November 11, 2014

Review: Skin Game

Skin Game
Skin Game by Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If Jim Butcher were ever to offer a writing class or release a how-to book, I would sign up and/or buy in a heartbeat. This is the fifteenth book in the Dresden Files series (out of a rumored twenty-seven), and not only is the series not sputtering out, it's stronger than ever. This entire series is absolutely a master class in plotting, as often seemingly throwaway aspects and/or characters of the earlier books are brought back into play, and there are real consequences for everything Harry does, consequences that have to be dealt with.

The pivotal book in the series, so far, is no. 12, Changes. In this book, Harry's entire world is turned upside down, and the series takes off in a drastic new direction (although the full ramifications of this don't begin to show until the book before this one, Cold Days). This book is, to me, meatier than its predecessor; for one thing, some of the more...icky...aspects of Harry's turn as the Winter Knight are now under control, and for another, he finally begins to wise up re: Karrin Murphy! In fact, this book's plot, dealing as it does with a very long con game Harry sets up and executes to perfection, shows how much the character has changed--he is now far more prone to thinking before he acts. This is a Good Thing.

But the biggest delight of this book, for me, is a scene that rivals what was up till now my favorite sequence in the entire series: the scene in Dresden Files #9, Dead Beat, when Harry rides Sue the zombie T-Rex into battle. I never thought there would be scene to match that one. Now, there is, and it involves milquetoast mortician Waldo Butters, the broken Sword of Faith, and an absolutely perfect capper: "Mister, where I come from, there is no try."

It's just wonderful, and so is this book. I can't wait to see what Harry does next.

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