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There's no love lost between Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the Chicago phone book, and the White Council of Wizards, who find him brash and undisciplined. But war with the vampires has thinned their ranks, so the Council has drafted Harry as a Warden and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City.

As Harry adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, all grown-up and already in trouble. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it's all in a day's work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob....

547 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2006

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About the author

Jim Butcher

277 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 3,460 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
June 19, 2020
Not as good as Dead Beat, but this is another great read, as expected.

I’ll keep this review shorter than usual. I’m eight books into the series now, and it’s getting harder to talk about the book without including spoilers. Let’s start by saying that I’m genuinely surprised that I still find myself so entertained. I mean, Butcher hasn’t changed his formulaic storytelling structure, but the characters have been super well-established, and their development has brought me constant happiness. In Proven Guilty, Harry’s mortality and limitation as a human is tested repeatedly, and he might need to rely on faith if he wants to survive the next challenges within his life and at the same time protect those who matter to him.

“All power is the same. Magic. Physical strength. Economic strength. Political strength. It all serves a single purpose-it gives its possessor a broader spectrum of choices. It creates alternative courses of action. ”

Relationship development and interaction between characters were definitely the best part of this book, in my opinion. I honestly wish there was more, the series somehow was able to sneak up on me on this aspect. Seriously, these characters have come a super long way since their first appearance. Proven Guilty focuses a lot on Harry’s relationship with some of the core ladies of the series; mainly Molly, Charity, and Murphy. This is something that I totally didn’t expect. If you look back to the first three books, there was almost no sign that the ladies of this series would end up being such great supporting characters. It’s also incredibly heartening to FINALLY see Charity, for the first time in the series, starts giving Harry the respect he deserves.

“I don't care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching--they are your family.”

If you followed my reviews of this series, you’ll most likely know that except for Dead Beat, I generally have issues with the longevity of the action sequences in each installment. Unfortunately, this minor issue is back again here. It’s probably due to the very fast-paced nature of Butcher’s narrative that the action sequences easily became a bit tedious for me. There’s, however, a possibility that I might have started reading this one too soon; I usually waited two or three weeks before starting another Dresden Files book. Plus, it’s kinda hard to beat Harry, Sue, and Butter’s tag team in Dead Beat.

“Life can be confusing. Good God, and how. Sometimes it seems like the older I get, the more confused I become. That seems ass-backwards. I thought I was supposed to be getting wiser. Instead, I just keep getting hit over the head with my relative insignificance in the greater scheme of the universe. Confusing, life. But it beats the hell out of the alternative.”

My luck in reading high fantasy has been pretty sour lately, it’s good to know that I can always count on this highly-praised urban fantasy series for a fun and fast-paced read. Proven Guilty may not be as good as Dead Beat, but it’s certainly another step in the right direction story-wise. I look forward to Harry’s next adventure!

Picture: Proven Guilty by Vincent Chong

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Devin, Hamad, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
February 20, 2020
The 8th book in Jim Butcher’s fantastic Dresden Files series, Proven Guilty, first published in 2006, is a more sedate, brooding and dark entry.

No doubt Butcher’s page turning, fast paced first person narrative, corny humor and ubiquitous and fun cultural and pop references abound as in other Dresden books, but this one seems more introspective and more attuned to story and character development.

There’s plenty of action, don’t get me wrong, Harry’s ability to use Hellfire is again explored and there are plenty of good fight scenes, some even taking place in the NeverNever, but what I’ll take from this book is the subtle interactions and the group dynamics around Harry and his tight circle of friends and fellow paranormals.

Now a Warden of the White Council, Harry witnesses a grisly scene of wizard justice to begin the story. This harsh result will foreshadow the darker tones of this book throughout as Harry shoulders his new responsibilities and learns a lot more about the political backrooms of the Council, the Sidhe Courts, and the ongoing war with the Red Court of vampires.

