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Grave Peril

The Dresden Files, Book 3
Narrated by: James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 3
Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,668 ratings)

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Summary

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden has had a rough couple of weeks. As the only openly practicing professional wizard in the Chicago area, he has squared off against a multitude of supernatural bad guys. Harry has won the day against demons, poltergeists, sorcerers, trolls, vampires, werewolves, and even an evil faerie godmother. You might think nothing could spook him. You would be wrong.

Something is stirring up angry apparitions all over town. Something that can break all the laws of supernatural physics. Something that doesnt like Harry. His closest friends are being targeted. The net is closing in. Harry must find a solution soon or find this is one Nightmare from which he will never waken.

©2001 Jim Butcher (P)2004 Buzzy Multimedia

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M
  • 02-01-15

Never a dull moment!

I wasn't much impressed with Storm Front (book 1) and had originally given up on the Dresden Files after a disappointing first dose. However, being a bit stumped as to what to listen to I decided to try again. Reading a previous reviewer advising that skipping book two was okay I launched into Book 3 instead. Thanks to that review, I am now hooked on Harry Dresden... and yes, if you're a newbie - Book 1 is essential (although not that great a book), so you have a grounding in the characters but as I found skipping book 2 didn't put me at a disadvantage story-wise at all. Book 3's story does run straight into 4, so don't skip that one as you will be a bit lost.

Grave Peril is a great mix of detective noir, the supernatural (werewolves, vampires) in a magic mix (witches, fairies and monsters). The detective genre, action and it's setting in a modern day grounds it for me (otherwise, I don't think I could stomach the "tinkerbell" pizza-crazied fairies). This is pulp fiction and should be enjoyed as such. It's a fun, light, action-packed and pacey page-turner with a sprinkling of knowing humor. Don't expect a literary masterpiece, but treat it like an entertaining, fun roller-coaster ride and when it's over you'll find yourself instantly missing it and wanting another ride.

I really enjoyed this and have already bought tickets for my next few Harry Dresden misadventures.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An EXCELLENT audiobook

If you are reading this review, I assume that you have read/listened to the first two books in the Dresden files series (if not, you are well advised to do so as the books are linked and you wont get so much from them if not read in order).

\"Grave Peril\" is where the series really takes off (as Jim Butcher acknowledges in a brief intro to the audiobook). It is a darker, more complex tale with a storyline that simply hurtles along building to a terrific climax. The character, fantasy and back-plot development are very cleverly done, and the balance between the urban reality, as it were, and the fantasy is very well judged - an excellent story.

James Marsters brings it all superbly to life with another terrific piece of narration.

A five star listen if ever there was one - strongly recommended.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bigger and Badder

It is official, I am now hooked

Story – 5/5

Just as I was told by friends, this is where the story becomes a lot more epic. Jim Butcher has taken this from a detective story into all out battles, politics and plots between different factions in the supernatural world – vampires being the most prominent in this book. This goes to show that epic and urban fantasy sub genres can indeed be mutually exclusive.

There is a huge amount of exciting action with fear, humour, and intrigue throughout. I think Butcher does an excellent job in making us worry for the main cast, especially given that first person narratives tend to trivialise danger. This, in my eyes, makes him a masterful author.

Each of the existing characters develop nicely again, with some more characters adding to the fray (also very likeable). Jim Butcher’s characterisation is also amongst the best I have come across.

If you have read books 1 and 2, and you are not sure whether to continue, give it until the end of book 3 first.

Performance – 5/5

James Marsters is an absolute star, his addition to the Dresden audio-books is perfection, as he reflects the character superbly, and he develops the story, and the rest of the main characters very nicely throughout the series. A lot of other reviews say “James Marsters IS Dresden”, and after 2 audio-books, I have to agree. His voice acting is distinctive and he portrays Dresden’s mood and the pace of the story extremely well.

Not many narrators get 5/5, but James Marsters definitely makes the cut.

On a side note, to those who aren’t aware, James Marsters is the guy that played Spike in Buffy the Vampire slayer according to a colleague of mine. Just in case you are a particular fan…

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Clear your diary - not one for turning off

My problem was I kept trying to listen to this audiobook in short chunks. It REALLY doesn't lend itself to a casual listen.

This is great noir detective fiction - complicated plot lines crossing over and re-crossing over as more information gets revealed; final dénouements that end up being not that final at all; great magical battles when you think that this time, Harry really, surely has had it after all ... hasn't he?? BUT, the drawback there is you do need to be able to put the listening time in. I kept just wanting to leave it on for another 5 minutes, then another 5, then another .. stuff just kept happening.

In the end I was "saved" by a 4 hr train ride to see my sister - 4 hrs each way that is. Which was fantastic! I finally had time to plug my ears in and listen to the whole thing in pretty much one go. If you're looking for a book you can just put on in the background and listen too with half an ear, this is not it. Too exciting. Too many plot twists. Needs to be given the attention it deserves.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

I am going to be bias, as I am a huge fan of Jim Butcher.
James Marsters really brings the character to life and makes the book and story alive.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best yet...

