Monthly Archives: October 2020

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Changes

Changes by Jim Butcher

Changes (The Dresden Files, #12) by Jim Butcher (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s review

This explosive twelfth book in The Dresden Files series begins as Harry’s lost love, Susan, returns from self-exile to deliver the news that first, Harry’s a father, and second, that the daughter they had together has been kidnapped.

While I have read this particular volume in the past, I have been faithfully going through the series in order this year, and so I picked up a number of points and details that would have been lost on me before.

As readers of the series would know, the former reporter for the tabloid Midwestern Arcane was caught and turned into a half vampire years earlier when following Harry into a dangerous situation.  After, she left Chicago, and Harry, to join a South American group of individuals, like herself, who managed to resist the bloodlust that would complete their transformations into full vampires.

Before Susan and Harry can attempt to sort through their issues, they have to locate their daughter, Maggie, who has been taken by the Red Court vampires, to be used as a human sacrifice in a blood ritual that could have devastating consequences.  A timely visit from Harry’s godmother, a faery of the Winter Court, grants Harry a piece of his mother’s legacy just in time to help locate Maggie and provide a means of travelling across continents in a very short time.

When the White Council appears not ready to intervene, desperation leads Harry to seek assistance from the least likely of allies; Johnnie Marcone, and Queen Mab of Winter included.

In a series replete with epic climatic battles, this book stands out because the stakes, the assembled cast, and the overwhelming odds still fail to prepare the reader for the surprising revelations in this ultimate battle of good vs. evil in Butcher’s universe.  Following the conclusion with a stunning last-page murder is almost over the top and makes this reader wonder why? How? Who? And when can I get a copy of the next book in the series?

I would recommend this book to any reader of paranormal, urban and fantasy stories, as well as those who enjoy action and epic stories.  While reading prior books in the series is not necessary for enjoyment, there are a number of details the casual reader may overlook, such as the long-standing relationships Harry has with a number of recurring characters and the lore Butcher has specifically developed for this vast universe. I award this latest effort five stars and plan to read the rest of the series, including books #16 and 17 that were just released, as soon as I have time.

Series Review: Penny Dreadful

Where is the Cast of "Penny Dreadful" Today?
The main cast of Penny Dreadful are most series about their mission.

If you’re looking for something different to watch through the witching season, check out Penny Dreadful, currently available on Netflix.  Only three seasons long, this series, which was originally produced for Showtime, takes its title from a style of 19th century British sensational literature known for fanciful and lurid plots.

Join the ensemble cast of misfits from all walks of Victorian society as they uncover the mysteries behind the disappearance of one’s daughter, and the secrets of a group of hunters who only come out at night.  The group will face horrors and trials as they encounter supernatural events that come straight from the classic literary monsters that originated in the era.

Penny Dreadful Sequel Cast Adds Original Series Actor Rory Kinnear – /Film
Who is the real monster, Dr. Frankenstein or his creation?

Over the subsequent episodes, we are introduced to Mina Harker’s father, played by Timothy Dalton; Dr. Frankenstein and his “children, played principally by Rory Kinnear and Billie Piper;” Dorian Grey; Dr. Jekyll; a clairvoyant woman who is stalked by the devil, played by Eva Green; a werewolf or two; and a band of witches.

As the series continues, the audience is treated to a set of divergent plots that sometimes only include a few of the players at a time, with story lines that lead to further development of character, and events that when allowed to converge later, bring the whole cast together for an exciting conclusion.  This is especially notable in the final season, where half the cast were situated in America for half of the episodes, only returning to England at the dire urging of one newer character that portended a climatic and dangerous outcome if they did not swiftly stop it.

While the characters are exciting enough, the focus is not on the “monsters” themselves, but the true nature of good and evil.  The series as it continues, illustrates the point that human nature means we all have the potential to be either good or bad, depending on the choices we make.  Perhaps tellingly, sometimes the “monsters” are more human, more compassionate than their creators in this psychological thriller.

This show, which originally aired in 2014, also recently spawned a short-lived “sequel” called Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, which focused more on Mexican supernatural myths and was centered in 1930s San Francisco.

Penny Dreadful is an excellent choice for viewers who love classic movie monsters, Victorian-era thrillers, and those who just want good scare as Halloween is just around the corner.  Check it out!