In Chicago, someone has been killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry Dresden’s half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling’s name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too…
As far as I am concerned this is one of the better Dresden books. It has a fairly straightforward story without too many bizarre twists, Harry is a real badass and he does not put his foot in a string of obvious traps. Well, he does put his foot in a few traps, it is Harry after all, but at least he is going about it in a somewhat more intelligent way than he often did in the past.
Although I wrote that the story was straightforward that does not mean that it is simple and uninspired. It is a well developed story and it does have a twist or two. However it is straightforward in that it starts at point A and methodically works itself towards the goal at point B and when it twists the twist are logical and well done. Okay, we are dealing with urban fantasy and magic here so “logical” should be considered in that context.
Harry is dealing out some serious pain in this instalment and I am not talking about his jokes. He is very far from the wimpy person he was in the first couple of novels in this series. He have some friends to help him with the pain distribution as well. The end result is a fairly spectacular showdown between the good guys (yes that is Harry & Co even though some of the Co might not entirely classify as all that good) and the bad ones.
Of course the book is not all magical mayhem. The somewhat perverse talking skull is back of course. So is Harry’s new apprentice who is going through some character development. Harry’s relationship with his daemon, Lasciel, is also developing although I would not say it was all for the good. Then we have Thomas of whom we get a few revelations. That was one I did not see coming.
If I should complain about something it was Harry’s somewhat asinine behavior towards some people. Yes they are not really the good guys but they were helping him so he could really have kept his mouth a bit more in check on a couple of occasions.
As I wrote, one of the better books in the series with a good mix of humor, investigative work, character development and violent action. I was not convinced after the first couple of book but now I am glad that I stuck to this series.