Dresden bookverse

New Dresden Files book: obtained! And read!

Skin Game was my on-plane reading for the flight(s) from Tampa to Fairbanks, interspersed with writing fanfic in which characters are stranded in the Canadian wilderness (while flying over the Canadian wilderness). And boy, flying from Tampa to Fairbanks is a LOT OF PLANE. First there was a 1.5 hour hop from Tampa to Atlanta, then a 5.5 hour Atlanta-Seattle flight, then the 3.5-hour Seattle to Fairbanks stage. BUT IT GOT WORSE! We were delayed for 2 1/2 hours in Atlanta (2 1/2 hours of sitting on the plane, because there were mechanical issues that they kept thinking would be resolved quickly, which weren't) so that ended up being 8 hours in the same seat (ow my legs), and I missed my connection in Seattle and ended up being rebooked on a flight that got into Fairbanks at 1:40 a.m. I think that was 19 hours in airports, total? I really needed a distracting book, is what I'm saying.

Luckily I had one.

HARRYMURPHYMICHAELEVERYBODYYYYY. ♥

That was such a hopeful book. This feels like a sort of turning point -- the series has never really been that fluffy, but it's been getting darker and darker since somewhere around Turn Coat, with Thomas's turn to the dark side and Susan's death and Harry's death/haunting/rebirth and the Winter Knight mantle stripping Harry of his humanity.

But, in spite of the general horror show that is Harry's life, things feel tentatively hopeful again. Harry's not as lost as he seemed, Molly's not as lost as she seemed (and seems to be growing into herself as a confident, powerful adult), Harry's not dying, nobody else died, another of the Swords has a wielder, the Carpenters are happy and all Harry's friends still love him ... it just ended on a much more upbeat, "things are finally getting better" note than any of the past few books.

I also couldn't help thinking that, after a couple of books of the Winter Knight mantle dragging Harry down a dark path, the whole situation now reminds me a lot of the way things went after Harry picked up Lasciel's coin -- where it started off looking like Harry was headed darkside, and then Lasciel got swamped in his general Harry-ness: that unique Dresden blend of innate goodness and sheer bloody-minded stubborn. It's starting to kinda feel like the Winter Knight thing is trending in the same direction. Basically, you can't out-stubborn Harry, and he'll die rather than hurt innocent people (usually about once per book, on average). And it seems that Mab, like a number of other antagonists before her, is slowly figuring this out, with grudging respect mingled with a desire to rip his heart out.

(I can't believe it, but I'm kind of starting to ... well, not like Mab, exactly, but appreciate her as a terrifying but fascinating antagonist/ally rather than wanting her to DIAF. And considering the magnitude of some of the things she's done in the past, including basically raping Harry, that's ... rather a shift in perspective.)

OKAY LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OTHER STUFF

LIKE MICHAEL FOR EXAMPLE

While I love a lot of dearly beloved characters in this series (nearly everybody, really, at least on Team Good Guy/Ally), Michael was actually my favorite for several books, until Thomas eclipsed him around book 6 or 7. But I still have a lot of love for him, and the whole scene at the Carpenters' in the middle of the book - eeeeee, I was making socially inappropriate faces in the airport, you guys. Michael quietly preparing to sacrifice himself for his friends: I really, truly thought he was going to die there (and this makes THREE TIMES in the series I've been absolutely convinced Michael was going to die, or had just been killed). And then Uriel's end run around the rules not so much because Michael is a good person, but because Michael is his friend - and Michael taking up the sword again, if only temporarily - and, just, eeeeeee. SQUEENOISES! I missed the Harry and Michael banter/saving-each-other's-lives show.

AND MURPHY

MURPHYYYYYYY. STILL THE BEST BADASS NORMAL. Murphy, who had the best fake-out with the rocket launcher, and beat Nicodemus in a fair fight, and would have killed him if he hadn't managed to push exactly the right button.

I ... don't know how to feel, though, about Murphy failing as Fidelacchius's wielder and Butters taking up the sword. It's unexpected, I guess. I truly thought it was going to Charity for a minute, but as much as it would have been nice to have one female Knight, it really wouldn't have been fair to her -- she has a life, and she loves her life. Tearing her away from her children, and Michael, just when she gets to have it all, would be cruel.

