My interest in Shakespeare came from watching a Duran Duran video when I was in the 8th grade. The song was Waiting for the Nightboat, and watching it led me to reading Romeo & Juliet for the first time. Who was this Queen Mab? And why was Simon LeBon so afraid of her? Junior High me needed to know.
All of this came back to me while listening to my Audible boyfriend James Marsters read Summer Knight to me last week.
In the fourth installment of the Dresden Files, we find our friend Harry still struggling with the loss of Susan, who has left town. Harry is working non-stop to find a potential cure for her vampirism, and has been ignoring work, friends, housekeeping, and hygiene. He’s a disaster, and has little to show for it.
He meets a new client, who turns out to be the one and only Mab, Winter Queen of the Sidhe, and it seems that she has purchased his services from his godmother in the Never Never. She tells him that if he does three favors for her, she will release him from his debt, and she asks him to solve a murder investigation for her, of a local artist named Ronald Ruehl.
It turns out that Ruehl was the acting Summer Knight, working for the Summer Court and the Summer Queen, Titania, as well as the Summer Lady, Aurora. His mantle was stolen, leading to a potential shift in power in the Fairy universe.
And so Harry, along with a rag-tag bunch of werewolves, pixies, and changelings, travels across the Chicago of our world, as well as the Chicago of the Fairy world, to find answers.
Meanwhile, the wizard court is still pissed at Harry about what happened between him and the vampires at the end of Grave Peril, and aren’t very excited about helping him out in his quest. Most of them would rather see Harry dead or expelled from the rest of the wizards.
I really enjoyed this one, even though, at times, I had no idea what was going on. I’ve mentioned previously that Marsters’ narration is a bit hypnotic, and at times I lose myself while he’s talking and I’m driving, and that I’ll miss a minute or two of detail. I can’t help it! His voice is mesmerizing.
I love Harry hanging out with Billy and the rest of the werewolves. I enjoyed the little pizza eating pixies. I was glad to know more about Harry’s youth — about Ebenezar and Elaine and what happened to Justin. I liked the world’s created both above and below Chicago, where the Fairies ruled. I liked the new changeling characters (poor Meryl). And I was happy to see Murph back in bad-ass action.
But it wasn’t all good. I really didn’t care for Elaine. I didn’t buy how quickly Harry solved the mystery regarding the stolen mantle. There wasn’t nearly enough Bob in this book. And it drove me crazy when I was listening that I couldn’t differentiate James Marsters saying Mab or Maeve, which was a lot.
Hells bells, the bottom line is that this book was much more fun than the previous three. And I look forward to letting James tell me more about Harry and the magical world of Chicago.