Some Big Ideas Get Messy - 3.5 Stars
The 10th installment of the Dresden files is a story of two book (well, three if you are counting storylines). Jim Butcher was flexing his storytelling muscles with what was probably his most complicated plot. I have said it many times in my reviews of the previous 9 books and I will say it again. While the Dresden Files may not be my favorite UF Series and while Jim Butcher may not be the best writer of UF, I think he stands alone as the best UF Storyteller. Despite some failings in this installment, the story is fresh and the series chugs along.
To this point, the plot in Small Favor
is the most complex yet. Three major plotlines are at work, and as usual, all the plotlines are out for Harry's destruction. The story begins with the Wicked Mab calling on Harry to fulfil one of his two remaining favors. Marcone, the gentleman mobster, has gone missing and Mab requires a small favor. Rescue Marcone as Winter's champion and one more debt will be paid. The second plotline has Harry running from the multiple assassination attempts of the Summer Court. For a reason not immediately known to Harry, he is in their crosshairs and he is forced to dodge the cloven hooves of the Gruff Brothers. The third plotlines plots Harry against his old nemesis Nicodemus and the Denarians. When the plotlines converge there is mayhem, swordplay, wailing and gnashing of teeth and one delicious donut. Seriously, there coffee and donuts involved.
The Good No Lone Cowboy
Jim Butcher continues to move away from Harry the Lone Cowboy motif. I enjoy reading about Harry fighting with a group. Harry goes to battle with the biggest supporting cast and when the fight is on, it is pretty spectacular. That said.... Awesome Battle Scenes
When Harry is involved, things tend to explode or burst into flames. This is book is no exception. There is a great fight scene that takes place in the Shedd Aquarium. As best as I can tell, no dolphins were harmed in the writing the scene. The final battle scene may be one of my favorites. It was a great setting, a great cast of character and pretty darn exciting. Seriously people, watch where you are going if you ever sail on lake Michigan!
The Bad Confusion
This was the biggest downfall of the story. While the plotlines meshed nicely at the end, the storylines were not always clear and made for a busy and cluttered story. While the plotline with the Gruff Brothers provided some fun and a bit of action, it seemed unnecessary and slowed the story. Unknown Characters
My wife claims from time to time that I do not pay attention to what I am doing. Actually, it may be that my parents, teachers and a host of other people have been saying that since I was a toddler. Several characters were introduced that Harry seemed to know quite well and with whom he had shared some experiences. It may have been that the appeared in other books. If that is the case, at least clue the reader into this fact. If not, give us a bit of background. Again, this left me confused at time. Final Thoughts
The roughly written plot left me wanting more but the superb ending and battle scene left me giving the book a thumbs up in the end. Ten books and I still want to read more about Harry. This is quite an accomplishment and a testament to authors skill.
Audiobook Notes Content Advisories
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest
Sex - 2.5
Harry usually has little time for sex. If he is not dodging fireballs and lightning, he is usually too tired or too beat up for carnal pleasures. This time around Harry does get a bit frisky in midst of his current crisis. That said, there are two scene that are only low to moderately graphic with some discussion on the subject at a later time.
Language - 2.5
As usual, the author keeps adult language to a minimum. There is low usage of the religious exclamations (mostly because one of God's warriors is with Harry and he frown of using God's name is vain :) and low usage of other minor adult language. I did notice a higher usage of the f-word than in previous books which resulted in a higher grading.
Violence - 4
There is plenty of magical and gun related violence throughout the book. While the quantity of violence may be high, it tends not be graphic in nature. It is only rarely gory or bloody.