Inconsistently Back and forth – Death Masks (Dresden Files Book #5 ) review

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With Summer Knight setting high standards for Dresden Files next installment , it wasn’t surprising to expect a high quality fun book better than Summer knight and equally it wasn’t surprising to expect the aforementioned Expectations to let you down and with the first 3 books in mind maybe keeping a low bar for your expectations was the way to go

Book Succinct :

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But he also knows that whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad.

Recent examples: A duel with the lethal champion of the Red Court, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards,Hit men using Harry for target practice,The missing Shroud of Turin and the possible involvement of Chicago’s most feared mob boss A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified.

Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature and who seems to have a new man in her life.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.

– source : Amazon

What I Liked :

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Basically everything that i have come to love about this series is what i truly liked about the series , the action , the pacing of the plot , the witty remarks , the  humour and the various pop-culture references . For a change though this time the author put in a very interesting cliff-hanger in the end which will definitely prompt readers to look forward to events of the next book

Book Quote:

“Sleep is God. Go worship.”

One can actually divide the story in the book into 3 acts with the first 2 acts being full of promise and excitement , Readers are kept guessing about what the hell is actually happening and some fascinating new characters such as Shiro, Molly , Sanya ,Ivy,Kincaid, Gard each with their own respective myth and mystery behind them were introduced .

Book Quotes:

“Life would be unbearably dull if we had answers to all our questions.”

Meanwhile just like in the last book this book creates what could be another long story arc with the introduction of the fallen angels and the Backstage team of anti – vamps that are now training Harry’s ex-girlfriend , Speaking on her it was actually refreshing to see her turn from a damsel-in-the-way-of-things to serious ass-kicking ally . The scenes involving her and Harry were also very tenderly done and bought emotions in the book that were previously lacking

What I Didn’t like

Of course the key attraction of the series remain the fascinatingly difficult situations the protagonist traps himself in and in turn gets away from these situations using a combination of his intellect, cleverness, physics knowledge and shear raw power and sadly this book while did deliver it didn’t make it as big scale as in previous issues , in fact the situations that Harry had himself in this time were actually kind of lame as compared to what he was in, in the first 4 books .

Book Quotes:

“There are things you can’t walk away from. Not if you want to live with yourself afterward.”  

Meanwhile while i did praise the addition of interesting characters their introduction felt very short-timed and sadly reader weren’t given any time to connect with any of those newly introduced characters making those characters although interesting less cared-about .

Book Quotes:

“It came charging toward me, several hundred pounds of angry-looking monster, and I did the only thing any reasonable wizard could have done.
I turned around and ran like hell.”  

Similarly one of the major set back of the book in my opinon was the author trying to put in one plot too many , which resulted in the book feeling cramped and that furthur resulted in very poor 3rd and final act with the climax and finale falling short and abrupt , infact it pissed me off to see two of the main battle sequence in the book ending with outside inteference and with no clear result or no key involvement of Harry  .

Book Quotes:

“How long have you been a Wiccan?’
‘A what?’
‘A pagan. A witch.’
‘I’m not a witch,’ I said, glancing out the door. ‘I’m a wizard.’
Sanya frowned. ‘What is the difference?’
‘Wizard has a Z’
He looked at me blankly.
‘No one appreciates me.’ I muttered.”

And granted there was the usual mix of action,humor , witty and sarcasm etc . it did feel little toned down so that many jokes went without getting any reaction from the reader and a book series that has so far heavily relied on these features and the readers reaction this is certainly not a good sign . Not to mention the comeback of Erotica in this book truly gave me the creeps and it just felt weird and simply uncomfortable

Conclusions :

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Despite the signs of massive improvement in terms of some of the big time flaws in the previous book this book fell flat in comparison to it’s immediate predecessor with not a lot happening to garner the usual response that a Dresden files book genearlly generates from it’s audiences . There were some genuinely good moments and a fascinating cliff-hanger to set stage for what could be a really good long arc ahead and it’s still a decent book but sadly to me atleast this felt like the weakest one in the series so far

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