Proven Guilty: The best DRESDEN book so far

Blood Rites, Dead Heat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small FavorProven Guilty by Jim ButcherProven Guilty by Jim Butcher

After decades of reading SFF, and after stuffing hundreds of fantasy novels under my middle-aged belt (it occurs to me that this is not the most attractive metaphor), it surprises me when I finish book eight in a series and am eager to acquire book nine. It rarely happens anymore. But, I’ve just finished Proven Guilty, book eight in Jim Butcher’s THE DRESDEN FILES and I’m eager to move on to book nine, White Night. The only thing stopping me from diving right in is that I’m on the wait list at my library.

It seems like that’s all I should really have to say about Proven Guilty because if you’re reading this and you’re already a fan of the series, that’s all you needed to know — that Butcher is keeping up his end of the bargain by continuing to provide his readers with entertaining stories full of action, drama, characters we love, and a touch of his appealing humor. If you’re new to the series, perhaps you are just checking in to make sure that THE DRESDEN FILES isn’t one of those series that loses steam over the course of several books and eventually fizzles out before coming to an inglorious end. Rest assured that this is not the case. THE DRESDEN FILES just gets better and better.

In Proven Guilty Harry is asked by a member of the White Council to discover who is using black magic in Chicago. The trail leads him to a Horror convention where attendees are being brutally murdered by monsters right out of the horror movies they love. What makes it worse for Harry is that Molly, his friend Michael’s daughter, is somehow involved. His investigation strains his relationship with Michael’s family and uncovers some important secrets.

The bigger story arc gradually progresses — Harry is concerned about treachery on the White Council, conspiracies in the Winter Court, the threat of war with the Red Court, and the possibility that a new unknown power is on the scene. Harry’s personal relationships are also changing — not only with Michael’s family, but with Murphy, Thomas, members of the White Council, and the fallen angel who lives in his head. Harry has some serious ethical dilemmas in Proven Guilty and he’s starting to think more about his lack of faith in the God he knows exists.

At the end of Proven Guilty, things are much different than they were at the beginning, and most readers will be as eager as I am to see what happens next. I think this is the best book in the series so far. I’m listening to James Marsters narrate the excellent audio version.


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KAT HOOPER is a professor at the University of North Florida where she teaches neuroscience, psychology, and research methods courses. She occasionally gets paid to review scientific textbooks, but reviewing speculative fiction is much more fun. Kat lives with her husband and their children in Jacksonville Florida.

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9 comments

  1. I enjoyed Marsters, though I only listened to one audio book read by him (Storm Front). My current favorites, however, are Grover Gardner and Luke Daniels.

  2. Almost all the Dresden books are outstanding; I have the complete set in print and also in the Marsters audio version, which is generally pretty good and getting better all the time. Though the director does sometimes mess up — like letting through GI as gee or ghee rather than recognising it as a term for a member of the General Infantry. And I didn’t bother to get the volume read by A. N. Other, when Penguin apparently thought it didn’t matter who voiced them. I note they went back to Marsters for the volume thereafter. :D

    • Tizz, I think these narrator interruptions happen when they can’t make a deal with the original narrator in time. It is likely that Marsters had other commitments and couldn’t get the book done in time for the release date. I’ve heard of this happening before, and I think it may have been this series that I heard it about.

  3. I really need to give this series a try.

  4. Brad Hawley /

    This series just moved up in my list of reading priorities thanks to your review, Kat. Thank you for addressing in your column both fans and potential new readers of the series (me!). My curiosity keeps increasing, and this review, along with your mentioning Marsters, will lead me to start reading or, more likely, listening soon.

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