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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2020)
Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies above his weight class. The Red Court of vampires. The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius. The Outsiders.

But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous on an order of magnitude beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way.

Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 29, 2020

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About the author

Jim Butcher

283 books46.8k followers
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri.

Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.

All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,831 reviews
243 reviews2 followers
August 14, 2020
Entire review hidden because of spoilers.

I had to think real hard before I gave this a rating. On the one hand, it was one giant action scene, and I'm a sucker for fantasy action scenes. On the other hand, as I get older good action scenes can often highlight the other weaknesses of a story. And boy does this story have weaknesses. Let's go through them:

1. Way, way too much going on. Characters appear and disappear almost at random; major villains from other books pop in to say hi and are never heard from again. This just cheapens prior books and is unnecessary--the scene in Graceland is especially bad this way.

2. The main villain of the book is boring. Essentially she is a kaiju with no personality whatsoever; the Fomor were actually scary, but she is just not interesting, perhaps because she is too powerful. The most interesting villains in the Dresden Files are the human ones, rather than the monsters; Ethniu has no real personality or motivation to speak of beyond "DESTROY EVERYTHING MUAHAHAHAHA".

3. Harry comes out of the book more or less in one piece when she should by all rights be dead or at least grievously injured, requiring much more recovery time. He goes from underpowered in the last few books, the Winter Mantle being nerfed, to ridiculously overpowered in this one, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to win. His power level seems to be whatever Butcher thinks the story requires, rather than what actually makes sense for his character at any given time.

Now we get to the big, gigantic, problems, all having to do with characters:

4. Marcone and Namshiel. This came out of nowhere and absolutely ruins Marcone's character, probably permanently. The whole point of his character is that he is a mortal that has managed to accrue power in the supernatural world by sheer intelligence and grit. If he suddenly has magical powers and is, by all appearances, nearly as powerful a wizard as Dresden, he just become another magical power. I know Butcher probably thought this would be an awesome scene, but I found it extremely disappointing.

5. We finally get an explanation of Nemesis, and it makes even less sense than the concept did in Cold Days. This is another thing that is ruining the series; Butcher already had an extremely compelling arc villain in the Black Counsel and the Outsiders. Nemesis simply complicates things unnecessarily and leads to unanserable questions--how many people can he (yeah, Nemesis is an actual person) possess at one time? If his plan is to shatter the accords, why take this overly convoluted route that ended up totally failing? I could go on and on about thi; it's become my least favorite aspect about the plot of this series.

6. And finally, Murphy's death is, bar none, the worst moment not only of this book but the entire series. She gets randomly killed by a minor character, her death takes up a couple of pages, and lacks any dignity whatsoever. If she had gone out literally pages earlier in the book, it could theoretically have been powerful and sad. But this... this was just appalling. And don't give me the "well, sometimes people die this way in war" nonsense; Butcher is a storyteller, he has choices about how to write these books. To kill off the most important character besides Dresden in such a slipshod, almost random and meaningless fashion, has gotten me the closest I've gotten to swwearing off this series.

After all of that, I almost feel like changing my rating to one star. I'll keep it where it is because the battle scenes really are pretty cool most of the time; since that's almost exclusively what this book contains, it at least succeeds in that. I'm only keeping with the series because Mirror Mirror sounds so interesting and I've been waiting so long for it, but I have very little faith that Butcher can pull it off at this point. For such a slow release, it feels like a rush job that nobody gave him good feedback on.

I thank NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest, regrettably brutal review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Petrik.
669 reviews43k followers
November 14, 2020
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Review copy provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Epic, relentlessly action-packed, full of destruction, Battle Ground has transformed The Dresden Files into an epic urban fantasy.

“I’d never been in an epic mythology fight quite this epic before.”

We know by now that Harry has fought against many deadly villains, but what he encountered here might just be more than what he bargained for. I was worried about this book; this shouldn’t have come as a surprise, right? If you have followed my reviews for this series and you have read this book, you probably have predicted that Battle Ground would end up being one of the weakest books in the series for me. And I won’t lie, the 4 stars and above rating streak for this series almost ended here. I’m quite conflicted because I did enjoy reading the second half of the novel. So damn much. In my opinion, rather than the quality of the book itself, what diminishes the quality of both Peace Talks and Battle Ground was the decision to separate this one tome into two volumes.

“A supernatural legion is coming to murder everyone in the city. Whether Chicago stands or falls, it doesn’t stay the same. It can’t. This is going to be too big, too violent. The mortal world isn’t going to be able to ignore it this time. No matter what happens tonight, the world. Changes. Period.”

Despite the novel being one huge war-filled scenes that lasted for almost 400 pages long, the first half of Battle Ground felt like fillers as Harry and friends dealt with small and inconsequential enemies. Honestly, if the first half of this novel was completely taken out, I think I would’ve loved this book more. This was the same in Peace Talks as well. Instead of dividing this into two volumes, I think there were many scenes in both Peace Talks and Battle Ground that would’ve worked so much better if they were condensed or maybe even cut out. I did binge read Peace Talks and Battle Ground, but this doesn’t change my opinion. If both Peace Talks and Battle Ground followed its original plan of being one big book, I think it would have a very good chance of becoming the best book of the series for me. But oh well, what’s done is done, and thankfully, after the initial 40% of Battle Ground, I was completely enthralled by the remaining content that made this novel one of the most epic urban fantasy novels I’ve ever read.

“War leaves you precious little time to be human. It’s one of the more horrible realities about it.”

