The Dresden Files #15: Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Read: 11 September, 2016

In this instalment, our intrepid hero is on loan from Mab for a heist. The problem? His new boss is Nicodemus, the host of the fallen angel Anduriel.

I’ve had the audiobook kicking around for a while, and it was hard to actually start listening to it. Even once I did, I almost switched to something else a few minutes in. After fourteen books, I think I may be suffering from a bit of Dresden fatigue. Once I got started, though, the momentum of the story and the familiar characters swept me up and I made it through yet another book.

The series has jumped the shark so many times, and Dresden’s litany of acquired roles is becoming ridiculous. I know that this series is a cash cow for Butcher, and I know that many people (myself included, sometimes) are comforted by being able to revisit the same familiar characters over and over again – they become like old friends, and there’s an appeal to being able to check in with them every so often, see what they’re up to. But, at the same time, I wish the series would end, already. I know we’re building to an Arch Big Bad, and I’d really like to see that happen in my lifetime. Before Harry becomes head of the White Council, is elected to join the angels, and is promoted to Winter Queen.

As for the book itself, it’s fairly run-of-the-mill Dresden. The difference, here, is that there’s a twist ending. The twist requires re-examining what had come earlier in the book and it just doesn’t match up. Dresden’s narration cheats – it tells that X is Y only to reveal at the end that X is actually X and that Dresden knew so all along. He does keep telling us that he’s “playing [his] cards close to his chest,” fine, but we’re supposed to be in his head. His being secretive isn’t supposed to apply to us.

I love this kind of twist in a movie like Fight Club, where you can watch it a second time and realise that it all fits together and makes sense with the new information. Skin Game is not that kind of story. Dresden just straight up cheated. It’s annoying.

I will say this for Skin Game – it’s the first time I’ve seen a Mystical Pregnancy inflicted on a male character! I think I would have just screamed if Butcher had given this to Karen or Charity!

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