I can't figure out why I feel so weird about Butters getting the sword, though. I suppose part of it might be that, while I like Butters, I've never been nearly as attached to him as I am to a lot of the others, and so in a way it feels like Butters directly "winning" a worthiness competition over two of my favorites (Murphy and Charity). Which I know is stupid, and it's really a case of "but I wanted my baby to have it!" -- made all the more silly because I didn't really want my baby to have it, at least in Murphy's case. (I really love her as the badass normal among the super-powered beings, whose battle-worthiness relies entirely on weapons and wits. Back when it looked like Murphy was getting one of the swords -- which has been hinted for several books now -- I didn't really want to lose that aspect of her; now that she's lost Fidelacchius and has been implied to be an unfit custodian for any of the swords, though, I'm resentful on her behalf. Foo. :P)

Although there's still Amoracchius, Sword of Love, and Love was a big deal in her main fight in this book. Although I think Murphy's been ruled out as a Knight completely now. Maybe. Butcher is tricksy. I've been calling Thomas as the new wielder of Amoracchius for a number of books now, but Butters-as-Knight is so left-field that I'm wondering if Amoracchius's new Knight, whenever it happens, is going to be someone who hasn't even been hinted at. (Maggie, even? She could be old enough by the end of the series ...)

Other random thoughts: I really like Goodman Grey! Can we keep him? Also, hasn't he been either mentioned before, or appeared in a previous book? Harry doesn't seem to know him, but the name sounds REALLY familiar.

BABY INTELLECT SPIRIT IN A SKULL OF HER VERY OWN. I really cannot wait to see what she's like. :D I did manage to call the Lasciel thing very early in this book, at least in the sense that I thought the "parasite" was some vestige of Lash, but didn't figure out all of it 'til the reveal.

Basically I didn't have particularly high expectations for this book -- all I knew ahead of time was that it was a heist book involving Harry interacting mostly with characters I don't care about -- so all the squee blindsided me, in a very good way. There was a notable lack of Thomas, but the previous book was a good Thomas book with all the Thomas-Harry reuniony goodness that I'd been missing (two! hugs!), and they can't all be onstage at once, there are just too many of them. More Thomas next book, hopefully?

And after a few books that were so depressing I don't really want to reread them, it feels like the series is sliding in a more hopeful, happy, team-family direction again. I still love these characters and it's getting to the point where most of their character arcs have an incredibly long build behind them -- we've been following many of these people for 12, 13, 15 books! The only problem is that I'm now TRAUMATIZED at the idea of any of them getting killed off, which continues to be a tangible possibility. (I don't think any of the main set would die at this point, especially after both Michael and Murphy survived this book, but not sure enough to make a wager ...)


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Oh boy, that sounds like a horrible journey, totally not helped by the delay! Glad you had a good book to read, but still, not fun! *mega hugs*
The commentary between Michael & Harry was priceless beyond measure. *Hugs them both so tight*

I am with you, hoping for a female knight but not disappointed for Butters because he has grown a lot (and more) since his introduction. It will be interesting to see where this takes him.

I loved the end conversation between Harry & Michael - Harry having some serious doubts about being the keeper of the sword and Michael pointing out WHY he's Uriel's choice.

Awesome dialog right there. :-)

The next book's title is apparently Peace Talks acc to Jim Butcher's Reddit AMA. I can only hope it comes out in a timely fashion but I would rather have a great story that's been well edited than a crappy, supposedly dark and evil mystery that is not edited and is more about the "heroine's" magical vaginal and how much sex she has. (*cough* Laurel K. Hamilton *cough*)

And wowsa on the flights... at least it passed with an intense but good book. "Sleepeons" is my favorite new word I think. :-)
"Sleepeons" is great. :D And yeah, all the Michael-Harry interaction in this book was just golden. I missed them going out in the field doing their demon-fighting buddy-cop thing!

And I do like Butters - I think I was just disappointed because I was all "ooooh!" over Charity almost getting the sword and then really disappointed that neither she nor Murphy got it. But it's been fun to see Butters come into his own as a character and a monster-slayer, especially looking back on where he started out!

I'm really looking forward to the next book, but yeah, I want him to take the proper amount of time that the book deserves. I am very curious about the title ... something to do with the Faerie courts, perhaps?
not looking at the spoilers as it will be weeks before i get the book

glad you made it home in spite of the issues
Although I think Murphy's been ruled out as a Knight completely now. Maybe.