I guess the massive-scale events that occurred in Battle Ground has been a long time coming. We knew that the series would continuously become grander and larger in its scope and execution with each new installment, but I certainly didn’t expect it would become THIS gigantic. Battle Ground can be categorized as Butcher’s Avengers: Endgame for the series. Almost every character that has appeared throughout the series made an appearance in this book to fight in the unrelenting chaos of devastating battles. As someone who’s reading The Dresden Files for the first time from the beginning this year, it made me feel like I made the right choice in spreading out my read throughout the entire year. Seeing these characters—both protagonists and antagonists—playing a role in this insanely long epic battle truly exhibited Butcher’s superb talent in writing epic and urban fantasy. No, seriously, there were so many names, and how many pages of battle were in Battle Ground? Almost the entire book. And surprisingly, except for the first 40%, I absolutely loved the emotional and brutal turn of events that the series takes. Without giving spoilers, let me just say that some events that happened in this book would, understandably, piss people off; some would feel cheated by it. I, for one, actually think that the series needed these heartbreaking and epic events to transpire in order for the series to start moving towards its final story arc.

“When a group comes together around something they love,” I said, “it changes things. It changes how they see one another. It becomes a community. Something greater than the sum of its parts.”

Battle Ground is explosive and damn epic; the urban fantasy epicness scale almost rivaled Paternus: War of Gods by Dyrk Ashton. I’m gratified to finally catch up with the series. I’m curious about the number of installments remaining for the series, though. If I’m not mistaken, the original plan for the series was for it to end at the 23rd or 25th installment. Right now, I don’t see the possibility of this happening; the content of this book seems to reflect that the series is nearing its end. Honestly, that line of thought did actually crossed my mind several times when I was reading this book. I totally loved the ending and epilogue of this book. Even though Battle Ground can be said as the next Changes for the series—alliances changed, more power, new enemies appeared, and the events of this book will change the direction of the series—the ending remained immensely satisfying. There’s no cliffhanger here, and whichever direction the series will go next, I will be reading it.

“Nothing you ever do can change the past. Can’t live your life looking backwards or you’ll spend it walking in circles.”

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Profile Image for Amanda Stevens.
Author 8 books336 followers
October 2, 2020
When the news came that Peace Talks was being split into two books because the story was just that epic, it sounded like a great idea. But now I've made it through both books, and. . . Editing should have been the answer. Not two books. Both books contain more filler than is reasonable and more filler than is present in any other book of this series. But that's not why I'm giving Battle Ground two stars.

Where Peace Talks plods with too many scenes of dialogue that lack urgency, Battle Ground runs full-out with battle scene after battle scene that, after a while, also lack urgency due to sheer monotony. Yeah, the titles clue us in to the opposite tones of the two books, but still, each book stalls in its chosen pace, and with tighter revision neither would have (and could have been one pace-balanced, extra-long installment). But that's not why I'm giving Battle Ground two stars.

This book gets two stars for reasons that make me want to give up on the series permanently. Storyworld rule-breaking, deus ex machinations all over the place, insulting and arbitrary dispatch of a primary character, and lack of resolution on the one plot piece that should have been resolved by the end of this book--a piece that now makes no sense to have happened at all other than to give the author one fewer person to keep track of during apocalyptic chaos. Specifics behind the tag.

And one more point of contention: the escape of the New Big Bad. I guess this should be hidden as well.

In disappointed summary, so many elements of this book and the previous don't work. And if Mirror, Mirror is indeed slated as Book #18, how will any of this be dealt with fully as it deserves? Will mourning be put on hold while Harry deals with an alternate universe? Will Thomas be left frozen and alone for another entire book? Maybe I'll read the next book to see if Butcher brings sense and closure to any of the carelessness wreaked here, but maybe I won't.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,820 reviews479 followers
October 1, 2020

My heart is still pounding from all the action!!! One Huge Epic Fight!

Also, my heart is a little broken now. I was expecting what happened but not the way it happened.

Dresden, you have done it again! I can’t help but root for you. You make yourself responsible for everyone and you want to keep everyone safe.

This time Chicago and its people, human and supernatural lives are all at stake. The Fodor and Ethniu, the Titan, are coming to destroy it. The White Council, the White Court, the Summer Court, the Winter court, Marcone with his people, the Knights, the werewolves, and every other group I forget are all taking a truce and battling one enemy together. If not, there won't be a next day for many of them. Apocalypse is in the mirror.

There were so many things l liked about Battle Ground. I want to tell you but then I'm spoiling it for you. Few comments though:

I know Dresden doesn’t care for Marcone but I kinda like him. I like Mab too despite her being utterly terrifying but I can't help but think about what she went through to become what she is now.

I love Waldo and Michael. They have Harry’s back Always. Sanja made me laugh, especially at the end.

Despite Dresden loving Murphy, I still have hope for Dresden and Molly (you're my girl) although I like Lara too.

I do hope this time Jim Butcher doesn’t take six years for the next book. I’m dying to see what happens next. Jim leaves so many clues as to what is to come and it seems Dresden will need 365 days to figure it out.

The adorable Christmas story at the end of the book was perfect. Anything with Mouse, Michael, Molly, Mab, and a little Christmas spirit together, has to be good.

Cliffhanger: No

5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Ace via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,978 followers
September 30, 2020
Words nearly fail me.

Even as I read this book, I was stunned into silence. (You know, one of those deep, inner-monologue silences that radiate deeply inward so much that I could hear a mental pin drop from forty mental yards.)

I knew, from the prior book, that we were preparing for WAR. The outsiders were coming. All supernaturals, gods, Fae, and even normal folk were being called to battle. It is ALL of Chicago on the line.

What I didn't expect was for Jim Butcher to pull an all-out Epic Fantasy battle against a freaking Titan, including massive damage to the city, the allies, or to Harry, himself. You know what came to mind? Butcher's Caldera novels. Huge scope, fantastic action, magic, and glory. Now blend that in with ALL our most beloved characters from the Dresden Files. Put EVERYONE on the field of battle.

