Plot: Fear demons are terrorizing a horror fest, leaving corpses in their wake, and the family of Harry’s friend Michael are somehow caught in the cross hairs. But his investigation leads him into the very depths of warring fairy and brings back memories of his troubled history with the White Council.
This review is based on the audiobook narrated by James Marsters.
This is the 8th novel in the Dresden Files and it revolves around dark magic and fear.
In the previous novel, Harry was made a member of the White Council (the governing board of wizards) and he must now take on the first responsibilities of this role. The novel opens powerfully with the punishment of a warlock: a young man who, in the absence of any guidance, has misused his magical gifts to control others. This event colours the rest of the narrative, though we do not immediately know how exactly it ties into the rest of the story. Butcher takes his time revealing the importance of this moment and of warlocks, and the payoff is well worth it.
Meanwhile there are a lot of other things going on. Harry is still struggling with the presence of the demon Lashiel in his mind, fear demons are killing convention-goers and Molly – Michael’s eldest daughter – is implicated, the White Council is at war with vampires (and doing poorly), and there are dangerous power struggles in the realm of fairy. That’s a lot for one book and I honestly had my doubts about whether it would all hold together. But somehow it is not only coherent but Butcher manages to tie each of these threads together for a truly satisfying end. Colour me impressed.
My favorite part of this novel? Charity Carpenter. Without question. In previous appearances, Charity was simply Michael’s wife: a woman of faith and conviction, loving wife and mother. She was most often characterized by her seemingly irrational hatred for Harry. In this volume, Butcher fleshes out her personality and her past. He shows why she feels the way she does and shows her kicking some major ass in defense of her children. I think I love her.
Harry’s growing romantic feelings for Karen Murphy are finally resolved in this volume and, though many might disagree, I’m very happy with the results. I thought that Butcher was very true to their characters. All though speaking of relationships with the other sex: if there is something that I didn’t appreciate about this novel it was the way Harry sexualizes Molly (who is still a teenager!). I get that Harry is not exactly a modern man when it comes to women but his barely contained lust at the sight of his friend’s daughter was taking it too far imho.
Next is White Night.