We learn more about the Paladin Carpenter family and especially about the oldest daughter Molly. Harry’s relationship with this faithful household becomes more complicated and also more interesting. There are also some quiet moments with Karen Murphy that are fun to watch.

Another good outing with Harry and the gang culminating in a riveting final showdown.

For fans.

September 26, 2013
If the charge is writing one of the best Harry Dresden novels yet, then Jim Butcher has just been Proven Guilty!

As a practicing wizard, Harry Dresden has always been troubled by the methods of his bosses in the White Council. But since becoming a Warden and witnessing the Council's methods firsthand...now he's outright disgusted by them! When someone is caught practicing black magic, rather then considering rehabilitation for the practitioner, the Council prefers to simply cut the dark wizard off at the knees (or more accurately, the head)! So when Harry is tipped off that someone is utilizing black magic in Chicago, he hopes to find the practitioner before the Council does. However, it wouldn't be a day in the life of Harry Dresden if there weren't at least five crises going on at once! In addition to locating the spellcaster, Harry has to contend with an ongoing battle between the wizards and the vampires, movie monsters that have somehow come to life and are attacking citizens, the daughter of an old friend who is in trouble with the law, and fairies with the power to tear the world apart who are on the brink of war! So now Harry has to save the world from the bad guys, as well as save the bad guys from the good guys. Oh, and if he could survive the whole affair, that would be nice, too!

I've always had somewhat conflicting feelings towards the Harry Dresden series. While, personally I find the series a lot of fun, whenever I'm talking to someone with more sophisticated tastes than me (in other words, at least 98% of the planet), I feel the need to defend my love of the books! I'll find myself saying things like, "Yeah, the FBI agent pulling a gun on Murphy over a snide remark was a bit much, but...", or, "yeah, I know the books feature a greatest-hits cast of supernatural creatures from other books, but..." So I was ecstatic to read this book and find that Jim Butcher has finally done it...he's finally written a book with enough depth and complexity that I no longer feel the need to defend my enjoyment of his work. In fact, there were three major categories in which Butcher displayed a more mature method of storytelling...

Deeper characters

One character who showed a lot of character growth this time around was Harry Dresden himself. In past books, his wise-cracking could be funny, but it also often took the place of any real characterization, to the point where Harry could come across as a one-dimensional wise-ass whose constant one-liners eventually evoked more eye-rolls than chuckles...
Dresden has gotten this reaction so many times, he was 35 years old before he realized that pupils are usually found in the CENTER of an eye!

However, this time around, Harry is more conflicted. His horror at the White Council's ruthless methods. His desire to reconcile the Carpenter family with their rebellious daughter. His temptation to accept the fallen angel Lasciel's offer of more power. Harry has become a much more rounded character at this stage in the game, and he's not the only one. In the past, the Carpenter's came across as almost cartoonish with their perfect life, with family matriarch Charity seemingly distrusting Harry for no further reason than to provide some comic relief with her snarky comments towards him. However, now we're given a much clearer glimpse into the Carpenters' lives, and they become far more sympathetic because of it (particularly the formerly-unlikable Charity). This time around, I wasn't just entertained by Dresden and his cast of characters...I truly cared about them!

Deeper story

Look, I'll be the first to admit that, while I found the earlier books very entertaining, the actual plots were often as thin as the paper they were typed on. "Fool Moon" was about pissed-off werewolves..."Grave Peril" was about pissed-off ghosts..."Summer Knight" was about pissed-off fairies (I'll stop now, something tells me you've picked up on the pattern). However, by this stage in the game, the books are now weaving together many different plot threads at once. If this were one of the earlier books, chances are the black magic and the conjured-up movie monsters would have made up the entirety of the novel. However, in addition, we get political battles between the wizards, deeper ramifications of the wizards' war with the vampires, and the presence of the fairies, where even the ones who are on Harry's side come across as devious and untrustworthy. At first. I was afraid the fairies were just being thrown into the mix, but Butcher managed to make them an integral part of the story. And I've always appreciated how Butcher's rendition of fairies is so much more sinister than the kindly fairy-godmothers that fairies are often depicted as...particularly recurring Dresden nemesis Queen Mab...
I can't imagine why this interpretation of fairies never made it into the Disney movies...

