by Jim Butcher
The noise was deafening, and no one could have heard me anyway as I let out my own battle cry, which I figured was worth a shot. What the hell.
“I don’t believe in faeries!”
Book 4 of the Dresden Files, this one follows our wizard as he tries to uncover the motives for a high profile magical murder, which in turn reveals a plot to pit the summer faeries against the winter faeries in a battle that would tear the world to pieces.
This book begins, and stays for quite some time, in a world of political intrigue with very little action as the stage is set for the story. The writing was fine throughout the book, but it wasn’t until near the second half of the story that Mr. Butcher picks the pace back up to that for which we recognize him best. From this point on the tale proceeds at the normal, breakneck speed as the mystery gives way to action and pyrotechnics.
Harry Dresden is a wreck from the events of the preceding novels. He’s always been an underdog. At least in his mind he’s always lost, and this has taken its toll as he wallows in misery–even more so than usual. He does, however, perk up when there’s a job to do, everyone’s lives are on the line, and he has no hope of winning once again. It’s kind of like The Rockford Files–he can’t win but he’s a good guy and good guys keep trying despite the constant beatings from adversaries.
This time he’s actually paralyzed by politics of the magical world. It’s probably Mr. Butcher’s attempt to add more serious, complicated and plot-bending mystery elements into a story fairly early in his career, and it works but bogs down somewhat in the first half. It’s a positive direction the author is taking and surely is further polished and streamlined throughout the long-running series.
Summer Knight is another good book that has plenty of the sly witticisms and ironic humor of the earlier works, but its attempt at a more complicated plot seem to slow it down slightly in the beginning.