2/23 : I haven’t touched a Dresden novel since the release of the previous volume in 2014, so before cracking open Peace Talks had to look up recaps for Skin Game and Cold Days to refresh my memory. As it’s been several years, I had forgotten how quickly the stakes are introduced and Harry is thrown into the fire but this book seems to have a ridiculous amount on his plate right off the bat. As I sit here writing, I’m not certain I can list all the things he is supposed to accomplish/ has going on. I’m going to give it a try and will update later on how well I did.
1 – Harry is to provide security at the Peace Accords as a Warden of the White Council of Wizards
2 – He is also to serve as liaison for the Winter Court at the Peace Accords
3 – He has to do two deeds for Lara Raith, leader of the White Court vampires, that she can ask for at any time (though to be fair these might not happen in this book or Battle Ground)
4 – He has to solve why his brother made an assassination attempt 4B -Figure out how to save his brother from being executed
5 – Find a new safe house for him and Maggie
6 – Discover why Outsiders targeted and attacked him <I initially stopped here and then before hitting save remembered #7>
7 – Deal with being investigated by the Chicago PD for what he was doing at the site of a murder and property destruction (from the last book)
2/24 : New item added to Dresden’s list, 8 – Deal with the Wardens of the White Council being suspicious of his activities in the past 24 hours (plus forever)
At this point I’m 161 pages into the book, out of 340, and assume that all (most?) of this is actually going to be resolved on some level in the follow up Battle Ground because there certainly is not enough room left in Peace Talks. But good grief, is it my faulty memory or is this more than usual that Butcher has thrown at Dresden?
3/4 : This ‘review as I go’ idea fell off the rails quite quickly but then again these aren’t very long books and once I’m engaged, are quite quick reading. As a result, I’m returning to this review after having already read the subsequent book, Battle Ground.
First, I got all the plots points correctly and didn’t miss any when I made the list! Peace Talks has layers going on but they get crushed with the arrival of an apocalypse (small a, and I shudder to think of what an Apocalypse is considering what happens in Battle Ground). Impressively, or perhaps not considering how Butcher writes, his stories tend to move at a brisk pace, many of the above mentioned tasks are resolved/addressed by the end of Peace Talks.
1 – Resolved, 2 – Resolved, 3 – Resolved, 4 – Unresolved 4B – Temporarily resolved, 5 – Temporarily resolved, 6 – Unresolved, 7 – Most likely not relevant anymore, 8 – Unresolved
I love how quippy Dresden is and his taunting of Big Bads, it’s one of the reason I adore the series. Dresden’s snark is on typical full display but my favorite quote of the book isn’t snarky at all,
But there’s a deeper meaning to home. Something simpler, more primal… It’s where you sleep, safe. It’s where you relax. It’s where you dream. Home is where you embrace the present and plan the future. It’s where the books are.“
Yes! Yes! Home is where the books are! My soul cried out in affirmation at that sentence. I have had the good fortune to meet Jim Butcher at a couple of events and this seems to be a genuine statement from his own heart.
What I didn’t like was Dresden’s preoccupation with sex, this was something other Cannonballer reviewers brought up. Dresden comes across as a horny, sex obsessed individual. This is attributed to the mantle of Winter that he has as Winter’s Knight. However, it’s kind of distracting to the story at hand. For instance, I’m tired of hearing how Dresden is attracted to Molly as the Winter Lady, but knows he shouldn’t be because of her age and the power discrepancy between them from when he was her magic teacher. The whole thing is icky.
What I do appreciate is how Dresden and Murphy’s romance is finally given some time. It is clear that they have both admitted to themselves the depth of feelings they have for each other and are finally able to reveal it. After so many books of them being partners and admiring each other at arms distance, this was a lovely interlude.