Deat Beat

The corpse sat up, opened milk-white eyes, and focused on me. It lifted a hand, in which it held a white lily, and held it towards me. Then the corpse spoke in a voice that was all rasp and whisper. "Wizard Dresden. A flower for your grave."


This is book seven in a series, and reading further on this page without having read the previous books might spoil some of your fun.

The story:

Dresden just got a new job. To find the Word of Kemmler. That is all he is told, and the reward is not having someone ruin the life of someone he cares about.

Add to that his new housemates; aside from Mister, the cat, he now also has Mouse, the dog, and his half-brother Thomas living with him. Especially his half-brother is not making his life easy.

But the Word of Kemmler is dangerous, and it is being sought by very dangerous people.

About the book:

I think it should have been Erlkönig, rather than Erlking. Erlking is the English version that is sometimes used for Erlkönig, but with a German title, it should not have been Erlking. Also, Lied is a neuter noun, so it should be 'das' rather than 'die', which is feminine. Also, 'König' means 'king' and is a masculine noun, and so should have 'der' as particle, however, being genetive, it should be 'des' and with a genetive -s at the end (given that my admittedly rusty German knowledge is correctly remembered). Hence 'das Lied des Erlkönigs'.

When authors use other languages, it bothers me when they get it wrong. For at least some languages, it should be very easy to take the time to get it right; ask someone who speaks that language. Getting someone to translate a phrase for you should not be too hard. And if all else fails, it should be possible to contact someone who teaches the language and ask. While it might not be true for the more obscure languages, it should be no problem finding someone fluent enough in German (or, say, French) who can help with the translation. Getting it wrong just makes me think the author is sloppy, and I start wondering if he or she is sloppy in other research as well.

It is not a bad book, though. In fact, I think it is one of the better so far. There are a couple of interesting characters here, such as Sheila and Kumori. And Butters. I think I like Butters. Granted, I still have an issue with Dresden's rather old-fashioned view of women. It is insulting, but I can live with that.

Another issue I have with Dresden, is that blindness of his; he is still angry with Ebenezar for keeping secrets, while he still keeps secrets from his friends himself, either trying to protect them, or because he assumes they cannot understand. Talk about hypocrisy.

Still, I enjoyed the book, and things are getting a bit more nuanced than they have been in previous books. I consider it decent to fair, though Butcher still lacks the ability to grab hold of my emotions with his writing.

About the author Jim Butcher

Book 1: Storm Front (2000)
Book 2: Fool Moon (2001)
Book 3: Grave Peril (2001)
Book 4: Summer Knight (2002)
Book 5: Death Masks (2003)
Book 6: Blood Rites (2004)
Book 7: Dead Beat (2005)
Book 8: Proven Guilty (2006)
Book 9: White Night (2007)
Book 10: Small Favor (2008)
Book 11: Turn Coat (2009)
Book 12: Changes (2010)
Book 13: Ghost Story (2011)
Book 14: Cold Days (2012)
Book 15: Skin Game (2014)

Back to D
Back to title index