There should be a sixth star for mr marsters. Superb book, sublimely read. Loved every second of it.
Butcher's books were superb when I first read and re-read them, this recording further enhances it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Entertaining but Exhausting

I am new to the Dresden Files so I haven't listened to the rest of the series yet.
I enjoyed the story, but I found the book a bit exhausting. It's like watching an action film that is non stop action for hours and hours. I think I needed just a little more 'down time' (for want of a better phrase) where we get to know the characters a little better. I am no writer but the 'down time' in stories helps build up to the exciting action scenes.
Good Narration and I will definitely listen to the next book before I give up on this series.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dresden series getting into its stride

Books 1 & 2 were highly enjoyable but patchy, book 3 feels as if Jim Butcher had got into his stride, cracked along at a good pace, aided by the ever wonderful James Marsters narration. Not as good as Rivers of London but a good substitute during hiatuses between books. Shame it seems the series hasn't been added to for years?

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

I just wanted to echo everything Tom said above (excellent review). I'm new to the whole Harry Dresden saga - I've now read three of them and have loved every single minute of each of them - i cannot wait to send more of my monthly credits on hearing the next book.

Harry is a great wizard and the supernatural elements he deal with are fantastically portrayed. Harry is always trying to do the right thing and he's a great man despite all the wierd and wonderful things he has to do and the sacrifices he has to make.

BRILLIANT - get it - but I do agree - read it in order.

Nicolina

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The best so far

The audio on this book is far superior to the previous 2. As much as I enjoyed the first two books the audio was not great.
The narration is great and the story kerps you wanting to listen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lakejewel
  • 22-03-10

Spike makes good

As I listened to this audiobook, I couldn't help but picture the character James Marsters played in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". He brought the characters to life without doing obnoxious falsetto voices for the female characters as so many other readers do. I have read all the Dresden books in print thus far, and while I enjoyed reading this book at the time, I felt much more "in" the story while listening to this production. I listened to "Storm Front" before this one, and the reading of this audiobook is much more enjoyable than "Storm Front" because of Marsters' enthusiastic performance. The timing is great, the characters are distinguishable without being obnoxious and there is just enough acting to make it really exciting. I'll concede that there were some mispronounciations but not enough to really detract from the story. I listen to lots of audiobooks and this one I will recommend to everyone!

57 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • green ice cream garden
  • 17-12-15

So confused, so much brooding

It feels like there is a book missing between 2 and 3. It took time to make the puzzle fit, and by that time the story was too complicated to make further connections and solve any mysteries. I didn't like the lack of Murphy. I don't enjoy that Harry blames himself for everything and broods eternally in this book - not out of character for him, but get over it! His girlfriend is beyond annoying. Harry, it's her fault too! She took her chances. I'm almost done now with book 4, and that one is better, which means I'll continue binging this series.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Garrie
  • 11-10-15

I was lied too, bad mouth noises (speed 1.5x)

What did you like best about Grave Peril? What did you like least?

The story only seamed so-so compared to the previous books. I felt like characters just popped up and a previous character I really liked was just missing from this book, which was unfortunate.

Has Grave Peril turned you off from other books in this genre?

Grave Peril has not turned me off to books in the genre as I greatly enjoy similar type stories, and if I had the time/ability to read the print (paper/eBook) versions I might have enjoyed this story (and the series as a whole) significantly more.

Would you be willing to try another one of James Marsters’s performances?

I have listen to other things on Audible narrated by James Marsters's (e.g. his performance in "The Importance of Being Earnest") but this series of books is so horribly done by him that I get physically angry (scratch your nails on that chalk board one more time and you'll lose some fingers, type angry) at the thought of enduring his poor performance again.

Could you see Grave Peril being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I think this story has been done too many times before in movies/tv shows, unfortunately for it to bring a significantly new and unique experience to the telling.

Any additional comments?

As the headline says, I felt lied too. I talked to many people who love these books (i.e. at cons - Butcher was at the last one I attended doing a signing, in my circle of friends, on first dates these books have come up in conversation) and I expressed my issues with the performance in books 1 and 2 and almost unanimously they said, "oh, Marsters gets better." Lies I say, LIES! Granted they might mean he is better by book 13 (at the time of this writing, 15.5 has come out).

I scoured the reviews of this book looking for the tail-tail reviews about the mouth noises and if they were bearable or not and there were significantly fewer which made me think maybe he was getting better. After listening to the book, I think that the number of reviews reporting this issue was significantly because the people that are/were offended by the slurping mouth noises didn't purchase this book and had given up on the audiobook version of this series or the series in general (as I had).

I ran across one review that suggested dialing up the listen speed to 1.25x to lessen such noises. Personally I dialed the speed up to 1.5x and it worked, well enough, but they were still there and there were still way too many of them; luckily they passed by fast enough it was not nearly as infuriating as before. There are a great many reviews that highly praise Marsters's performance suggested to me that just maybe Marsters and the few reviews that did criticize the performance might been being too picky. Having listened to the book myself I have wonder if people praising the performance had actually listened to it before they wrote their reviews.

