Still like this book a lot, but I didn’t love it quite as much this time around. It is by far the longest book in the series, so maybe that has something to do with it. Also, I did hard copy this time around and not audio, and James Marsters brings so much to his narration, I know that would have influenced my reading of it the first time.
So (spoilers for all previous Dresden Files books ahead) Harry is fresh from his death coma, and in PT with Mab, of all people. Finally about a year after he was shot, he’s back in Chicago, with his first official mission from Mab as the Winter Knight, and it’s to kill her psychotic daughter, Maeve, the Winter Lady. No context, Harry, no reasons. Just figure it out, and try not die. Meanwhile, Demonreach (the island Harry is a warden of) turns out to be a very powerful prison for magical evil from the dawn of time, and it’s about to blow. Are these things connected? (Yes, methinks they are.)
Harry has a lot going on in this book. He’s got to deal with being alive again, facing his friends and family (or not facing them, in several particular instances) knowing what he’s done in the past, and what he may do in the future. And he’s got to deal with the inescapable fact that with the job duties and powers of the mantle of the Winter Knight of the Unseelie Court, also comes with major downsides: Aggression, violence, anger, a need to control, and a heaping spoonful of toxic masculinity. Harry is terrified that his new job is going to turn him into a monster, and he won’t be able to do anything to stop it.
A lot of really nifty stuff happens in this book. As per the usual, Harry’s life is a nonstop assassination attempt of one type or another, but along the way, he gets to be awesome as well. And the other characters around him shine. Butters, Andi, Murphy, Molly, and Thomas in particular here get spots in the limelight. Even Toot-toot has grown (literally). One of the smartest things Butcher ever did was having Harry stop being a loner and give him a support system.
Only one book left in my re-read. Perhaps magically once I finish, and get a copy of Brief Cases, the new Dresden short fiction collection, Peace Talks will finally have a release date. You might say this is magical thinking, but I did the same thing with the Cormoran Strike books, and BOOM, release date for #4.