Warning: Past this point, there may be spoilers.
Damn! Skin Game was just so good! I am angry with myself that it took me so long to finally get to read it. It is the fifteenth entry into the Dresden files series by Jim Butcher. If you haven’t read this series, You should go do it now so that we can discuss this book.
Go ahead! I will wait for you and you won;t regret it.
All caught up? Good! Lets talk about Skin Game.
This is the sixteenth book in the series and picks up several months after the events of Cold Days. Harry is now the Warden of the prison that he calls Demonsreach. He is suffering sever headaches that are caused by something inside of his mind and only the spirit of the prison has kept him alive so far. Things are becoming desperate for out hero when the Winter Queen, Mab, shows up conveniently in the nick of time. It would appear that she can help him survive if he would complete one simple task for her.
Mab’s tasks are never simple and have more than one layer. She needs Harry to fulfill a debt she owes to the leader of the Denarian’s. He needs the services of the Winter Knight for a heist of mythic proportions. And just like that, the story is of an running like wild horses.
Skin Game ties up a lot of loose threads that had been annoying me since the end of cold Days.
There has been a lot of talk about the mantle of the the winter Knight and we get a better explanation of what it is in this book. We have been told that the Knights of each court are the ones able to make choices as they are not one of the fae. It comes across as much more of an enchantment laid upon the chose mortal by the Queen of the court. It is something that makes them more powerful but leaves their humanity intact as long as they are willing to fight to keep it intact. I actually like this explanation as well as how it functions to make Harry seem like a super hero.
We also get to see more of the supporting cast in this book. Yeah, I know they were present in the last one but not near enough for my taste. We also get to see more of the fall out from Harry being dead and returning from the grave. Butters has taken up the mantle of hero and is doing his best to protect those in need. He doesn’t exactly trust Harry any more and this causes no end of trouble when he uses Bob to follow Harry to bad guy’s lair. Luckily, this leads to the inclusion of one of my favorite supporting cast member’s, Michael. I was so happy to see him again and even happier with the twist involving him, Murphy, and Uriel.
There are plenty of signature moments in this book that are a wonderful return to the storytelling that I enjoy from Butcher. He actually hits the heart-strings particularly hard in this book when Harry is as his lowest and ends up at Michael’s door. When he breaks down and tells Michael that he is lost, I almost cried. The conversation following this confession was just awesome. Pretty much calling Harry out on his own failings while also asking him to step up to his strengths more. Excellent!
Skin Game has everything you expect from a Harry Dresden story. There are big battles between huge powers. There are high stakes where everything is on the line. There are small personal moments that make you love these characters even more. There is even an Agatha Christie like twist that, while annoying, was certainly well played and made the story better.
I loved Skin game and hate that I have to wait a year or more for the next book.