In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden's half brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling's name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too.
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First, an update, since no one who left a review complaining of it has done so: The audio file is intact, not corrupt and contains the full contents of the book. I will assume either there was a download problem, or an issue with the hosted file that has since been corrected.
James Marsters has quickly become my favorite Audible narrator. He nimbly performs a wide cast of characters with many distinct voices, many of which are magical, evil or demons - I wonder how many throat lozenges he goes through a book. This is no dry reading, but a one-man show - mostly spent as Harry Dresden the droll, wise-cracking and sympathetic hero.
The pop culture references sometimes get laid on a little thickly, but they serve to ground Harry in the world as we know it, while he moves equally easily through the fantasy around him.
He is a magical Everyman in a world of intrigue among the heavy hitters of the supernatural world. He is increasingly distrustful of his fellow Wizards, targeted by ticked off vampires, training his new apprentice, worried about his brother the White Court vampire's secretive behavior, while he tries to track down the murderer staging the suicides of local women.
Did I mention the fallen angel in his head trying to corrupt him?
I love these books - There is both lighthearted humor, and darker drama - the characters are never just 'one thing' they all develop into multifaceted personalities and their relationships with Harry keep every book interesting.
With every book Harry seems to pick up a new friend to add to the close knit crew who follow from book to book and add to the depth of the underlying story in the series.
There is just something exceptional and magnificent about White Night. Harry Dresden is an Urban Wizard who meets fantastic creatures and has the most mind-blowing adventures that anyone can have in modern (the sci-fi/fantasy version) Chicago.
Harry’s story unfolds in the first-person and usually encompasses an epic grandeur in its scale. White Night is no different. He is a complicated character with many layers to his personality. When you encounter him in White Night you find that you want to find out exactly who he is. There is always something new to learn or experience about him. You know that he is a good person but finding out the many layers of “who” he is becomes more complicated. He is generally for the underdog, the down trodden, and of course there is a soft spot, (or achilles heel), for all women. In White Night we also encounter more of the love he has for his half demon brother, Thomas Raith, and the love his half demon brother has for him. We first met Thomas Raith in Grave Peril, even though we did not yet know that he was related to Harry. The story of Harry and Thomas is captivating. Harry has felt a special kind of loneliness believing himself to have no family until Thomas reveals their shared heritage in Blood Rites. Their story continues here. The fact that they both struggle to know each other and love each other adds a depth to each of their characters that enthralls the reader. It also gives a breadth and depth to both Harry and Thomas that we have not seen previously. It raises the questions in our own lives, if Harry can love his half-demon brother, Thomas, can we not expand our own capacity for love in our own existences.
One of the most entrancing scenes is where Harry almost drowns after being attacked by ghouls on Thomas’ boat, the Water Beetle. His brother, Thomas, dives into the icy water without hesitation, after the ice breaks due to rampaging ghouls and gun fire, (Harry has made it icy with magic to save the women and children who Thomas had gathered to keep safe from the “culling”), and gets him out of the lake and carries him to safety. Harry awakens just for a few moments and knows that he is “safe“ because Thomas “has him.” One sighs in relief along with Harry after experiencing this scene.In the entanglement between Harry and Thomas, we see shades of Wuthering Heights, both Harry and Thomas mirror the best and the conflicted in each other and in us.
The new characters introduced are interesting but they are not as fascinating as witnessing the further character development of old friends like Karrin Murphy, Mouse, Thomas Raith, Carlos Ramirez, Molly Carpenter and Bob (the skull), if you follow this series. We even come to appreciate Mouse more. Mouse is Harry’s adopted Temple Dog with Foo dog ancestry and has special powers who works at looking like a "regular canine." We first met Mouse in Blood Rites. Mouse does a great deal to keep Harry and those around him safe. In White Night Mouse gains a canine admirer, Toto, a small dog who belongs to Abbey, a new and minor character in this novel. This lends comic relief since Toto in, miniature, is always trying to imitate Mouse. The comic relief is beneficial since in White Night there is death all around, treachery, and a dastardly plot to kill off, serially, the unattached female magical practitioners of Chicago and perhaps the world.
Once again, Harry, and company must stand in the breach between good and evil. He must take the fight for the protection, shelter, and security of those in need to the Conclave of the White Court of Vampires. There the cause is won, just barely, in a magical duel to the death.
White Night is fast paced with moments of heart stopping action. It is simply magnificent. The pros are lyrical. If you follow the series, you welcome back Karrin, Molly, Mouse, Ramirez, and Bob like old friends.
James Marsters has grown with the series. In White Night he gives a near flawless performance that continues to breathe life and drama into our most cherished characters. I highly recommend White Night and the series.