I mean, it's only the fabric of reality that's at stake. The stakes aren't THAT high.

And then expect a novel that doesn't let up. At all.

And even when the main battle is done, that inner silence remains.

Let me be honest here: I cried like a little baby during this book. Many times. I was too shocked. Too... well... maybe words do fail me, after all.

Even now, I'm crying as I write this review.
Profile Image for Marie.
135 reviews
October 2, 2020
Sigh. I've been a Harry Dresden fan since the first book, and it takes a heck of a lot to destroy an entire series for me, but Jim Butcher has managed to do just that. Something happens in the middle of this book that just gutted the whole series for me. It was as if all the air and energy went right out of everything, and suddenly I found myself annoyed and tired and bored.

It doesn't help that I don't think overall this was one of Butcher's best books. It is basically a short 5-page recap of Peace Talks, 300+ pages of battle scenes (hence the title), and then the cleanup. But after a while those battle scenes just became repetitive. Sure, each one theoretically had its own little surprise - "Oh, look who just popped up here and did a crazy battle thing" - but in reality, it was the same scene over and over with a slightly different configuration of allies versus enemies. Maybe having to split the book in two meant having to drag these battle scenes out to fill pages. Maybe Butcher is getting stale. Or bored. Maybe if it wasn't 2020, I'd feel differently. Maybe if that event in the middle hadn't happened, I'd feel differently. I finished the book, but even though there are the usual cliff hangers and unexpected twists and what should have been "OMG YOU'RE KIDDING" moments, I found myself shrugging. Meh. Will I read the next book? Maybe, eventually. Will I look forward to it, watch social media for publication dates, pre-order the hardback version, start it as soon as it arrives, finish it in a day? Nah. I'll borrow it from a friend or get the Kindle version if/when it goes on sale, and get around to it when I have a chance.

Profile Image for Anne.
3,922 reviews69.3k followers
May 3, 2021
This was quite literally a non-stop action sequence.
Normally, I'm all about that kind of thing, but I'm just not sure how much I liked it this time around.


This hurts me because I'm usually the first one to yell, Bring on the mindless explosions! So I can't believe I'm saying this, but I prefer it when Butcher takes a breath and writes about his characters a little more.
I just finished the short stories about Bigfoot and I loved it. This? The pacing was just breakneck, and I was exhausted by the time I finished.
I mean, the vast majority of page time is taken up with descriptions of people twisting and leaping while shooting bazookas or throwing spells.
And when I say long, I mean it. Just when you think it's finally over? It's not. There's more.
I'm too invested to stop now, but I'm praying to the gods that Butcher puts an end to this soon.
I feel like it's running out of steam and all that's left of the plot is Harry screaming FORZARE over and over.
Honestly, I'd like to see one of my favorite long-running series go out on a high note.


Ok. And I'm going to say something that is probably kind of controversial, so if you don't feel the same, just know that I respect your opinion and we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Over the years, I've grown to dislike Karen Murphy more and more. She's the equivalent of that squeaky little kid that has to annoyingly insert itself into every conversation with the adults. Stop it, already! Go eat your graham crackers and shut the fuck up.
Anyway, I suddenly realized upon listening to this book that this particular feeling has been growing exponentially with each passing story. Maybe that's because she seems to be getting more and more page time as the years go by? I don't know.


Which brings me to this: I really hate Karen and Harry as a couple.
The complete lack of chemistry between those two made the love scenes in this book almost unbearable to watch with my mind's eye.


What actually made the love scenes unbearable was the fact that he was sloughing the white, wrinkled, wet, and intensely gross dead skin off of her arm before they got busy. <--she sawed the cast off of her arm, in case you've forgotten.


As for me, I'll never forget that particular sex scene, because although it was pretty much fade to black, I can still feel the chunky bile rising in my throat at the thought of how bad her fucking skin would reek after being wrapped in plaster for months. Have you ever smelled that? I have. It's nauseating and I don't want that aroma anywhere near my lady boner.


This next part is a HUGE spoiler for this book, so please don't click on this unless you've read Battle Ground.

Alright, I complained quite a bit, but I do truly have such a soft spot for The Dresden Files. There were a couple of BIG reveals there at the end that made me smile so much. So, for all of my whining, I'll be back for the next installment.
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
540 reviews124 followers
October 12, 2020
Wow. Yeah. All that tension building in Peace Talks really pays off.

I don't think I've ever enjoyed a 400 page battle before. This one is a wild nonstop battle ride, with some harrowing twists. It kept me up late reading.

It's more intensely emotional than Peace Talks in every way, plus some great humor. So I guess brace yourselves, and also get ready to laugh.

(There's a tender short story tacked on at the end that was a really nice touch.)

Until next time, Harry Dresden!
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews235 followers
Currently reading
June 5, 2020
Hey... something to look forward to for this year!!!
Profile Image for Emma.
976 reviews977 followers
October 5, 2020
I stayed up till 1 am to read this epic battle and I don’t regret it at all.

If there's one word to describe this book it's 'change'. Some things have been ticking over in the series for a long while now and at times it's seemed like Jim Butcher wasn't sure which way he wanted to take the story. Or even what he wanted to do with Harry. All that is done. Every single element of the series has been levelled by the events on Battle Ground, the city razed to its foundations, the characters broken down to their most essential parts. From this destruction will come something new, a rebuilding of place and person that wouldn't have been possible without such a thorough clearing of the way.

For my part, I would have liked to have seen Peace Talks and Battle Ground kept together. It would have read more like the epic fantasy that it actually was, with the heavy foreshadowing of the first book building towards the crushing Sanderlanche style devastation of the final battles. Regardless, this is a beginning, not just the ending such battles usually promise, and I'm excited to see what will come of it.

