Top critical review
A duel, a battle and a holy relic...all in a day's work!
on January 26, 2004
Harry Dresden's latest adventure builds upon the previous for books in Jim Butcher's series about Chicago's only practicing wizard.
In Death Masks, Harry must duel the vampire Ortega, find the missing Shroud of Turin, battle against foes both supernatural and mortal, and deal with the return of his girlfriend Susan. The fact that she's now a half-vampire and part of a secret Brotherhood makes things complicated. Butcher introduces some new nasties in the Denarians, associates of the Fallen, who gain power and corruption by possessing the thirty coins of Judas. The main thrust of the story is the search for the stolen Shroud of Turin, and trying to figure out the purpose of its theft. Butcher also throws in Gentleman John Marcone, Chicago's crime boss for good measure. Luckily Harry has help from the Holy Knights and his friend, Michael Carpenter, plus Susan with her newly suped up powers.
The story is well-paced, the action well-orchestrated, and the threads of the plot are laced together deftly. Butcher obviously takes time to piece together his stories, drawing on twists of religious history and the occult, and building on events from the previous books. Harry's world is increasingly complex, and he continues to grow as a character. I like the storyline remains interesting, and the author is having fun creating this universe.
I still find it tough to swallow when Harry always seems to be at the center of all things, as if the entire supernatural world revolves around him. Why do all of these creatures seek him out? Where the heck are all of the other wizards all of the time? There was an interesting moment toward the end with Marcone as less than adversary, but Harry seems to try to irritate people.
Finally, I didn't get a feeling of resolution with very many of the plot points. This was just a bridge to the next story in the series. But hey, I'm still hooked.