Along with a larger story, more complex themes are explored as well. I loved how the lines between "good" and "evil" were much more blurry, and after being asked to wonder "will they or won't they" about Dresden and Murphy for seven books, I was pleased to see how the tension between them was actually addressed in a more mature fashion than I would have previously expected. Of course, Butcher understands that people don't usually check out his books strictly for some weighty philosophical struggles, which brings us to...

Deeper action

In the past, I've referred to the Dresden books as "fun", but this time around, one of the first adjectives that springs to mind is "exciting"! Butcher outdid himself with the fight sequences, particularly in a duel between Harry and a movie monster known as the Scarecrow, where the action is so beautifully depicted, it channeled the writing abilities of R.A. Salvatore himself! I've always considered Salvatore the greatest at describing fight scenes, but if Butcher can keep this up, he'll definitely be holding the silver medal next to Salvatore's gold. Other fight sequences (particularly the big showdown towards the end) also feature raised stakes and more creative spellcasting, making this an adventure I didn't just read about, I actually felt!

So by giving us a larger story with more complex concepts and fleshed-out characters, Butcher manages to proved his maturation (and downright improvement) as a writer! The previous Dresden novels were good books, but added depth makes this one a good story as well!
Okay...maybe this book isn't really THAT deep, but it sure feels that way when you compare it to Fool Moon!
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews716 followers
May 22, 2015
Well, well, well. My, my, my. This book illustrates perfectly why I'm safe from being a die hard fan of any author. I don't have a shred of loyalty towards my favorite authors, and I wear that attitude like a badge of honor. Most of the Dresden books I've read so far have scored well. Because of that, I believe that Jim Butcher doesn't need to punch above his weight to write a damn good book. He is frighteningly talented. So what happened here?

I'm not alone in finding Proven Guilty a mediocre book. The foundation of Jim Butcher's books relies on sentimentality. If the structure of the story is sound and pleasing, the readers ignore the underlying cheesiness of the premise. But if the structure of the story lends itself badly to deconstruction, we are aware of the paucity of logic and intelligence in the writing. The hitherto strength of the series, namely that we are willing to accept that Harry Dresden courts trouble, and gets away with it despite a humongous display of stupidity with gallantry as his cloak, becomes his weakness in this book. Paradoxically, the writer keeps Harry underpowered. Harry escapes from a tight bind in Proven Guilty with resourcefulness, but with no show of power. What messes the balance in the series is that the hero keeps fighting foes who are increasingly dangerous. He should not have survived. Also, when the biggest villain yet is pitted against the hero, the stakes should be high. But curiously, they're not. Also, not to nitpick, but this is the first book where we get to learn nothing new about Dresden.

The Dresden Files relies a lot on characterization. We don't ask for it, but us fans have been served with books that ooze chutzpah, sincerity, wholesomeness, and among others,braveness in the face of decay and death. Some of the passages depict human frailty, with us not even at the top of the food chain. The magic of this world is shown to great purpose. In this book, the sincerity sounds faked. The winks and nods have more in common with fan service than with humor. The twists are moribund, and may perhaps be the most embarrassing aspect of book 8. The most pleasing element of Proven Guilty is the exposure of the corrupt intricacy of the White Council - the wizard court. What happens near the end, the case where Harry moonlights as an attorney, feels realistic. Such a tainted organization as the Council would behave the exact way as it has been shown. I hear the next book serially is just as bad as this one, but after that things get better. I'd better get on with it.
Profile Image for Alex Nieves.
174 reviews651 followers
October 7, 2022
Full video review here: https://youtu.be/da_bnuDgVhs

My new #1 Dresden book has arrived. This hit on so many levels from the stakes of the story, the emotional beats with each of the characters and the general direction the books are going. Video review coming soon but what a great book.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,915 reviews3,402 followers
April 22, 2023
Wow. Just ... wow!