Sound engineers/directors everywhere, lets do the math:
When your performer (in this cases Marsters) makes mouth noises in their performance you are limiting your audience and good will (willingness to push your product on their friends) from that audience to the people who can tolerate those horrible sounds. With the mouth noises removed your audience and good will increases the number people who will tolerate it (but wouldn't even notice if it's missing) by the amount of people that would be offended by said noises (i.e. something + something more is greater than something + 0 and much greater than something + negative feels about it). Granted you can't make everyone happy, but in this case by forcing your performer to do less slobbering the audience that enjoys the performance it will only increase because no one will know that those sounds could have (definitely should NOT have) been there.

Conclusion:
I thought I was done with the series after book 2 because of the poor performance and I should have stayed done because this book didn't grab me in any meaningful way (not the story, not the performance) to keep me interested in the series. My only interest in the series now lies in my friends that have listen to these and the Iron Druid Chronicles that want me to catch up in this series so we can talk comparatively about the two main characters (Atticus vs Harry - that's one heck of a debate/battle, I personally think they would get along with each other just fine). If I can summon up the will to try the next book in the series, I think I will have to go with 2x playback speed.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Williams
  • 10-07-10

Dresden just keeps getting better

I've read the first two Dresden novels - which were good. But this one really kicks things into high gear. There's much more character development than previously. I didn't find myself frustrated with Dresden as much for walking idiotically into impossible situations and taking responsibility for everyone's problems. The reader, Mr. Marsters, is much more polished here than in previous outings, where he seemed to be sighing between every sentence. He continues to need editing...I was constantly catching him mispronouncing words (e.g. he would say "ruins" when he meant "runes"; or "retched" when he meant "wretched.") Otherwise, he is a good reader, and I hear than in future books, he improves quite a bit. Looking forward to Book 4.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JoR
  • 05-03-11

Meh...

Funny, but too contrived. There was always something else happening that the main character just didn't see coming. It was as if the author had ideas for five plots and tried to cram them all into one book. Thanks for the laughs, but I don't think I'll come back for seconds.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Devan L.
  • 30-03-19

Entertaining and Frustrating

The alternate characters are good though somewhat hollow and underdeveloped. The overuse of drawn out dramatic irony is frustrating and the use of “reaching deeper than I ever have before” gets tiresome. The story is sometimes predictable giving a feeling of obvious conclusion to what should be a fantastic set of circumstances. Despite these superficial problems the story is entertaining with a pleasant twist to the swords and wizardry genre.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-09-18

Narrator can't read

How hard would it have been to actually figure out how to pronounce words correctly? The guy says "heighth," that's all you need to know.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • tanner
  • 08-09-17

found wanting

I love the adult type aspect. idk though I am not very excited about book 4 so i might find a new series and stop here. I feel like there are alot of holes and aspects about the magic that seem a bit weak and thought up last minute to cover some tracks or some discrepancy coming up. I like Harrys personality he's light and really fun.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Per
  • 05-01-17

Don't believe the hype

Any additional comments?

Having heard about the Dresden files for a long time, I made the plunge and listened to Storm Front. The book was a pleasant surprise - witty, clever and with an interesting premise (urban fantasy). Perfect light entertainment. Finished quickly and immediately went for Fool Moon.

The book was awful - forced and contrived, and almost no story - trying to cover it up with gory action and juvenile romance. Despite this, I forced myself to finish as the first book was so good, but it never picked up. If it had been a stand-alone title I would never have bothered to finish.

Hoping the second book had been a dud, I tried the third - and again, fell flat on my face. While having more story than the first, Grave Peril kept the same forced and contrived style as Fool Moon and loaded up heavy on lurid romance. Having forged ahead to the half-way mark, I could take it no longer, conducted some research to try and find out if the series would ever picked up the pace and concluded that no, it would not.

The series is mentioned a lot of places, but I find it hard to understand why. Don't believe the hype. Read the first book and walk away.

The only bright spot is that the reader is pretty good, and is perfect fit for the kind of story the book -tries- to tell. Oh, and Audible's Great Listen Guarantee. Storm Front will stay, the rest will be returned.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • bebe
  • 07-07-16

Becoming too formulaic

Any additional comments?

I like Harry and his friends. I love James Marsters as performer. I love Jim Butcher as a writer; however, I am getting bored with the Dresden Files series. Each book is exactly the same formula as the last. Harry goes from brilliant world class wizard to a stupid screw up and back again up from minute to minute. I am tired of Harry's all of a sudden understanding of the situation at the last critical second. It is just too frustrating. Also, I have a difficult time keeping up with what in the world is going on.These books are no longer exciting and in fact have become tedious. I do not plan to continue with the series.

2 people found this helpful