ARC via Netgalley
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,659 reviews1,693 followers
November 12, 2020
I am going to do the opposite of what I did for Peace Talks for this book, which is I’m not going to write hardly anything, and only one thing will be under spoiler tags. If you have read the book, you know what that thing is.

So, bullet points!

• I do not think either of these books was really served well by being split in two. I think they should have been one big book, and maybe cut like 100 pages from both. Maybe more from this one.

• Action scenes have always been my least favorite part of the Dresden Files and this book is mostly action. He does do a pretty good job varying the tone of the story so that it’s not just one big battle, but a large portion of this book does blur in my memory, which means a large portion of it didn’t need to be there.

• Butters is awesome.

• I continue to love what Butcher is doing with Lara.

• I am loving Mab more each book.

• I think a lot of good themes and character work were buried here under The Battle.

• Some cool revelations about side characters like Marcone that have been building for books and books, but again, which were sort of lost amidst the chaos of The Battle.

•I don’t care if it’s the Winter Mantle or not (and it probably is) I’m really tired of the horny thoughts from Harry and am ready for him to get a handle on them so I can stop reading them.

•I’m not a fan of the way the Carlos/Harry relationship was handled here. I did not understand Carlos’s motivations.

•There was a bit of a conflicting tone here, even after some really really bad things happened, Butcher still wanted to preserve Harry's smart-ass attitude for the rest of the narrative, which I don’t think was a good decision and didn’t work for me.

Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,059 followers
October 14, 2020
432 pages of war - and what a war! Just about every good and every bad guy from all the previous books appears somewhere in this epic battle of a book.

I always enjoy it when the magic goes up a level and in Battle Ground Harry pulls out everything he has and more, as do a number of other major characters like Butters, Mab and Marcone. There are many, many heroes and not all of them survive. One notable death made me very sad but I could understand why it was necessary for future plot development.

The book ends leaving Harry as a really important player in magical politics and power games, and someone who holds some very significant playing cards. It will be fascinating to see where things go next! Please Mr. Butcher, don't make us wait another six years to find out!

p.s. There is a very sweet short story at the end involving Maggie and Mouse and Christmas. After all the battles it is a nice restful way to finish up.
Profile Image for Alex Nieves.
174 reviews653 followers
January 16, 2022
Such a fantastic Dresden book and so full of emotion. It was even better on a reread.
18 reviews1 follower
September 30, 2020
I would give this book zero stars if I could. I am so sick and tired of men killing off female characters so the male antagonist can have their man pain. This is the very last Dresden book I ever read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,067 reviews383 followers
September 29, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Peace Talks set the field, and Battle Ground delivered the action. There has never been an installment of Dresden that was this packed full of action! Much of the book was the HUGE battle that we knew was coming after the events of Peace Talks. Did I mention that it's HUGE? Seriously, biggest battle yet. Almost every major player we've seen hits the battleground.

If I'm being completely honest, I don't mind the battle scenes, but I read mostly for the character and plot development, so the sheer volume of pages that were action sequences could be a little bit of a slog for readers like me, but I still really enjoyed them. This is one of the battles we've been building towards for a long time.

The best parts about this book for me? There are some plot threads that have been set up for a LONG, LONG time that rear their ugly heads, culminate, come to fruition, payoff, finally happen. LOTS OF THEM. And there are so many more things coming. New threads that are going to lead us down some dark paths. I am so there for these. I can't wait for more.

But I will say, as spoiler-free as possible - prepare yourself for some heartache. War is dangerous.

So many plot threads culminate in this one... and leave more dangling for future stories.

So much destruction and heartache...

So much further to go...
Profile Image for kartik narayanan.
735 reviews205 followers
October 5, 2020
I am done with this series.

I loved the initial Harry Dresden books when they were fresh and original. Now, they are tired and sad. The action follows the usual Dresden algorithm. There is nothing new. Dialogues are boring. Cliches abound. Everybody is super-powered. It is like reading about a bunch of literal Supermen where the writer has to desperately invent a weakness (like kryptonite) to make the story interesting. So a being that defies reality is beaten & literally punched into the ground. How is this different from Superman literally punching the universe to get what he wants? Meh.

If you still like this character and are not bored with the writing (after 16 books), then you will like Battle Ground. Else stay away.
Profile Image for chvang.
397 reviews59 followers
December 30, 2020
As is obvious from the 1 star rating, I did not like this book. It was boring and repetitive.

You would imagine it will be hard to be bored by a book that is non-stop wizard-on-monster battles, but the fights were were uncreative. Worse, they were inconsistent. For example, when Warden Ramirez was up against elite troops (basically, when the plot called for it), he was casually severing molecular bonds. But when he needed to lose against expendable mooks, he lost .... just because. Or when Dresden was throwing down against demi-gods, he was far stronger than usual because ... magic was more charged, which is the lamest handwavium as I've ever come across. I think the series really suffered when Harry became the Winter Knight and ceased being the scrappy private detective looking after the stuff (and people) who fell through the cracks. But this was the worst power creep in a long series of power creep.

I am abandoning the Dresden Files series after this.