This book had so much, it will be difficult to review it all. We start with Michael being called away and Harry promising to keep an eye on his oldest daughter since she's left home after a fight with her parents (mostly her mother). But Harry still is under stress because he still hasn't found a way to tell Michael about the coin and the fallen angel inside him. ()
Then there is the vicious attack on that convention - a very creative one that bloodthirsty little me enjoyed very much!
And as if that wasn't enough, the Red Court hasn't given up and keeps fighting the White Council. The only problem is that they have a traitor, most probably amongst the members of the senior council, and the consequences are dire!
All that pales in comparison to Molly, though. I really didn't expect her and most definitely was shocked when we learned that ! However, while I'm sure it makes most readers understanding and cutting Charity some slack, it had the exact opposite effect on me. She btter not slap Harry again! *gnashes teeth* Our boy needs to learn to stand up for himself some more!

By now, I'm so thoroughly invested, I'm suffering a heartattack almost regularly. Like when or when biting my nails about Harry coming clean to Michael. Interestingly, as much as I got excited for my favorites, I also got invested negatively with people like the merlin. I REALLY want him to be taken down a notch or three. Or the cops mistreating Murphy - I got sooo angry when .

However, this book had so much more. I mean, just when you think that you've seen all the fighting there is going to be after the killed those people in Chicago, there is the stint in the fairy realm with all its implications. It's not just the action, however. The inter-personal stuff was just as powerful.

Everything in this book just came together beautifully and had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Also, it was a struggle not to immediately pick up the next.
Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews133 followers
February 4, 2020
Monster movie mania meets The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Another magic filled adventure in good ol' Chicago with the worlds most notorious wizard. Full RTC!
Profile Image for Lindsey Rey.
286 reviews2,705 followers
September 10, 2015
[4.5 Stars]
Amazing start, even-more-amazing finish, but it definitely got dull in the middle so I couldn't give it a full 5 stars.
Profile Image for William Thomas.
1,231 reviews2 followers
August 7, 2012
Jim Butcher is a creep. And not the cool kind of creep like Bukowski that you romanticize, but like Ezra from 'Pretty Little Liars' kind of creep. Seriously, Butcher, I'm not putting this one on Harry. The last few pages of this book made my skin crawl. Sexualizing an underage character and Harry blatantly lusting after her and beating himself up over it and trying to moralize it is just... awful. But like I said, this isn't Harry. This is some weird thing Jim Butcher has going on in his head. Was he substitute teaching while writing this one? I mean, he talks about her body, and piercings that you 'can't see' and I wondered which one of his friends' daughters he is lusting after in real life.

Aside from that, this book is mostly just an interlude. It's a way for Butcher to get from one book to another and introduce his concubine, Molly. There's really nothing going on iin this book that alters the Dresden universe, and really, this book can just be skipped entirely. I mean, Butcher starts to repeat himself even more than ever. Not just plot points of other books, but full sentences, sentiments and other diatribes.

On top of that, I don't think Butcher has ever actually seen another human being. Or rather, he's never payed attention to another person's body language. For some reason, he's addicted to writiing that his characters 'changed their stance' while in the middle of conversations. What? Are we haviing an argument in a dojo? No one, and I mean, no one, except a cop who's about to pull his weapon, changes their stance while having a general Q&A/coonversation. People stiffen, avert their eyes, relax their posture, put their weight on one hip, get in your face, etc, but 'changing stances' isn't something that happens. I don't know why he's so fond of saying that so often, but it is just such an irritant.

Also, don't say something is 'almost -blank-'. An 'almost silver light'. Pick what it is and say it. Simple. Oh, and while I'm on it, don't say everyone is a '-blank- in their own right'. What does that even mean? Was your word count low? Did your editor take a vacation? I just don't get it.

The last Dresden book I'll ever read.

