Last night I did the particularly stupid, but not altogether unrealistic, thing and stayed up way, way too late to finish Jim Butcher’s latest, little piece of addiction-fuel, Skin Game.
Set about a year after the end of Cold Days, Harry Dresden is given an offer he can’t refuse by Mab: to help one of Harry’s worst enemies, one Nicodemus Archleone, Knight of the Blackened Denarius, or else. It seems that back in the day Nicky did some work for Mab and now he’s calling in the favor because he needs the particular talents of Mab’s Winter Knight and wouldn’t you just know it that it puts Dresden over several barrels.
Skin Game is a pretty entertaining read, a well-paced caper story that introduces a cast of character made up of past friends and foes of Harry’s. The action is the usual Butcher/Dresden-levels and all the standard Dresden-isms are there: one-liners, movie quotes, Harry getting ridiculously injured but still able to keep on keeping on.
It’s not a perfect story. The ending, to me, felt like it suffered from some time dilation issues (i.e. a character leaves much earlier than other people but other characters, who I don’t think were able to move as fast and were delayed, are able to beat them to a location). I’m hoping Butcher addresses the grave amounts of harm that Dresden has been suffering through these many books (i.e. as soon as the mantle of the Winter Knight leaves him Harry collapses into a puddle of perpetual agony from the many, many broken bones and scars he’s collected). Also, a particular issue introduced in Cold Days is wrapped up a little too neatly and also off-camera, something I find particularly irksome.
However, overall it’s a good book and a much better book than Ghost Story and it’s on par with Cold Days. There were some truly touching moments that hit me right in the feels and we got some honest to god character development and growth in a number of characters.
Also, without giving away the details, there’s a particular plot in the book that definitely reminded me of that time that Cartman made some kid eat his parents. Just…just seriously messed up.
If you like Harry Dresden I recommend Skin Game.