This part is for future me: I know you have very fond memories of the Dresden Files series and you'll be tempted to pick up the next book, but it's best to leave it be. They suck. And it's apparent that Jim Butcher has got enough sway that there's no one to reign him in anymore (look at this mess; Peace Talks & Battle Ground was originally supposed to be a single book, and you can literally skip 70% of Battle Ground), so he won't get better. And let's be honest with ourselves, you're only going to live to be 120 (or maybe 180) years old; don't waste the time you have left with things that no longer bring you joy.
Profile Image for Mike's Book Reviews.
140 reviews5,710 followers
September 30, 2020
Spoiler-Free Video Review Here: https://youtu.be/GdKfGpJszfU
Spoiler Talk Video Here: https://youtu.be/4N5gNjUoX00

Being relatively new to the series (I started last December), I didn't seem to have the disdain for Peace Talks some of the longtime fans did. I didn't have the long wait and I went into it expecting it to be a part 1 of 2 and that maybe had my expectations a little more checked. I said I would grade it as a whole after I saw if Mr. Butcher stuck the landing or not.

So did he? Like a fireball cutting through the bullshit.

Battle Ground is more than just a fancy name, it's the meat of this book. For those missing the usual "predictable chaos" that Butcher is so well known for in a Dresden book with Peace Talks will get a second and third helping in Battle Ground. This is the battle I had been waiting the whole series for. In what seems like his "Avengers: Endgame moment," in which his entire universe seems to be together for the first time, things don't lack for action or big moments at all.

But the emotional punch(es) in this adventure are some of the hardest to cope with in the series. There are great victories, but even greater losses that are just soul crushing. An extremely invested fan, which if you aren't by book 17 I wonder why you're still reading, is going to have a few "there's something in my eye" moments with this one.

In the end, it's another satisfying adventure with Harry and co. even if it leaves a huge scar on your heart and leaves you ready for what comes next. Let the wait begin.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,866 reviews370 followers
January 21, 2021
How in the world to rate this? It was awful and it was awesome. I never thought I would say this, but this book was too long. It began with the flurry of a battle already joined, with Harry confronting the released kraken. In many ways, this book and the previous one (Peace Talks) should have been one volume, but then I would really be whining about the length. We usually get a bit of gentler prologue, if you will, to ease us into the action. There were no such pleasantries here. I felt abruptly yanked into the maelstrom.

Be aware also that important people are killed in this installment. I cried on more than one occasion, mostly for one significant loss. It didn't feel fair, but then life isn't fair, is it? So I'm chalking this situation up to Butcher writing reality. You can't go into the heart of the apocalypse and expect everyone to come out unscathed. It sucks, but it's realistic.

When I was about at the 40% mark when I started to realize that Harry's Chicago will never be the same again. It was a chilling realization. Would there even be another book? And I'm still not sure. Butcher left some loose threads that he could pick up again and resume weaving, but where is there for him to take things? Each book has seen Harry learn a little bit more, gain a little more power, gain friends and allies, and each book has him facing a bigger threat than the last one. There's nowhere for that progression to go anymore. Once you've fought a Titan, a demigod, are there bigger threats? If Butcher is to continue on, he will have to find a way to make smaller foes seem more interesting. No small feat. In many ways, if this turned out be to the last volume, it would be a reasonable ending point.

So, the unanswered questions include: what the heck is this “starborn" stuff? Can Thomas be saved and his little family made safe and sound? What will the humans of Chicago do in the aftermath? Plus several other matters that are too spoilery to mention. All worthy questions, but nothing like fighting a Titan and an army of the Formor.

Now that I've worked my way through this turmoil of thought, I think I am willing to give this book 4 stars. Because it is consistent with what we know of Harry Dresden and with what I have come to expect from Jim Butcher.

Cross posted at my blog:

Profile Image for Chad.
7,740 reviews869 followers
November 3, 2020
Damn! I'm wrung out after reading this. A 400 page battle for Chicago. The war with the Fomor that has been building up for years is finally here...and they have a Titan. Full of one "Holy Shit!" moment after another. Butcher continuously managed to surprise me. He plays the long game. When you've completely forgotten about a character or a plot point from books ago, "Boom there it is." And each time it makes complete sense. This book will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make your jaw drop.

Also included is the Christmas Eve short story that appeared on Butcher's website last year. Now it is at last in its proper context.
Profile Image for Jen - The Tolkien Gal.
458 reviews4,422 followers
July 16, 2021
February 2021: So far this really is making up for Peace Talks. Let's hope.

So That Was a Fucking Lie | Know Your Meme

March 2021: First half is great, second half is an absolute train wreck riddled with cliches and a lacklustre ending.

Side note: Okay Jim, that character death was NOT necessary thank you very much. It added nothing to the story and was poorly done. What has this series become.
Profile Image for Krista D..
Author 71 books299 followers
October 1, 2020
I might be done with this series. I suspect I'll be reading spoilers before I bother to purchasing future books.
Profile Image for Serack.
24 reviews24 followers
Want to read
August 18, 2016
Edit: 8/13/2016 Added some new short stories and a link to the official "future works" page.

This Mirror Mirror review info dump will conclude with all the public info I can remember about other future Dresden Files works as well except Peace Talks which I reviewed here. Jim is still working on Peace Talks, and then expects to churn out book 2 of the Cinder Spires series before starting on this book, so we’ve got a while to wait on it, but he seems really excited about it considering how much he’s talked about it at Q&A sessions and such.

First, there is an official page for Jim's future works that his website admin Priscellie keeps pretty up to date. She and I try to keep tabs on this stuff and help each other out on stuff that might get missed.

Mirror Mirror will be Jim Butcher’s take on the “Alternate Universe trope” and its name is stolen directly from the applicable Star Trek episode. Jim has said that “There will be eye patches and goatees and everything,” as the above blerb mentions which was a key feature of the Star Trek episode. I think he’s also discussed how the Buffy episode “The Wish” is also an influence on his plans for this book.

Our friendly Harry Dresden will end up in an alternate universe because that alternate universe’s Harry will summon our Harry to take the fall for him and get killed. Of course since this is our Harry, alterna-Harry's plan will go off swimmingly.

