When the Dresden files began with “Storm Front,” Harry was a private detective and the only openly working professional wizard in Chicago. Then he became a warden for the white council, fought all kinds of supernatural monsters, including the Red Court, and recently he was dead. Now in book 15, “Skin Game,” he is the warden of the island Demonreach, and oh yeah, also the reluctant knight of winter court. What great story progression.
From the previous book, “Cold Days,” we know Harry has a parasite in his head and its threatening to end his life. Now Mab, the queen of the winter court, and Harry’s boss, is using his infirmity as leverage to get him to do a job. She’s loaned him out to one of his most hated foes, Nicodemus Archleone and the Denarians. Having done battle with Nicodemus before Harry knows he has his hands full; but locked and loaded with his usual nonstop smartmouth commentary and banter Harry is ready to fulfill his obligation and at the same time thwart his old enemy’s plans. Harry will need the help of his friends, although Thomas and Molly do not make an appearance we get a lot of Murphy, Michael and Butters, and he must use all of his cunning to get him and his friends out of this story intact.
I did like the development of the characters, notably “Butters,” and, as usual, there are plot twists. Some loose ends from the previous books are tied up with others left hanging; but this is “The Dresden Files,” and, if you’re like me, am glad that Jim Butcher always leaves us wanting more.
A note about the narrator; if you’re wondering whether to read the book or listen to this audio, James Marsters is Harry Dresden; his voice inflections captures the clever wit and subtle nuances of the character perfectly.
79 of 82 people found this review helpful
A great installment on the Dresden files. Characters grow and change, adding to the rich world Butcher has built. Harry is faced with an even more impossible task, and finds allies old and new to help him. Throughout, he examines large problems and small, exploring what it means to have power and what to do with it. There are also some completely awesome stand-up-and-cheer moments you won't want to miss!
Long live Sir Harry Dresden!
26 of 28 people found this review helpful
Skin games is the 15th book in the Dresden Files series and a solid addition to the franchise. After fourteen books you might think that Harry has done just about everything a wizard in the 21st century can do. But things just keep coming at him that we or he don't see on the horizon. Sort of like running aground in the middle of the ocean on a cruise liner with all charts showing open seas. (Could Harry's ability to knock out modern equipment, bring down an ocean liner during a honeymoon cruise?)
Once again James Marsters demonstrates his voice acting ability to bring Harry Dresden's world into living, breathing, characters that make you care about them. James Marsters is the voice of the Dresden Files - at least in 14 out of the 15 audio books. In each he adds depth to the characters - making them come to life in our earphones. Demonstrating the depth of this acting skills by playing all the parts and making us not only believe all of them, but care about them. I first took notice of him as 'Spike' in the 2nd season of the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". His screen presents took what was to be a bit part to a major character in the 7th and final seasons and then, on the the Buffy spinoff Angel.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
So this is a very good Harry Dresden novel, and a very good Harry Dresden novel is something to celebrate. Butcher continues to be able to increase the stakes and keep a sprawling plot moving after 15 books, while still giving us characters to care about and even a few scenes that caused my eyes to well up (must have been allergies). Still, this is a very good Dresden novel, following a few that I might consider to be great, hence the four stars, rather than five.
Why? Well, while the main plot of the novel (Dresden in the supernatural version of a classic heist movie) is exciting and propulsive as ever, a few things drag down the book a bit. First, the novel takes a bit longer to get going than usual, and much of that time is spent rehashing philosophic questions that have been more urgently and better addressed in previous books: Harry's friends worrying about him turning bad, Harry worries about turning bad, and so on. Don't get me wrong, these are Big Themes in Butcher's books and Butcher still handles them well, but they are less earned in this novel, and especially the first half, and it weighs the book down a little.
Additionally, the plotting here, while still very good, is missing some of the sharpness of previous books. On the plus side, Harry's personal life advances in satisfying ways. The main story, however, requires even more deus ex machina than usual to resolve itself, which makes some of the cliffhangers a bit cheap (though a couple of the reveals are terrific, and very much in the heist movie theme). Add this to the fact that there are some strange absences from the novel of key characters who you would expect to be in it, and the fact that the meta-plot barely advances in the novel, and you get a Dresden Files entry that, while still fun, may not be quite as vital to the series as the 2-3 before it.
The reading is spectacular, and nothing actually goes off the rails, so I was very satisfied with the book. This may not be the best in the series, but it is still very good, and, obviously, a must for any fan.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
I stumbled onto Storm Front four years ago and was immediately hooked. Since devouring the first dozen books, I have waited with the rest of Butcher’s readers in anticipation of the next book in the series. After the last few books, I was not sure where the series could go, but Jim has done it without losing the feel of the characters or this series.
Skin Game includes some of my favorite characters including Murphy, Michael and Butters. You even get a chance to spend some time with Mouse.
Marsters is an amazing narrator and as always he does a fantastic job capturing the sarcastic nature that makes Harry one of my favorite characters in fiction.
Jim ends this book with some very interesting avenues for Harry’s next adventure. Now all can do is wait, and maybe go back and listen to the last few books again. A must buy If you enjoy Dresden.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Jim Butcher does urban fantasy right. If you don't agree with that statement, you should just stop reading this review. In this most recent entry into the Dresden Files, Butcher is on his A game. He foreshadows future plots and ties up loose ends and unties ends we thought were forever tied up. This is a quality heist novel with all the standard players and it just works. Marsters is on his A game as well and no one else should EVER do the audio for a DF book.
I laughed, I cried, I want book 16 right now.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful