Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dresden Files 08: Proven Guilty

Rating: 5
Year: 2006
Genre: Fantasy
Read again? Yes

Harry attends the execution of a kid caught practicing black magic. Kid or not, any violation of the Laws of Magic can get you killed unless you have friends on the White Council like Dresden did: he was a sword's length from death after his own self-defense killing of his evil master.

This kid didn't have friends.

Harry's own protector, his replacement teacher & father figure Ebenezar McCoy, asks him to look into an increase in black magic activity around Chicago. Nearly 200 wizards--mostly the grey-cloaked Wardens--and some 45 thousand noncombatants--men, women and children--have been killed in the ongoing war against the vampires. Their massive onslaught was timed to take advantage of recent attempts by three Necromancers to raise a zombie army.

Harry quickly finds more trouble: the eldest daughter of his evil-fighting friend Michael Carpenter practically falls into Harry's lap when she calls him begging for help. Molly's boyfriend has been arrested for attacking an old man in a restroom.

Dresden rescues the girl, bails the boyfriend out, and in short order finds himself at "SplatterCon!!!" (a horror movie convention). The threads of black magic are still all over the restroom where the attack took place. The old man was beaten severely and gleefully--but not by the kid.

Then the lights go out and the screaming starts!

Butcher keeps delivering good, fast-paced storytelling. The book's title is the first that doesn't pun on the theme of the story ("Fool Moon" had werewolves, "Dead Beat" had zombies, etc.). "Proven Guilty" reminds us of the execution of the opening scene (which troubles Dresden throughout the story) and could easily be applied to another kid caught practicing black magic: Molly Carpenter.

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