If you remember the fever dream in chapter 14 of Skin Game with the multiplying blue beetles, that was supposed to be a foreshadowing of Harry running into alternate versions of himself in parallel realities. Jim has said that these alternate realities split off whenever a mortal makes a significant decision that could go multiple ways. The decision that caused this alternate reality is supposed to be “the big decision in Grave Peril” although Jim wasn’t more specific than that, but all the differences in this reality are supposed to flow from that one decision going differently. And it results in alterna-Harry being the type of guy who would summon a doppelganger to die in his place and allow him to escape the consequences of his actions.

The other big detail that Jim has mentioned multiple times is that he is really looking forward to writing alterna-Marcone who is supposed to be a really interesting character.

On to information about other future works:

Book 18 is supposed to be about professional wrestling. Jim has mentioned in another Q&A that didn’t mention book 18 that much of the old godly like beings (I think he specifically mentioned the Greek Parthenon) are professional wrestlers because they get more “worship” that way.

I don't know anything about 19, but there is a trend that even Jim acknowledged when it comes to Dresden Files books that are divisible by 5, so if you think about it you can probably guess some of the details about book 20. Plus, the first book of the capstone "Big Apocalyptic Trilogy" that is supposed to start after book 20 is called "Hell's Bells." The others will be called “Stars and Stones” and “Empty Night.”

Upcoming Short Works:
Here’s what I know is public

Cold Case: Molly PoV novella due out (11/1/16 per amazon and a few other places) in Shadowed Souls, an anthology Jim edited. This is supposed to be from Molly’s PoV and will involve her first job as the new Winter Lady. She teams up with Ramirez to take on a Lovecraft style “Cult of the Sleeper.”

Jury Duty: Will be published in Shawn Speakman’s anthology, Unbound. Jim went on Jury Duty several years ago and decided he had to subject Harry to the torment as well, thus this story. (Edit: Published 10/15/2015)

Day One: Butters PoV story due out in Shawn Speakman's Unfettered II anthology due out in 2017. This one will be Butters’ first mission as a Knight of the Cross. Jim says that Butters gets his first “Call” for a KotC mission in the form of a World of Warcraft style quest exclamation point above the head of the person he has to help. He also says that the newfangled Sword of Faith behaves differently vs not very bad people than it does against monsters, so much so that Butters is relieved when he has something horrific to face because he actually has a lightsaber to deal with it, which otherwise is about as effective as a Christmas wrapping paper tube.

A Fistful of Warlocks: For David Boop’s fantastical Old West anthology Straight Outta Tombstone. This one is from Luccio's PoV and fits with the Wild West theme of the anthology. I've read it (and all the other short stories mentioned above) and it's FUN and has some interesting cameo's other than just Luccio. *goosebumps*
8/18 edit: I just re-found a WoJ from July 2016 where Jim says this one is based "In Dodge City in 1883"

Graphic novels:
Down Town was released October 15th, 2015

Wild Card Wraps in September with Issue #6, then will be compiled in a trade hardcover a few months later. Jim said at a signing 10/2/2015, "I’ve got to send off outlines to a couple of graphic novels to Dynamite, so we’re gonna have fun. One of them’s basically going to be Harry Dresden vs. the Joker, more or less, although in this case, he’s called Puck. ‘Cuz Puck is an awful person, he really is, in the Dresden Files. He doesn’t run around being cool; he’s terrible. And fun. "

Unnamed Comic: "we’re gonna catch up with all the folks that went off to form their Feng Shui out in California after Blood Rites [the crew from Arturo’s film]. There’s a problem, and so Lara’s hiring Harry to fix the problem for her so she doesn’t lose her grip on the White Court and that’s the other graphic novel"

Non Dresden:
Jim has written a short story for Larry Correia’s upcoming Monster Hunter International anthology. Release date and additional details TBA.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,923 reviews1,261 followers
October 23, 2020
You should read my review of Peace Talks before you read this review. Also, I don’t know how to talk about this book without spoilers. So if you want a spoiler-free review: Battle Ground is a flawed attempt to give fans of the Dresden Files the climax Butcher thinks they want, but it falls short. There are definitely crowning moments of awesome, low moments, and the thoughtful moments we have come to expect.

Spoilers from hereon out. Seriously, you have been warned.

Battle Ground picks up quite literally where Peace Talks ended. This is kind of what happens when you split a book in twain because it has grown too large. Harry Dresden and his reluctant allies are facing off against Ethniu, the Last Titan, and an army of Fomor intent on destroying and conquering Chicago. We are told over and over that this is it, this is the biggest, baddest apocalypse to come since Storm Front. And, to be fair, it definitely is.

People are comparing this to Avengers: Endgame because of its huge battle against a single, uber-powerful opponent and the assembly of so many characters from previous books. I get it. There is definitely a Marvel vibe here—but I haven’t seen Endgame, so instead let’s talk about Deadpool. Because Harry definitely has that kind of sarcastic, fourth-wall-breaking attitude that Ryan Reynolds brought so well to the screen. I’ve always enjoyed Harry’s snark, of course, along with his introspection into whether or not he has become a monster. But here’s the problem with trying to keep it going in the midst of a novel that is 100% battle.

It gets old.

Harry spends the book literally racing from one confrontation to the next. Each confrontation is supposedly bigger or badder than the last. Yet you can only say, “This was like nothing I had ever seen before!” so many times before it starts to wear thin. Butcher attempts to keep raising the stakes, but it feels like a sliding scale: suddenly the baddies from the first confrontation are easily being slaughtered by volunteers with shotguns, because the next set of baddies is even more powerful and more invulnerable. All the while, there is no sense of momentum to the plot, because we know what the climax has to be: Harry squaring off with Ethniu, trying to bind her. The rest of the book is literally filler until Butcher can bring us to that moment.

