Questions to be answered within Ghost Story: Who killed Harry Dresden? Does Harry remain a ghost? What happens to Chicago with Harry dead? What happens to the world with the Red Court gone? Do Dresden’s friends handle his death? Who do we meet in Ghost Story? Who do we not see in Ghost Story? What does Harry need to learn? What can he not do?
As you can see there are many question that get answered within Ghost Story. The story is not just about these answers it’s also about the story itself. The journey going on within the story is not like any other Dresden story thus far. So take a ride with me and find out what you’ll find within the pages without learning anything to spoil the story within. 😉
As we know from Changes Harry has been shot and falls into the lake. He sees a bright light and hears the sound of a train. He’s dead; at least he thinks he is.
Ghost Story opens with Dresden standing on a set of train tracks with a speeding train barreling at him. He’s rescued by Sgt. Carmichael, an old colleague and former IS detective with Karen Murphy. Carmichael was Murphy’s partner, if you recall until he died during the loup-garou attack at the station during Fool Moon. In this other place, that Dresden soon learns is the in between Chicago, Carmichael takes him to his police headquarters so he can get the answers he needs. Answers which Carmichael cannot give him, and as we know Dresden always wants answers. And he’s not happy when he doesn’t get them. In Ghost Story Dresden isn’t happy a lot when it comes to getting answers.
And if you thought Changes was a dark chapter in Harry’s life Ghost Story is even darker. We see the Heaven and Hell side of Chicago when Harry is not alive to clean up the streets. You never know who might by lurking around the corners.
Dresden’s ghost has a mission to preform and if he fails it will endanger three of his friends, which three we don’t know. His mission is to figure out who murdered him. However Harry takes his mission without learning all the facts about what could happen to him if he should fail. Captain Murphy, that’s right Murphy as in Karen Murphy’s father, heads up police headquarters in the in between and is who tricks Dresden into taking the mission without all the information he needs. Once Dresden is committed to the mission Captain Murphy takes Dresden to the one man that will be able to help him in the mortal world, Mortimer Lindquist, ectomancer. Now here’s where things get a little dicey, Mortimer and Harry as you know have a love hate relationship and Harry is returning six months after his death. But the question is does Dresden go on this mission with all the knowledge that he needs to make good informed decisions. Not exactly, Harry doesn’t know half of what he needs to too make the right decision. Thankfully things work out for Harry or at least they somewhat work out.
This is one book where Harry can’t rely on magic. In fact for the majority of Ghost Story Harry is unable to use his magic an when he finally learns to use it; it’s like learning for scratch. Because of this we get to see Dresden raw, what I mean by that is that we learn about Dresden’s emotions and what powers his magic. Ghost Story has many aspects to it but the main issue is Dresden’s journey, he is learning about himself and his place in the world, with his friends, and the hereafter. It’s as if learning that he was a parent changed him and he now knows he has to grow up, think about his actions and do things because of Maggie, therefore he has to relearn his place in the world and where his magic comes from. How to bring it forth and how to control it, both of which Dresden seemed to have forgotten over the years as he defeated villain after villain.
On the flip side we also learn what the world would be like without Harry Dresden keeping Chicago’s streets clean of the big nasties. Chicago is not pretty without Dresden not that it was pretty with Dresden but it’s a Hell of a lot prettier with him alive protecting it. He’s friends are healthier/saner when he’s alive too if that makes any sense. Yea it’s good to know that the insane wizard makes everyone else sane, go figure. Dresden’s friends seemed lost without him which seems to say something about his friends and what he meant to them.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering how Ghost Story fairs since it has been getting mixed reviews. I don’t think it’s the best in the series and I don’t think it’s the worst. It is a book that was needed for Dresden’s growth, as a wizard and parent. He learned that he can’t always do things with guns blazing and that is something Dresden has always done in the past. It’s also a story where his friends had to learn that they couldn’t depend on Harry or his magic for everything. That he may not always be there to save the day, some of them may have a harder time understanding that than others will.