I agree - or at least, there's going to have to be some major Stuff happen to her for her to be a knight, because as it stands, she is always going to doubt her own motive if using a Sword now.
Yeah - and someone in the DW comments pointed out that it might have been unfair/OOC for Murphy to be constrained as a Knight of the Cross would, because her general approach to life is "people before principles" and the Knights have to be the other way around. She wouldn't have been able to drop everything and help Harry like she can if she doesn't have that obligation getting between her and her need to help and protect her friends. (Totally paraphrasing here, but that's the gist.) And, yeah, that's a good point -- it would have ended up tearing her in two, and it's probably better for her to have the freedom to make her own decisions without that constraint.
Finished it yesterday and yes, really enjoyed it (despite the tragic lack of Thomas, and so little Molly...) While I'm sad to not have a female Knight, I agree with what Naye was saying elsewhere, that Murphy wasn't really a good candidate for the job. Previously, maybe; but now she's far too much like Harry, she cannot nor would she want to put aside individuals for the greater good, or overlook immediate harm to people for moral dangers. The Swords, for all they are so good at protection, are not at their best when wielded by protectors - they're more for heroes, who sacrifice themselves for ideals rather than people? Which is what Butters has become (and I absolutely love him for it, so yeah, happy about how that turned out! Especially as for a second there I was afraid for him, but yeah, Butcher thus far is not a big fan of character death and I'm hoping that doesn't change, I care about everyone too much to lose them now...)

I loved Grey, want to see more of him. The reveal of how much he actually asked for the job was great (what is the Rent?? Who does he owe it to, and for what? You pay rent for borrowing/leasing something, usually property, so what is he borrowing? I was wondering if the reason he worked for Harry was because his father is the same naaglioshi they tangled with before, but...?)

And the baby intellect spirit, awwww! The one thing that kind of surprised me was that, even with Hades running around (and yaaaaay for a not-evil Hades, he's always been one of my favorite gods and most modern portrayals irritate me by casting him as a villain...an irritation Butcher seems to share!) - but yeah, even with the Greek pantheon explicitly referenced, I found it odd that they didn't point out that Harry was pregnant with Athena. --I mean, powerful figure in a man's body creates a spirit of wisdom in his head that causes terrible headaches until it's cut out, definitely have heard this story before! (really in retrospect it should've been obvious what the headaches were but I didn't realize it myself until the reveal, so!)
I'm also sad about Thomas's absence, although the last book gave excellent Thomas, so I can't quite bring myself to complain (much XD). And yeah, I think Naye made good points about Murphy.

The Swords, for all they are so good at protection, are not at their best when wielded by protectors - they're more for heroes, who sacrifice themselves for ideals rather than people?

Oh, that is an excellent way to put it! And yeah, the Swords are good weapons for those whose moral code revolves around principles, not so good for those whose code is more situational and mainly focused on protecting their important people + innocent bystanders.

Grey is my favorite new character in awhile! He's great! :D I am really looking forward to learning more about him. The Rent is wonderfully mysterious and I hope we'll see him in upcoming books - and Hades is also great! .... although right now the series needs more characters LIKE A HOLE IN HARRY'S HEAD, but they keep adding them, and I'm not going to complain ...

I found it odd that they didn't point out that Harry was pregnant with Athena. --I mean, powerful figure in a man's body creates a spirit of wisdom in his head that causes terrible headaches until it's cut out, definitely have heard this story before! (really in retrospect it should've been obvious what the headaches were but I didn't realize it myself until the reveal, so!

...... :D!!! I didn't catch that at all! (Still can't get over the canon mpreg. There are other ways that particular storyline could've been framed than "Harry is pregnant", but nope, it went RIGHT THERE and stayed there. XD Even Molly framed it that way. Poor Harry.)
Harry being pregnant is one of the things that made me really think Athena, because while I don't know if I've seen Zeus referred to as pregnant, I've definitely seen it said that he gives birth to Athena, so yeah, the implication is there...but yeah, it was pretty awesome! :D

And here's hoping for more Grey (and more Thomas of course!) in books to come!
(was this the first book since his reveal as Harry's brother that he didn't appear in at all? He only got a couple mentions, and Harry never saw him, in previous books he's at least shown up for a page or two, I thought...hoping next book will make up for it!)
(was this the first book since his reveal as Harry's brother that he didn't appear in at all? He only got a couple mentions, and Harry never saw him, in previous books he's at least shown up for a page or two, I thought...hoping next book will make up for it!)

Oh wow, that's a good point! I was going to say he wasn't in Ghost Story, but then remembered the scene at the end ... and yeah, there were books in which he wasn't prominent, but he was always around some. Heck, even pre-reveal when Harry didn't even LIKE him, I think there was maybe one book he wasn't in ...

*crosses fingers for loads more Thomas in the next book*

And while I'm hoping for things, more Thomas POV stories like "Backup" would be lovely ...! Although, tbh, I have absolutely NO idea what Thomas's current mental state re: feeding and the Raiths is. At least in his outward behavior, he seems to have reverted back to something closer to his old self -- a lot more so than he was just after Turn Coat, anyway, if not quite where he was during the time he and Harry lived together. Which is one reason why it would be nice to get more of his POV ...