My rating: ★★★★★
Read From: 05 January 2014 – 08 January 2014
This story opens pretty much where the last one left off. Harry Dresden is living with his half-brother, Thomas. He’s discovering that the family he always wanted comes with a price — putting up with the family. He’s still dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional aftereffects of his last magical battles. Unfortunately for Dresden, Chicago now has to deal with several recently arrived necromancers. And that means that Harry has to deal with them.
Because of the way that the last novel unfolded, I had thought that Butcher was done introducing new magical denizens. I was wrong. The necromancers were definitely new and the story revolved around their not so fun plans. It was a little bit of a different kind of story. Karrin Murphy was absent for this novel and Harry had almost no interaction with the Chicago PD. His principal sidekick, Butters, was a very minor sidekick from a previous story. These changes helped to keep the story fresh and not formulaic.
Throughout the story, Harry constantly has to deal with the effects of the decisions he made during his previous battles. Some were good, some were bad, but all still have to be dealt with and still have lingering consequences. He has his own Fallen angel to deal with, a vampire half-brother, and a puppy.
He also has to deal with his own desire to protect Chicago and has to decide how far he’ll go — what powers he’ll use — to do that. There’s an interesting side effect to having Dresden act as the narrator for these stories. He knows he’s changed, but he doesn’t think he’s changed that much. (Who does?) He’s surprised when his friends start acting afraid of him and worrying that he’s going insane. He comes to realize that his friends have valid concerns. He’s much more magically powerful now than he was at the beginning of the series. And he’s far more willing to dabble in grey, or even black, magics than he ever was before. He’s more dangerous, but is he a worse person? His inner battle defines the story as much as his outer battles do.
This series keeps getting better and better. I love the way the stories continue to be page turners even as real character development takes place.