The end.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,376 reviews1,430 followers
October 12, 2018
The wizard Harry Dresden continues to anger the White Council, the Red Court of Vampires, the winter court of the Fey and pretty much everyone else in the universe. He and Bob have a new (dangerous) project in his work space. He's worried about his half-brother, Thomas, who has been acting kind of weird and may or may not be feeding off of people again. He and Murphy are starting to talk about their interesting relationship and there's a fallen angel in the concrete of his house. Could things get much worse?

Yeah, it could. When Michael's daughter begins to have problems, Harry has to deal with those too.

First, he has to witness an execution of an evil magic user by the council. It makes him sick to his stomach because the boy was never trained and didn't know that what he was doing was wrong. It reminds Harry of his own questionable past and how close he came to the same fate.

"But it doesn't change the fact that we've just murdered a boy who probably never knew enough to understand what was happening to him." pg 15

The White Council is so stretched by the war with the vampires, they've giving less time to social niceties than perhaps they able to in the past. They've also been able to train fewer wizards. And there's a new threat running around Chicago that Harry has been tasked to discover.

"As the senior Warden in the region, it falls to you to investigate and find those responsible. In my opinion, it is vital that you do so immediately. To my knowledge, no one else is aware of the situation." pg 29

I really enjoyed this entry in the series until the end of the story arc with Michael's daughter. That part felt off to me and crossed a line that I didn't know I had for these books.

In my mind, The Dresden Files are sort of the "junk food" of my to-be-read pile. The hero of the stories is not perfect and admittedly so. He's kind of a dog when it comes to women and relationships. He tries to make the right decisions but it sometimes back fires in his face. But I usually agree with what he tries to do and understand his motivations behind it.

But the way that he treats Michael's daughter... I didn't agree with that. There's a kind way to go about things and a cruel way, and I felt like he unnecessarily chose the cruel way. It's not what I look for in my "junk food" reads. Plus, the whole scene gave me the creeps and made me feel like I didn't know the character after all.

And perhaps that was the point. Sometimes Harry does the wrong thing. Sometimes he thinks the wrong thing. But at the end of the day, in this book at least, he didn't make a different type of unforgivable mistake.

That being said, if he lived in my world, I wouldn't let him be around my kid, end of story. And if this book hadn't included the icky part with Michael's daughter, it would have been a five-star read for me.
Profile Image for Tosh.
163 reviews38 followers
October 16, 2017
I’m gonna say it again...the series just keeps getting better! I know - told ya so’s are in order, but I have to tell you that those first few books weren’t all that convincing. Not that they were bad mind you, but I didn’t feel much for the characters other than a very shallow interest. Mostly, I kept reading to satisfy a mild curiosity to see how Harry would solve his next case - oh and I was being pressured by a longtime fan. Twisted my arm, she did.

But now, these last few books I’ve been reading as much for my love for the characters as for the outcome of his next disaster...I mean case. There has been a significant improvement in the quality of each book as we get to know a deeper side of Harry. Not just the chivalrous sex-starved wizard, but a guy who when all else fails will stop at nothing to save lives, protect his friends and be a thorn in the flesh of any who stand in his way. He’s got a lot of help too. Each book has introduced some pretty awesome friends, sidekicks, villains and nasty monsters. And we’re finally at a point where they all begin to connect to a bigger picture. It’s so cool to see some of the earlier characters showing up, helping out, or revealing more about themselves. Mysteries abound folks! The more you know the more you realize you’re missing.

I felt that this book had a lot of heart. Harry finds himself in the midst of family turmoil while working his next case and I had so many feelings on how the family handled themselves. I’m also always happy when Michael or his family shows up. I love how Jim Butcher handles the topic of faith even though his main character is far from religious. He stays true to each of his characters and I can absolutely respect that. Especially being that they all must work together for the same cause while being of very different backgrounds.

The magic is straightforward and I always enjoy the moments Harry is gathering up his power or formulating his next spell. It’s very cool to see how it works, how limiting it can be for him, and the means he must use to get around his own limitations. Not always the most ideal means, but definitely interesting - sometimes concerning.

