My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Missed Opportunity.
This book had a lot of potential to be amazing given the darkness of the plot and the revelations about Dresden’s past, not to mention the ongoing war and an adorable-sounding puppy.
However, it missed the mark and just wasn’t given the attention it needed to be brilliant.
This was for a few reasons:
1) The plot was a distraction from the main story and was not only boring but pretty annoying. It tried too hard to fit in with the overarching plot and this came off as clumsy rather than clever. It had potential, sure, but too much time was spent on describing how women’s bodies looked rather than any sort of mystery which brings me nicely to my next point…
2) The setting of this book is eye-rollingly cringe-worthy, even by Harry Dresden standards. The only thing it adds to the book is the opportunity for Butcher to experiment with several different ways to describe women’s physical attributes and how difficult it is for the poor men not to lose self-control around the women they work with. It doesn’t add anything else at all to the story and its such a disappointment as it could’ve been made quite funny with Dresden’s corny humour but instead we’re just treated to over the top descriptions about characters that don’t really matter all that much. Pointless, irritating and character-damaging.
3) Murphy – what have they done to you?! In attempt to soften her character, Butcher has obliterated some of her most interesting traits and it just grates against everything we know about her. Why not just leave her as she was? I’ve got a feeling I can see where this is heading since flashing neon warning signs are popping up everywhere with hints but the groundwork was laid much better in the first few novels. It’s pretty annoying to have a character you respected to be made into this simpering doll-like image though, c’mon, as the only likeable female character, we need Murphy to pack more than a punch than that.
4) The big revelation about Dresden’s past was far too predictable and it wasn’t written in particularly well. It was straight away given too much weight in the story and it just couldn’t carry it. It would’ve been a much bigger deal if more of a foundation had been made beforehand between the two characters involved so the revelation mattered more. I think Butcher missed a trick here with not doing this.
5) The plot wasn’t all that believable. Okay, so none of these plots are all too believable – magic right? But this one just took it a little too far and the whole book just felt disconnected and wobbly. The main villain could’ve been something very special but like most highlights in this book, it just fell too short to really work to its full potential.
6) The ridiculous opening scenes are so brilliant because of their ridiculousness but this one was plain nonsense. There was no wit to it, only toilet humour and more slapstick ‘it could only happen to me’ type humour. It’s like Butcher just has a set of dice with childish prompts on them, throws several up in the air at once and then makes an intro scene out of whatever pops up.
Now, even with all the above points included, this was still an action-packed page-turning read that I’ve came to expect from these books. We’re gradually learning more about the world of magic and its secrets are getting darker with every revelation. If anything, this book was a lazy way to get some of the grittier details of the world over and done with so we can shelve it and move on to something (hopefully) more interesting.
And for goodness sake Butcher, stop making all the female characters pornstars/naked.
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