest in the Dresden Files. He's got such an interesting "world," with huge potential stories and storylines that he's setup, and an interested fanbase. However, with the snail's pace publishing of the "adult" version of the Files, Butcher is risking a growing disinterest as readers turn to other authors/books that are a bit more proliferate. Certainly, I find my interest in the next book to be fading as time moves on: it is not something I'm burning to buy as soon as it is released. I barely was interested in Skin Game and didn't find the story as riveting or interesting as previous stories. Since Ghost Story, I've found this apathy to be growing. You're going to lose readers Butcher.... 2.5 stars.
TL;DR is that this book is kinda meh. It picks up at the end, but that doesn't really save it from mediocrity.
It's been about 7 years since the previous book in the series, and I haven't reread any of the other books in the series during that time. I may need to go back and read some of them, or at least look up a character and event list. 7 years is a long time and the book keeps referencing events and characters that I either outright do not remember, or only vaguely remember.
Also, the previous book was just a really fun, really entertaining adventure. A return to form for the series. And a really great sendoff for my favorite Dresden sidekick. In comparison, this book is kind of really dull, which is a bit disappointing after how long it's been since the previous book, and just how good that previous book was. It's not bad, I was just hoping for a bit more fun, and a bit less moping around.
The book has some really frustrating moments in it, due to Dresden actively choosing not to communicate. I get that the author was saving it for the big confrontation at the end, but I spent half the book yelling, "JUST TELL HIM!!!" at the pages.
At its core, this book is, pretty much the same story type as Skin Game. It's a heist. But where Skin Game did everything right, this one seemed really halfhearted. Not to mention that using the exact same type of story twice in a row didn't help with the boredom aspect for me. It's not a terrible book. I just felt that it was really dull until about the last fifty pages or so. I think this is the second book in the series, after Ghost Story, that I really just don't care for. But, I mean, if only 1 book in 8 is not all that great, that's still a pretty good ratio. Big things do happen in this book, mostly at the end, but it's not presented in a very interesting way. It kind of just feels like Butcher was dragging his feet, and maybe a little burnt out on writing Dresden. I understand that he went through quite a bit of misfortune in the time between this book and the previous one, and I wish him the best, but I still don't like this book as much as others in the series. Hopefully the next book this fall will be a bit more fun and exciting. Given what happens at the end of this book, it looks to be a pretty good book. Hopefully Butcher managed to get out of his funk for it.