So for what it’s worth, I would recommend to anyone who has given up on the series or is struggling to get through those first few books not to give up on it just yet. It might seem like a waste of time to push through books you’re not truly enjoying but once you get over that hump it will be well worth the effort.
Profile Image for Angela.
319 reviews63 followers
April 2, 2017
Wonderful read. This series just gets better and better and I love how there are now so many secondary characters that get revolved between the various books. It makes the series that little bit more compelling as when you start the book you're not 100% sure who is going to be in it.

It felt to me like there was a lot of foreshadowing in this one. Ultimately how powerful is Harry going to become?
Author 5 books587 followers
January 1, 2015
6 Super-Quick, New-Year's-Eve-And-I-Have-To-Finish-This-Year's-Reading-Challenge Reasons I Finally Gave A Harry Dresden Novel Five Flippin' Stars

1. Harry eased way the heck up on the two things that always make me roll my eyes in Dresden File novels: the obligatory "People don't believe in the supernatural these days" speech (yeah, that happened), and the "Women are different from men and I'm a way nice guy for being extra-protective of women" scene.

2. I was genuinely spooked by one scene, and these books have never given me the chills before.

3. I said, "Whoa, I did NOT see that coming" at least twice for reasons of awesome.

4. Outstanding, borderline-egregious but still hy-larious use of movie quotes.

5. Terrific character development.

6. Expert placement of numerous Chekhov's guns (painted to blend into the scenery).

Let's hope this trend keeps up, shall we?

And happy New Year!
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,027 reviews163 followers
April 30, 2018
3.5 stars

This was a great addition to the Dresden Files. The first half is about fighting a phobo-phage at a horror convention, but it turns out there is more going on than just a monster. This gives the story an interesting twist. The story is well structured with good pacing.

Side characters feature Michael’s family, though Michael himself is mostly absent. Bob also has some great lines. Excellent audio narration by James Marsters.
Profile Image for Alex W.
95 reviews4 followers
March 29, 2023

Such a great Dresden installment! I had an absolute blast with this one.
Profile Image for David.
89 reviews32 followers
January 29, 2022
One of the White Council meetings made me scream out “Holy Shit!” while I was driving my car on the freeway. Enough said.

I loved this audible installment - particularly because of the reunion with some past beloved characters. It also surely sets the plate for some big time intensity in the books that follow.

This series has definitely ramped up to a new level of awesomeness! 😎

On to the next one!

Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
871 reviews1,759 followers
November 7, 2016
this book starts with Harry witnessing an execution of a black magic practitioner. Then he gets a warning about something dangerous is about to happen in Chicago. Harry has to find what is about to happen and stop it. if all that is not enough Molly Carpenter, his friend Michael’s daughter, ask him to come and bail out her friend. And thats where Harry finds himself in knee deep shit.

Now these books in the series are at a point where I can not discuss the story without giving spoilers about previous books. We find some more news about the on going war between Wizard’s Council and Red Court of Vampires. But the events in this book has more to do with the faerie land.

As always I love Harry, Thomas, Bob, Murphy and Mouse but Charity, Michael’s wife, steals the limelight here. A fierce mother who went to fight the monsters to save her daughter.

this book is also about reconciliations. Charity who is not a big fan of Harry actually learns to trust Harry with her daughter’s life. the troublesome relationship between Charity and Molly is also described beautifully where mother wants to save her life from every danger while daughter thinks her mother don’t understand her.

This book is good but I didn’t find it as good as Dead Beat. Though the events in the book points out that next book is going to be one hell of a ride.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
April 20, 2023
This Dresden book is quite unpredictable. It's gloriously chaotic.

Even on a re-read, of which this is, I kept getting lost in the woods, so to speak. So many interesting plot elements kept me and Harry hopping. Between an interesting horror convention, great character development for Molly, events with Mouse, Thomas, and especially Murphy, I often didn't know which way was up.

But when the multiple crapstorms hit -- and several parties seem to be playing deep games, with Harry as a most predictable pawn, this is where I'm at my most fascinated.

