Title: Skin Games (Dresden Files #15)
Author: Jim Butcher
Price: $27.95 ($16.42-Amazon)
Rating: 4 out of 5/ Double Agent
I find the history of The Dresden Files fascinating, and for those readers who don't know it I'll try to give it a quick sum up. Jim Butcher began writing at age 19 and created 3 original, if not very good, fantasy novels. He then signed up for a writing class and was encouraged to write in a more formulaic manner, with the teacher citing Anita Blake as an example. Frustrated, Jim Butcher wrote a story about a character named Dresden whose manner was consistently sarcastic, and whose story poked fun at every fantasy cliche Butcher could think of. Butcher was once quoted saying,
The resulting book, instead of being the sarcastic jab it was intended to be, went on the become a New York Times best seller. The Dresden Files now has 16 novels, has spurred comics, toys, and was turned into a mini series on the Sci-Fi Network. (Just like Harry Dresden, technology hates me so sorry for the different font, I can't get it to stop.) Anyway, Jim Butcher did make a point about what books sell. I'm just not sure it was the point he was going for...
Harry Dresden has come a long way from his barely functioning, freelance wizard-consulting days. He now has a steady full time job as the Winter Night. And like many of us, he also has a boss that is an insane psychopath who keeps asking for things that are (A) Impossible or (B) totally against any morals you've ever had. This is probably why you may find Harry currently planning a heist to steal the Holy Grail from Hades (God of the freaking Underworld), for his new temporary boss Nicodemus Archleone. And thats only the first few chapters of Skin Game...
I want you to take the next thing I say with a grain of salt because I am a self admitted big fan of the Dresden series. That being said, I usually fill this paragraph up with the complaints I had about a book. But even after playing drums on my laptop keys for 15 minutes, I still couldn't think of much to say. If you like Dresden then I believe this is one of Butcher's best books so far. If you don't like Dresden then you know everything you're not going to like already. Please understand that there has been Dresden books that I have really hated ( just ask me about Ghost Stories, that book was like a highway pileup of plot). But instead of feeling like the series is being dragged on just to bleed me a little more dry, it really feels like there's a ton of story left to tell.
This is an incredible feat for any book that has a #15 after the title. Somehow Butcher is still making us burst out with a shocked giggles by using story plots that are so over the top that they seem to be written during some RPG writer's mad midnight tirade. Yet even when he treads the line between the believable and the over extravagant, the characters in Dresden still feel so human (even when they technically aren't). The struggles of these characters and their interactions are just so well done that the reader begins to unconsciously take these unbelievable scenarios for granted. A huge part of why this strange combination is possible is because of Butcher's gift with dialog. The dialog in these books feel natural, and that sarcastic humor works so well, that reading really become effortless. These books come alive in your head when you are reading them and if you can get your hands on the Audio version it's almost an out of body experience. I was listening to this book while running and a scene started in which a vigilante nerd, riding a magical rocket propelled skateboard escapes a hoard of cloned slender men. This picture was so prominent and crystal clear in my head that I ran into the lift of a parked truck like some sort of drunken par-core runner. So I guess what I am saying is if you decided to go with the audio book version be aware that your eye balls may stop functioning at some points.