SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!! SPOILER ALERT!!!
I’m serious! Do not read any further if you haven’t read this book yet, and are going to.
I mean it!!
At one point, I began to think that Jim Butcher has lost his mind.
Harry Dresden is in a really dark place, right now, and as Skin Game began, I’m not sure I liked it. I got over that feeling by the end of the book, but I’m not sure how much more Dresden can take. He is extremely insecure, at this point, and is even beginning to doubt whether he is one of the good guys, any longer.
In Skin Game, Harry Dresden is forced by Mab (if you’re caught up, you know that Harry is now the Winter Knight, being forced to take that mantle in order to save the life of his daughter–at least I think that’s how it went down) to take on a job for Nicodemus Archleone, one of the really, really, REALLY bad guys.
One of the main reasons that Harry can’t refuse to do this job, is that he seems to have some kind of “parasite” in his head, at least that’s what Mab is telling him. This parasite, he is told, if he refuses, will kill him and then go after his family (meaning Maggie, his daughter). So Harry reluctantly agrees to take on this job. He is allowed to have one person on his team, and of course he chooses Karrin Murphy.
The job? Nothing difficult. Just to break into the Underworld vault of Hades, himself. That’s all. Nicodemus has brought on a large team of people, some of whom Harry knows, and some he doesn’t.
There are parts of this book, to be honest with you, that I hated. I don’t like where Harry is, right now. I also really struggle to visualize Dresden doing “Parkour.” But there are also parts of the book that I really loved, as well, which is why it gets four stars. Harry’s conversation with Hades was nothing short of brilliant. There is the usual excitement, adventure, and action. And one of my favorite characters of the whole series, Michael Carpenter, is a HUGE player in this one.
There was a bit of a deux ex machina toward the end of the big showdown, though. I didn’t mind it, terribly, though. It seemed to serve the purpose. I’m not even sure it’s technically a deux ex machina, either. But it reminded me of some Agatha Christie novels I have read. You know the ones . . . where she brings in information that you had no way of knowing, right at the end of the plot. Butcher would probably be flattered that I’ve just compared him to Agatha Christie.
The part that really caused me to think that Butcher had lost his mind was when we find out what the “parasite” really is. Turns out it’s not really a “parasite” at all. And Mab has been lying through her teeth about it.
At the end of the book, Harry is still the Winter Knight. But he is also comfortable at the Carpenter’s house, with Maggie and Mouse (remember the dog?) alongside him. For now, at least. Oh, yes. And he has Amoracchius.