I’m not saying nothing important happens. But I’m not happy about the important happenings.

First, can we talk about how an entire book passes without nary a mention of Thomas? He was such a big part of Peace Talks! And sure, Harry has a lot on his mind tonight as he tries to save Chicago. But Butcher could at least have thrown us a bone—there is a coda called “Christmas Eve” that is supposed to be charming and heartwarming, but all I can think is, “It’s already Christmas and you haven’t saved Thomas yet???” He doesn’t even rate a mention then.

Huge spoiler coming up soon, by the way. If you thought I was exaggerating earlier about spoilers, you are wrong and should stop reading now.

Second, Harry’s excommunication from the White Council makes sense, and I am on board for that. However, I don’t understand the hostility from people like Ebenezar. Here’s what I mean: Ebenezar presumably knows Harry’s secret path, the whole starborn chosen one bullshit that I really wish weren’t in the background of this series. He and others, including Harry’s faerie godmother, have manipulated and shaped Harry’s life from birth onwards. Now he has the gall to turn around and chastise Harry for seeking power, chastise Harry for getting into bed with the fae, chastise Harry for his choices? You set Harry up for this, my dude. I mean, I guess Butcher is trying to support Harry’s contention that most wizards are hypocritical asshats who wouldn’t know an apology if one dropped on them from the sky. But it’s one thing for Ebenezar to support a political censure of Harry and quite another for him to be so incredibly rude to his grandson like that.

Third, of course, is the unfair, unjust, terrible death of Karrin Murphy.

(I warned you about spoilers.)

Karrin Murphy dies because Randolph’s poor trigger discipline means his gun accidentally goes off and shoots her. Yeah. Murph dies from a stray bullet. The book seems embarrassed by this, because later it attempts the shittiest, laziest retcon within a book I’ve ever seen and tries to reframe her death as an honourable on that happened after slaying a Jotun. Seriousy, I felt gaslit and actually had to flip back and re-traumatize myself with her death a second time to confirm how it actually goes down. So, no, Murphy does not sacrifice herself to die a hero’s death. Even if she did, I couldn’t get behind this because one of the axioms of the Dresden Files is that Karrin Murphy does not die. She is our badass normal. She is Harry’s anchor to the mortal world that he is increasingly being pulled away from.

One could argue, based on that point, that Murphy must die, that it’s thematically necessary in order to deepen Harry’s separation from mortality. After all, they just almost hooked up in Peace Talks; we can’t have Harry ever being happy, can we? Gotta kill the woman then! Look, others have written extensively at the misogyny within this series, so I won’t rehash all that. But the women of this series do not get treated well, Murphy no exception, and insisting her death is a necessary plot device is an extension of that misogynistic dehumanization.

(Let’s not even mention that, after spending most of Peace Talks disabled as a result of the events of Skin Game, Murphy magically gets a boost that lets her fight tonight thanks to some handwavery from Butcher so she doesn’t have to sit this out and, you know, survive.)

It would be hyperbolic to say that Murphy was the only good thing left in his series—Mouse and Maggie are pretty sweet. Nevertheless, whatever my qualms or reservations about certain developments in this series, Murphy was always there as a touchstone. Solid Murphy. Mortal Murphy. Love interest Murphy.

Now she is gone and Butcher better fucking not cheapen that by bringing her back but you know he’s going to and oh my god am I hate-reading this series now?

I think I might be hate-reading this series now.

For a long time, I have praised the Dresden Files for the way it has gradually built out its mythos over these 17 books and some short stories. That is an achievement for which I am happy to praise Butcher. Where did it go wrong? I don’t think I can point to a specific book. Almost certainly things were going awry by Proven Guilty, what with Harry’s creepy relationship to Molly. But rather than lay the blame at any particular book’s doorstep, I’d rather critique the general storytelling decisions Butcher has made throughout the series. After 20 years, he has matured and improved as a writer, but he has also wrapped himself up in an incredibly complex continuity and demonstrated a devotion to the idea of “epicness.” This has always been at odds with the urban fantasy genre, particularly those books wherein the majority of the mortal world is unaware of the supernatural. Perhaps that tension, then, between the series’ epicness and its urban fantasy roots, has been one of the reasons it is so successful. On the other hand, this obsession with epicness is unhealthy. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to tell epic stories, there is also nothing wrong with searching for small stories that matter as well.

I think that’s why Skin Game worked so well for me. Although the scale of its setting was epic, at its core it was a return to the original Dresden Files format of small plot, big ideas: Harry was pulling off a heist. That’s cool. Harry defending Chicago from a Titan alongside most of the supernatural world? That’s epic, but it isn’t as interesting, because we’ve lost the intimacy of the plot along the way.

Battle Ground did what Peace Talks couldn’t, I guess … it has quashed what love I had for this series. Don’t get me wrong … I still appreciate and adore this series. I’m going to keep its books on my shelves, and if someone asks, I will recommend it (with caveats). But we have outgrown Dresden Files. There are newer series, newer authors, that strive for far more creative, original, breathtaking acts of storytelling. I don’t fault this series for being what it is, but like many book series I started reading as a child or a teen, I have grown and changed while it has largely remained the same. When that happens, you know it’s time to move on.

Originally posted on Kara.Reviews, where you can easily browse all my reviews and subscribe to my newsletter.

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Vigasia.
408 reviews20 followers
October 4, 2020
2,5 stars

I was disappointed with his book. It starts directly after the Peace Talks ended and it is, as a title says - A constant Battle Ground. So what was wrong with it? In my opinion? There was just too much happening, in a book of 400 pages and so many characters appeared that in the end there was just not enough of anybody. Random monsters were coming out of nowhere, our team fought with them, then there was a little break and we had another wave of monsters to battle. I think it lacked of a little rest and stopmtime that we could spend with traditional witty dialouges and snark that are so charasteristic for this series.

