My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While I enjoyed the last few Dresden Files, they made me worry what path we were going down. Not so in Skin Game. This felt like old school Harry Dresden. Okay technically it's probably 4.5 since I had a couple reservations but really, I don't mind rounding up. This was a great deal of fun.
There is one thing Butcher does very well. He's good at slapping a time limit on the plot and the action is nearly non-stop, sometimes almost too much so. Harry has been tapped by Mab to repay a favor to Nicodemus, one of the Denarians, a human who has taken up one of the 31 pieces of silver from Judas and has invited a fallen angel inside. In fact, Nic has crossed paths with Harry and they pretty much want each other dead.
Harry is without a choice in this. If he refuses, Mab will kill him. If he agrees, Nic is likely to do the same once the job is over. To top if off, in three days the thing in Harry's head is going to kill him anyhow.
The only redeeming thing is that Harry sees Mab has left him wiggle room. He can't bring her shame but who's to say he can't deal with Nicodemus once the job is over? So Harry finds himself on a job with any number of disreputable characters, Binder who can pull goons from the NeverNever, Hannah who is a fire mage, Grey the shapeshifter, Valmont (another one from Harry's past), a thief, a freaking Big Foot from hell and Deirdre, Nic's demonic daughter.
All Harry has on his side is Karrin. Even Butters is wary of him, especially after Harry has spent a year on Demonreach Island as its caretaker without sending word to anyone more or less (he has but Mab's been playing games).
Mild spoilers here. Stuff happens Butters screws up and Michael takes up his sword of faith again and joins Harry. Actually the stuff that happened was one of my reservations. It felt like one step too far but honestly Michael is the one the story needed. But the thing that bugged me was the whole 'I can't tell you stuff' which created the drama. That's a pet peeve of mine.
With Michael watching his back, Harry has to follow Nicodemus and his crew first into a bank vault owned by his old nemesis, Marcone and then straight into Hades to rob its owner.
THis was a wild, enjoyable ride. Butters redeems himself (you'll have to read this and see how. It's worth it).
My other reservations (again mild spoilers): No Thomas. At all. A couple mentions and this bothers me a little. We really haven't seen much of him since the really big horrible thing happened to him a handful of books ago. He gets mentioned here and there (including in this) but we really haven't seen much of him. Thoughts: Butcher is planning something for Harry and Thomas down the road (and it might not be good), he's written himself into a corner with Thomas and the bad crap that went down. Still it seemed he wasn't there at all for the wrap up at least given all that happens.
Molly is the other reservation. I would have a real issue with her and Harry (at this time. You know, 40 years from now when they're still kicking around and everyone else is gone I might be less bothered). And in the last two books I was afraid of it going there. Even here there was a slight push to that but it would really bug me to see that with Michael still around and especially when Harry half-raised her as a teen (points to my caveat). I was pretty relieved when the ending veered to exactly where I've been hoping it would go for years.
And I have to admit I was a tad disappointed that with all the Greek gods roaming around and what was really going on with Harry's skull that NO ONE (Harry especially) made a single Athena joke.
View all my reviews