Oh, the places we go.

And did I mention that I love Molly? It's true. I love her here and I love her more, later, but it's all love. :)
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews614 followers
July 27, 2017
The audiobook version of this series is really good. Terrific narrator, and this novel almost made me give the book a 5 star rating, but it's still lacking a bit more. Can't wait to listen to the next novel, or maybe read it.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,172 reviews73 followers
March 5, 2021
5 Stars for Proven Guilty: The Dresden Files Series Book 8 by Jim Butcher read by James Masters. This is one of my favorite books from the series. I really liked the characters and how it moved the storyline on.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,717 reviews462 followers
November 20, 2020
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book the first time I read it and I think that it was even better during this re-read. This is the eighth book in the Harry Dresden series which really should be read in order since each book builds on events from previous installments. It is a great series to revisit anytime I want to read something that I know I am going to enjoy.

Once again, Harry finds himself in the middle of a mess. He receives a call from Molly Carpenter, the daughter of his good friend, looking for help and he just can't say no. Someone in town is doing black magic and there are also some grisly murders at a local horror festival that he needs to contend with. All while trying to keep the White Council happy. Things get very complicated very quickly and Harry feels like it is his responsibility to set things right. There were some pretty big developments that were revealed in this installment. I found this story to be really exciting with plenty of action. I was hooked by the mystery and couldn't wait to see if Harry would be able to make everything work while protecting those in his care.

James Marsters continues to do a phenomenal job with this series. It really is amazing how completely he is able to bring Harry and the other characters to life. I thought that he added a lot of emotion and excitement into the reading and I found it easy to listen to this book for hours at a time. I do feel that his performance added to my enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this series to others. Harry's world is an interesting one to visit and I always feel completely entertained when I dive into any of the novels in the series. I cannot wait to continue with my re-read of the series.

Initial Thoughts
I always seem to have a good time with Harry and this book was no exception. When Harry gets a call for help from Molly Carpenter things get interesting really quickly. Someone is doing black magic and Harry needs to get the bottom of everything before someone gets hurt. There are some pretty big developments in this installment in the series and it was great seeing Harry work his magic. James Marsters did a phenomenal job with the narration which added a lot to my overall enjoyment.

Book source: purchased
Profile Image for Dylan.
213 reviews
October 5, 2021
“I don't care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching--they are your family.”

“A bolt of warmth, fierce with joy and pride and gratitude, flashed through me like sudden lightning. I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching—they are your family. And they were my heroes.”


You might be wondering why I featured these two quotes well; in my belief, I think it summarises the soul of this novel extremely well. Like Deadbeat this is another great continuation in the Dresden Files series. I was promised consistently great novels+ from Deadbeat onwards so far that statement is true. Unlike Deadbeat, I don’t think this entry is overhyped, though it's because the main reception goes to DB. In terms of quality, this is like DB both are great but for different reasons, though this edges it out for me. Where weakness for Deadbeat was the side cast, this features the series best side cast by far. It focuses upon characters that I was prior invested in and just fleshes that aspect more which I enjoyed immensely.


This doesn’t have intricate plotting of Dead Beat. However, the plot for the most part is strong in what it intends to achieve. Compared to every other entry this felt more like a set-up to future events while telling its own story. They a lot of pieces that generally will change the dynamic of the series. Just going off my head:

Anyways the plot takes a back seat though that to facilitate some great character exploration. However, one plotline that was a real miss was Like I understood why it exists it's for . But it felt like an odd thing to place in this story, disconnected, I guess? To me, it seems like if Butcher wanted he could have done something different. In general, that bit hold back the novels from being truly amazing. However, the Climax of this novel is probably my favourite in the series . They are usually a pattern with all the endings in DF so far, so for it to do something different is refreshing to see.


