Most of this book is muchly good, but I do have one substantial complaint. But more on that later.
As I re-read this series, I continue to enjoy it much more than I did the first time through. I’m not going to rehash why (combo of knowing all the characters now and where they end up, along with catching things I didn’t the first time through). Just assume the same things I’ve said for books four through seven also apply here.
Most of this book is spent with Harry adjusting to his new role as Warden of the White Council, and trying to find out who is responsible for letting monsters who prey on fear loose at a horror convention. Molly makes a return appearance, and she and her friends are mixed up in it somehow, which brings Harry back into the lives of Michael and Charity and their family. Harry has been avoiding Michael successfully for two years now. He’s too ashamed to face his friend (and knight of the holy cross) with a demon hitching a ride in his head.
Along with Molly, who it seems has magic, comes a lot of Harry’s baggage. He has a responsibility to the White Council now to track down and deal with practitioners of black magic, but he also remembers being that scared kid with a black bag on his head, just a hair’s breadth away from having his severed head laying in a pool of blood on the floor of some dank warehouse. Murphy and Harry also have a conversation about their possible romantic future, both of them coming to the conclusion that it couldn’t work between them. I didn’t remember this conversation happening, honestly, so it was refreshing how adult they both were about it. The climactic battle at Arctis Tor was intense, and the visit to Faerie suitably creepy and harrowing.
My one issue was the Molly thing near the end. I get that Molly is going through a rebellious phase right now, and she has a major crush on Harry, and I get what Butcher is going for. It’s just, his version of it unnecessarily sexualizes Molly. It’s not that I’m opposed to Molly trying to seduce Harry, but the way Butcher executes it (from Harry’s perspective) was a little over the top. Also, he just notices way too much about her. I don’t understand why he can’t just gloss over some of it. He never skips a fucking detail when it comes to describing women’s bodies in sexual situations, and it is oh so tiresome.
I’m actually reading the next one right now, so I’m sure my review of it will be arriving shortly. Molly will go back to just being a teenaged girl in that one, thank god.