Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the sixteenth book in the Dresden Files series, the tale of Harry Dresden, Chicago wizard. It's the first book to appear following a six-year gap, and the next book in the series, Battle Ground, was released just two months after this one. (Which is a good thing, as this book ends on a HUGE cliffhanger. If I hadn't known the next volume was already available, I would have cursed the author and slammed the book against the wall.)
The strength of the series has always been its worldbuilding, followed by its characters. The world Butcher has built is rich and deep, with characters and events from the earlier books echoing down the line. One thing I noticed about this book is that Harry is, for lack of a better word, growing up a bit--he's accepting the weighty responsibilities he carries, he's working out how to be a father to his newly-discovered daughter Maggie, and he's putting together an adult relationship with Karrin Murphy. He's always been loyal, almost to a fault, and that character trait is stretched to the limit here as he has to save his half-brother Thomas, who has inexplicably tried to assassinate the leader of the svartalves. Harry and crew manage to extricate Thomas from their clutches, but everything is abruptly upended as a new, more powerful threat reveals itself.
I'm actually glad this story was split between this book and Battle Ground. This book is a bit shorter than a typical Dresden Files entry, but I think it benefits. The book is tightly written, and the pacing flows well. One caveat: this is NOT the place to start with this series; unless you've read the past few books, you won't have any idea what's going on. This is one of the better (and one of the few remaining) urban fantasy series out there, and it's hard to go wrong with it.
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