As I mentioned a few days ago, I just got Butcher's latest Dresden novel; last night I finished it.
It was a lot different than his earlier novels. It starts out with us finding out that Dresden died from what happened at the end of the previous novel. Despite the title (yeah, I felt a little stupid), I didn't see that coming. I had figured that something would save him, although I didn't have any idea what.
One thing that I found different about Changes was that it stripped much of Dresden's support magic. The books leading up to that had been a pretty steady progression of accumulation of new powers and new toys. Changes managed to destroy most of those toys, giving him only temporary replacements for most of them.
Well, Ghost Story took it one step further; being dead, Harry didn't even really have access to his magic. He started out as a ghost that no one could even see or hear. But he still needs to find a way to help his friends and protect his town. Oh, and the most important part is that he needs to figure out who killed him. No sweat, right?
This book felt quite a bit different from the earlier novels; largely due to Harry's ectoplasmic state and lack of ability to directly affect things, there was significantly less action. Hmm... maybe that's not the best way to put it. There was still an awful lot of action, but it was less... immediate, I guess. It felt more introspective, as well. We got some more of Harry's back-story, and to see Lea more. We also ended up with a bit of a new perspective on Changes, which was welcome.
And we got to see a lot more of a couple of minor support characters. In fact, a very surprising one of those characters ended up playing the hero, and saving many people (perhaps a good chunk of the world).
Oh, and an important phrase to remember that will hint at a lot of what's driving the plot: nature abhors a vacuum.
I'm curious to see where the next book starts; character issues would seem to push for little or no gap, while magical issues would seem to push for a significant gap (giving Harry time to build up more of his old supports, in new and improved form). I'm very curious to see how things end up between Harry and Karrin, and between Harry and Molly. There are lots of different directions for those relationships to go. I wish we weren't going to need to wait most of a year to find out.
(Oh yeah, and I actually thought that the book should have ended a chapter or two earlier than it did. Harry had to choose between two paths; he took the one that he obviously would, but I thought the book should have ended where he made the choice. It would have given us a lot less insight into where things were going to go in the next book (for better and for worse).