What can I add beyond this what I said in my other review. I could insert my DB review for this section and it remains the same. The Joss Wheaton comedy is pretty hit or miss, though if you like that style you will be at home. However, it isn’t too big of a deal for me, just because I like these characters and I can interpret it differently than probably the author intent. Like I view Harry as somewhat of a try-hard with his comedy and somewhat a coping mechanism for the crazy situations. So it responds to chaotic situations naturally through his comedy so he is in a cool state of mind. So yeah it not being particularly funny for me is fine, and I usually smile a lot regarding the jokes, though I don’t remember laughing like I do an Abercrombie book.


This easily features the best character work in the series so far. It's not even a competition the Carpenters has always been a highlight for me so having of them just makes it that much better. Charity and Molly development is the biggest takeaway in this novel that the mother and daughter relationship I somewhat adore. Murphy is increasingly being fantastic and it being 25 book series it's only going to continue. Regarding Harry and Thomas DB was there both of their novels this is much more of a carry through of that development.


This novel is great, if this is Dresden going forward, I am excited. The plot is weaker than DB but the character exploration, I found to be a lot more interesting to read. They certain changes from DB then carries through here and Butcher adds more change to change up the dynamic of the series, I am very interested to read more of Dresden Files.

8.0/10 or 8.5/10 I honestly been so back and forth in this that hard to decide haha. But one of these two. More I think about this novel they a lot I love.
Profile Image for Kyle Erickson.
376 reviews160 followers
May 16, 2022
Goddamn, I am a believer. Dresden is a great series.

"I don't care whose DNA is recombined with whose, when everything goes to Hell, the people who stand beside you without flinching, *they* are your family. And they were my heroes. "

We have reached the crux where Butcher's prose has noticeably leveled up- there were multiple beautiful or introspective passages that I appreciated for the first time- and also having the world and characters fleshed out enough that this entire book is just superb character development and growth for half a dozen or more characters. This was the first Dresden book where the entire second half I just wanted to not be doing the other stuff I had to do, and instead wanted to be reading Dresden. I will be reading White Night immediately, after usually waiting ~a month to continue the series between books. I finally understand where people are coming from when they call this one of, if not their favorite series. I do think the plot of Dead Beat was better, but the character development and character moments in this book, and world development was way more gripping and emotional for me in Proven Guilty.

Alas, Butcher couldn't help himself. "Let's constantly sexualize a 17 year old and make Harry seem so damn MATURE for not succumbing" because he needs a gold star for being able to not act with his penis when around teenagers. Honestly, the second half of the book made me almost forget how often Harry thought about a teenager's chest in the first half, but then there's a scene I hated near the end and I cannot give five stars to a book that has that scene in it. Maybe book 9 can refrain from shooting itself in the foot with this kinda thing.

Profile Image for Israt Zaman Disha.
192 reviews442 followers
July 3, 2017
Comparing with the previous book of the series, I found it a little less thrilling. But I can make peace with that. Harry Dresden doesn't always need earth collapsing disasters or dangers. He is a mortal after all. Well whatever that was stake in this story was no less important to him. Overall a good story. But after the seventh book my expectation was bound to be high. So I am guessing my rating is a little biased. Maybe I would give it a 4 if I had not read the previous one.
Profile Image for Marijan Šiško.
Author 1 book63 followers
January 24, 2020
Ne štedi ih, baš ih ne štedi. Doduše, ne ubija svoje likove ako se baš ne mora, ali sve drugo im natrpa, pa nek se snalaze. Mislio sam uzeti pauzu nakon ove knjige, ali pak idem još jednu...
Profile Image for JHollywood .
67 reviews2 followers
January 17, 2020
Feel like im always saying the same things. With every book the risk get greater, the power gets stronger, the consequences become bigger and greater and a lot more interesting. Truly, with every new book the story gets larger and bigger. The events and results have a lot more impact on a lot more then previous. Plus I always love new and old coming together and making the results that much more fun. Dresden is a fucking bad ass and I can’t wait to continue with the series. The scale and scope is constantly increasing and your starting to see the fallout from previous books and the accumulation of threads starting to weave together.
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