Review: Grave Peril (Dresden Files #3) by Jim Butcher

Rating: 9/10


Harry Dresden has faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you’re the only professional wizard in the Chicago-area phone book.

But in all Harry’s years of supernatural sleuthing, he’s never faced anything like this: The spirit world has gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble – and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone – or something – is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn’t figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.


“We have now left Reason and Sanity Junction. Next stop, Looneyville.”

I have been loving reading my way through the Dresden Files and Grave Peril was no exception. I now understand why many people say that you need to wait until at least book 3 to see what The Dresden Files can be. The first two books felt almost like prequel standalones, whereas Grave Peril felt like the 1st book in a story that is so much bigger than your typical urban fantasy.

Grave Peril introduces more worldbuilding into the narrative that gives us a peek into a wider world. We learn a lot more about the vampire courts especially and the differences between the White and Red Courts. I really enjoyed that part of the story as I felt that although I really enjoyed the first two, I needed more than just a serial detective series to stay invested. We also get more hints and clues about the White Council and various other factions within this world.

“The married thing. Sometimes I look at it and feel like someone from a Dickens novel, standing outside in the cold and staring in at Christmas dinner. Relationships hadn’t ever really worked for me. I think it’s had something to do with all the demons, ghosts, and human sacrifice.”

Harry Dresden continues to manage a great balance between being hilariously snarky yet complex and layered. I think Harry is a really compelling character and his continued growth through this book was really great to see as he struggles with relationships both professional and personal. If you’re looking for what makes the Dresden files so great, you can start with Harry Dresden himself.

I also really enjoyed how Jim Butcher continues to slowly and methodically add to the understanding of the magic system. The magic in this is so vast and there are so many different varieties to it. There are laws that govern each interaction that keeps the human world and the Nevernever from devolving into chaos. The magic in this series really lends itself well to battle and as we learn more about it and the world the stakes continue to rise.

The magical mayhem, inappropriately timed jokes, and witty banter were all still there from the previous books and made this a book that I really enjoyed and devoured in only a few days.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

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