Harry Dresden never knew his mother Margaret. He knows that she was a wizard, that she used the last name LaFey, and that before she married Harry’s father she hung out with some shady characters. In Blood Rites, he discovers something about Margaret that changes everything he believes about himself.
In the sixth Dresden Files novel, Jim Butcher shakes up Harry’s world. In addition to shocking new information about his mother, Harry has to deal with a revelation about Ebenezar, the White Council wizard who was his guardian. While he is absorbing those shocks to his life, Harry is waging a battle with the Black Court vampires and trying to protect a charming porno-movie director from a potent curse. Yes, I used “potent” intentionally there.
Blood Rites develops the third and strangest vampire court, the White Court. White Court vampires are incubi and succubae. Harry’s friend Thomas, a White Court vampire, and his two sisters figure prominently in the story.
The book is funny and harrowing. Even though people attached to the porno die, these sections have the most humor. When he is not body-guarding the actors, Harry assembles a rogue’s gallery to fight Marva, the eldest of the Black Court vampires. His group includes cop pal Karrin Murphy, the mercenary Kincaid, and Ebenezar. In this book, Harry also finds out a little bit more about Murphy and her family. Murphy’s mother shares a surprising bit of news; Murphy’s father was also a cop, and before they had a name for Special Investigations, they called paranormal cases “black cat” cases. Murphy’s dad was a black cat cop. This adds some mystery and risk to the character of Murphy, because her father killed himself. Mrs Murphy says she thinks he did it because he couldn’t face what he was learning about the world. Murphy has already been the victim of magic on more than one occasion; can she survive in Harry’s world?
It’s common for plotlines to converge in a Dresden book and Blood Rites is no exception. Harry uses intellect to solve the mystery of the porno death curse, and the battle against the vampires reads like an action-adventure movie. Before he is even recovered from injuries taken in this battle, Harry confronts the puppet-master behind it all. This final battle puts Thomas and Murphy in mortal danger.
From the opening sequence in a burning warehouse, to the snicker-inducing final line, Blood Rites never lets go. It has clenched-fist action, dramatic magic, intriguing mental puzzles, and a nail-biting battle of wills at the climax. Blood Rites is complex, suspenseful, funny and sets up issues that will play out across the rest of the series.