Series: The Dresden Files #15
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Roc on May 27, 2014
Reviewed by: Julia
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day….
Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.
He doesn’t know the half of it….
Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.
It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.
Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance…
SKIN GAME is another gripping, surprising installment in The Dresden Files, one that you won't want to put down. Harry Dresden is playing with the big dogs these days, balancing the Winter Knight mantle against his own morality and inclinations. Next level danger and power swirling around Harry these days, and the majority of SKIN GAME is a deft balance of terrifying danger and the universe's more deadly creatures.
The last several books in this series have been Harry searching for a reset button, some solution that would erase his obligation to Mab without losing his core self. Butcher has been masterful in managing this story, however, deftly and believably weaving surprises for reader and characters alike. SKIN GAME is the culmination of everything Harry has been trying to avoid. Forced to fulfill Mab's debt to Nicodemus Archleone, this entire landslide of an adventure reveals ever so much about the mantle of the Winter Knight, and all the ways it's changing our hero. Far more disturbing than the base drives that strike in the heat of battle (and passion) was the insidious Fey double speak that slips into Harry's repertoire. But just when you think Harry may be good at this job, balancing the knife edge between Winter Court obligations and his human relationships, the whole game shifts once again.
Though the ultimate resolution of SKIN GAME contained one "big reveal" that didn't quite work for me, 99% of this book is danger, adventure, and character building that is fantastic and unforgettable. Fifteen books in, The Dresden Files are better than ever, and have ever so much potential to stay that way. Butcher seems to be gathering energy for a cataclysm, harnessing his narrative will as clearly as Harry about to cast, and I can't wait to see what magic comes next.