Blood Rites by Jim Butcher – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews the sixth Dresden Files novel, Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher, published by Orbit Books in the UK, an imprint of Little Brown Publishers.

“Typical Dresden, Butcher does it again with style. Action packed, fast paced, as well as expanding on the background of the Dresden Files series.” ~The Founding Fields

Warning! Because we are this far into the series, I strongly recommend that you read all of the previous Dresden Files novels before reading Blood Rites. It makes sense really, as this is one of those series where you won’t understand what’s going on unless you read the previous books.  

Blood Rites is the sixth novel in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and it is the first Dresden Files novel that left me feeling a bit let down by it. Sure, this is partly because it came after the fantastic Death Masks, and maybe because I’ve been reading loads of other stuff that isn’t urban fantasy recently, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I probably should have. But that’s not saying that Blood Rites is a bad book, though.

Blood Rites, much like several other novels in the Dresden Files, is a novel that focuses on a particular character, beefing up their backstory and developing them more. In Grave Peril, it was Michael, and now – in Blood Rites, its Thomas’s turn to take the stage, a White Court Vampire, and one who is the least favoured child of the White King.

The novel beings with action, and the thrilling first line of, “The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault,” used to hook the readers in and keep them reading, as they want to know why the building wasn’t on fire, and who set it alight and why. And of course, what building. The plot then continues, and Harry Dresden soon finds himself working on the set of an adult film, which shouldn’t really be that much of a problem – after all, he’s had worse assignments, for example – Dodging flaming monkey Poo, or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. However, there’s something more troubling about this case than usual. The film producer believes that he’s the target of a sinister curse. But, it’s the women around him that are being affected, and are dying in increasingly more bizarre ways.

As well as returning to flesh out Thomas’ background, and to an extent, Harry’s, we are reintroduced to the badass mercenary, Jared Kincaid, the Archive’s bodyguard and driver, who provides some amusing banter between him, Harry and Murphy, who is, as expected, back to kick some ass in this novel.

Much like the previous Dresden Files novels, Blood Rites is fast paced, contains some amusing dialogue that makes Dresden even more likable and easy to root for as a character.

Blood Rites is, as expected from the title, a vampire-themed novel, with the main bad guys being the blood-suckers that have been at the core of most Dresden novels. They’re a recurring enemy with the most fleshed-out backstory, and it’s rare that we see a Dresden Files novel without at least one vampire.

The action in Blood Rites is well written, varied and fast paced with enough to keep the reader hooked. Although there are quite a lot of clichés in this novel, with the ‘shocking revelation’ one, but if you’re a Dresden fan, you’ll still be reading this by the end of the novel and eagerly awaiting the next instalment, Dead Beat. Heck, I will be looking forward to reading that one as well.

The characters continue to be well-developed, and despite the fact that if you’re catching up on this series, it’s clear that Dresden will survive because there are several more books to come, you’ll keep turning the pages.

Another issue that I felt let Blood Rites down a bit was when Dresden was doing and saying things that didn’t make sense, really – that help make this character a bit more unbelievable as a real person. Sure, I know he’s not meant actually real, that’s the whole point of fiction, but one of Harry’s flaws is that he has a lot of simplistic dialogue used that is often riddled with clichés.

Verdict: 3/5

More Dresden Files: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favour, Turn Coat, Changes, Ghost Story, Cold Days (Coming Soon), Side Jobs (Dresden Files Short Story Collection)

Bane of Kings is one our most senior book reviewers here at The Founding Fields, based in England. He’s a prolific reviewer that has contributed to many things here and around the internet.


The Founding Fields - Blogged