Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…
Book: Proven Guilty
Author: Jim Butcher
Narrator: James Marsters
Audio Speed: 1.25x
Series: Dresden Files #8
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Mystery
After taking a break from the Dresden Files for a few months, listening to Proven Guilty was just what I wanted and needed from this dark urban fantasy series. The war between the Red Court and White Council isn’t going well, meanwhile the Merlin wants to find a way to remove Harry from the Council, permanently. Harry’s mentor, Ebenezer, tips off Harry that the Winter Court (fae) have not joined the war after the Red Court used their lands without permission and that there is a traitor in the Council. So Harry embarks on a secret, multi-faceted mission, where not only is his own life in danger, but that of his dear friend Michael’s daughter, Molly.
While Proven Guilty continues the somber storytelling that dominates this series, I found it had a much better balance of light and dark with respect to Dreden’s mental and emotional wellbeing. There is no denying he lives in a dangerous world with the cards stacked against him, but he does have many friends, and Dresden is finally turning to them. I’ll admit that I held my breath while reading most of the first half, waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop right on top of Dresden’s head, Mr. Butcher was able to keep things from going too far, and brought Dresden back from the depths before he hit bottom. But with that said, there were a couple spots I was ready to give up, only to be drawn back in by the excellent storytelling.
At the core of Proven Guilty, there is a mystery, and Dresden is back doing what he does best: piecing clues together to uncover the truth. As he does so, he discovers that the overall picture is much bigger than he initially expected, with an unknown threat that could be the ultimate foe. This journey allows Dresden to expunge some of the guilty he’s been carrying around for the past year or so, as well as strengthen friendships and alliances he’ll need to stay on “right” side of that fine line between dark and light. While we see Dresden work through his relationships with a few key characters, it is his heart-to-hearts with longtime colleague and friend, Karen, that gave me all the feels and even had me tearing up. Much happens in this one, and it feels like a huge turning point for Harry and his world.
Per usual, James Marsters does an amazing job bringing Dresden and the story to life. Listeners are treated to his deep, rich, soothing voice that embodies all that is Dresden: his worries, triumphs, fears, and celebrations. His cadence is extremely fitting, full of sighs and pauses, creating the illusion that I’m actually inside Dresden’s mind as he works his way through the case and life.
Overall, I immensely enjoyed listening to Proven Guilty. Without giving spoilers, I am very happy with the way this one wrapped up and what it could mean for the future of the series. The story is a wonderful mystery, with pieces coming together slowly yet logically. The book is an excellent balance of action, mystery, and personal growth, which has me looking forward to listening to more is this wonderful series.
My Rating: A-