Read: 14 July, 2014
Thomas the White Court vampire makes a reappearance when he asks Dresden to help protect a porn movie director from a dangerous entropy curse. Meanwhile, Mavra of the Black Court vampires has returned, and she’s out to kill Dresden.
After the last few books, it was nice to see Harry move away from the “save the world from imminent destruction” plotline and instead focus on the “save Harry from imminent destruction” model. There are only so many times in a row that I can keep up my suspension of disbelief in the face of world destruction that can only be averted by one person.
Unfortunately, the Mavra subplot felt a little tacked on. I think Butcher felt it was necessary to pad out a central plot that really didn’t have too much substance to it (readers – and even Dresden himself – immediately suspect the correct baddies) and as an excuse to bring in Ebenezer to speak to the personal reveals that occur in the book, but the plot itself does very little. Harry is attacked, he fends off his initial attacker, decides to go on the offensive, does so, kills the baddie, oops but did he really? So, in the end, Mavra came and went with no impact in the story (except for an injury that may or may not be important later in subsequent books, and a couple of reveals that really could have been made through other means).
The personal reveals are clichés, but Butcher handles them well by doing the literary equivalent of having large neon signs on them reading: “Hey, look, a cliché! Right here! Isn’t this just sooo trite? Haha!” It works. Over and over again, I reached for a grown and pulled out a chuckle instead.
The series is getting more interesting now that there is an expanded cast of characters, and they’re all amassing a fair bit of depth. This book, in particular, felt like a pause in the action to focus on moving character arcs forward. Unfortunately, both major plotlines felt forced, coming into play just so that Harry can have his big personal reveals. Even so, and even with the occasional sloppiness (how many breakfasts does Harry need in one day?), it was a fun read.
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