I don’t know how Jim Butcher does it.
I mean, imagine trying to pitch this book:
“Er, so a ragtag bunch of supernatural misfits tries to break into Hades’s vault and steal some treasure.” Sounds like a shitty B-movie heist plot you could only watch while severely inebriated.
But Skin Game is pure gold.
Dialogue and tight scenes have always been Jim Butcher’s strong suit, and this book uses them to maximum effect. Harry Dresden’s had a bit of a rough ride since Changes (to say the least), and he has a lot of catching up to do. We haven’t lost the light-hearted fun that makes this series so endearing, but we have gained a great deal of emotional weight and baggage. Simply put, you a care a hell of a lot about the characters, and their interactions aren’t just some vapid vehicle for the plot to progress—they’re meaty and substantial and honest and frankly the best part about Skin Game. (If you enjoy character-driven stories, this is a not-so-subtle hint hint wink nudge kick punch combo that you should pick this one up ASAP.)
This book has awesome moments that will make you fist-pump and grin, and this book has cathartic moments that make you stop reading and just sit in contemplation. This book even has moments that will make you fucking cry in public.
And talk about ratcheting tension. This is a creative writing class’s wet dream, and I’d be surprised not to see this on a syllabus or two in the future.
Go out and start reading the Dresden Files—it just may be some of the best fiction currently being written.
(Oh, and do it in audiobook if you can. James Marsters nails Harry yet again after a brief blip in Cold Days, and he elevates the experience to encompass the true meaning of storytelling.)