We met a lot of our friends, but with so much going on, they appeared and vanished in an instant. I was expecting something more of epic last stands and instead we got loosely deaths of important characters that were almost forgotten after a few pages. I felt bad, because

I think Jim made some bad choices in this book, but this is my personal view.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
July 20, 2021
Brilliant action / war novel, but also frustrating and disjointed.

I’ve noticed about Jim Butcher’s writing in the past few years that he’s getting better. But we can consider that he’s been writing Harry Dresden stories for more than twenty years. Storm Front first came out in 2000. Battle Ground is the nineteenth novel and there have been countless short stories along the way. Butcher’s writing has become more mature as the storyline has as well. The homey but cool urban fantasy introduced so long ago has become an institution and Harry is at the center of a universe of myth and fantasy.

But, Butcher’s dialogue still bugs me. He throws in humor which sometimes tends towards campy and the exchanges between characters can devolve into syrupy melodrama – some of the scenes read like B film soap opera. But then again, in a kooky way, that’s part of the charm and even though I cringe in every book at some really bad dialogue, I also find myself smiling at some pop reference or corny dad joke.

This is one of his more serious works in the series and without a doubt the most epic in scope. Not just the next book in the wildly popular series, this is a direct sequel to Peace Talks and the action in this one starts immediately following those events. The world is literally threatened with destruction from mythic forces and Harry and the whole Dresden creation is in the fight.

It occurred to me at some point that this could be the last Dresden book, so changed is the story arc after this one. Chicago will be changed and Harry’s life and group dynamic will be as well. To Butcher’s credit, he is not just mailing in another chapter, he is boldly gambling on some shifts in the story that will likely cause some narrative problems but will make for a better story moving forward.

Like the 1962 David Lean film Lawrence of Arabia, some of the best scenes in the book are after the big fight. The final few chapters deal with some mundane problems that have arisen as a result of the new world order.

Finally I am left with an optimistic expectation of more from Butcher. He’ll turn 50 this year so we can hope that he’ll continue to provide us with more Harry Dresden stories, and that this new direction will further develop this fascinating world building.

Profile Image for Dylan.
214 reviews
October 30, 2022
“When a group comes together around something they love,” I said, “it changes things. It changes how they see one another. It becomes a community. Something greater than the sum of its parts.”

Note Part 1 of my Review is here Peace Talks Review

Battle Ground is an ambitious novel as it shouldn’t work structurally but Butcher manages to pull it off speculatory. That said, it’s evident the novel functions as a 500-page climax of Peace Talks. Important plot threads, character arcs and plot development are addressed. One of the most impressive feats is Butcher’s handling of pacing and progression. From the offset, the prospect of reading a 500-page climax seems horrifying (to me at least). I was worried I might get insane action burnout, making it feel redundant after a while. How do you maintain that consistent momentum for such a long duration? Here Butcher pulled it off, with the best action in the series by far, his prose and at times evocative language that draws the reader in and just a great sense of escalation and consistently topping the scale. The rest of this review will be spoilers so, briefly, all the character arcs in this book are fantastic, certain reveals are jaw-dropping and the ending was brilliant.

Some minor criticism: this novel can be a tad exhausting. Elements can be attributed to being intentional but in others, it feels like because of the split. Because of that circumstance, Butcher didn’t edit certain sequences more tightly. It’s well-paced considering its structure, but it does wear itself close to the end. I’m not sure if I will reread BG though as it can feel exhausting by the end compared to other Dresden novels. I know it's the nature of the book just that element held it back slightly. So, ending with positives the ending was simply brilliant. I highlighted my feeling above but it’s crazy how for a normal series this would be the end. In the case of BG, it almost feels like a new beginning. The final chapter and short story afterwards were beautiful. As a whole, it's a fitting conclusion to this storyline.

In conclusion, I loved Battle Ground. I wouldn’t have written a review nearly as long if I didn’t love it. I just needed to express my love for the series as I will be waiting with the rest of the fanbase for the next instalment. This might not be the most coherent review, but I hope I’ve communicated my feelings well enough. This is a series worth reading though it feels weird catching up it also makes me excited for the future.

Peace Talks- Battle Ground: 9/10
Profile Image for Kyle Erickson.
377 reviews165 followers
November 15, 2022
All killer no filler.

This is absolutely one of the most epic books imaginable. I can think of very little I have read on the same scale, and almost nothing that had me at the same emotional stakes. There's so much stuff in this book that it's absurd. I don't understand how there can still be so many more books left in this series. Battle Ground had me jumping out of my chair seconds before it had me sobbing, only to have me shaking in fear for what would happen next, followed by making me laugh out loud, and then cheer again...at one point I was in my car waiting at a train crossing and frantically texting Dresden fans about the crazy shit that was happening. It was truly a rollercoaster. Dresden really paid off; this is in my top five books of all time.

Now I have to wait....? 🥲
Profile Image for Samantha Fondriest.
586 reviews228 followers
June 28, 2020
I cried no less than six times while reading this. Screw you, Jim Butcher. You know what you did.

But what a book.

Battle Ground takes off immediately where Peace Talks ends, catapulting the reader into a 500 page battle of epic proportions. Little-a apocalypse has arrived on the shores of Chicago, and Harry and crew have one heck of a fight to put up. Butcher manages to keep the reader feeling the nitty gritty details and horrors of battle on the ground without losing the epic scope of what is going on across Chicago. I left this book emotionally exhausted but blown away by what was accomplished here.

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are, as always, my own.
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