My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Caution: I may spoil major events of the book and the book series as a whole. This is book 13 of the series, I strongly advise reading the rest of the series before you read this book. Okay... here we go.
Harry Dresden is back from the dead after being shot through the chest at the end of Book 12: Changes. He, along with the ectomancer Mortimer and various other friends, must solve his murder and stop a dark power that is rising in Chicago.
What I Liked:
It's a Dresden Files book. That means it includes the action, charm and snark (BOO!) that comes with every Harry Dresden adventure. Reading this series is a delight as each book returns the reader to a world that has evolved from page one. Each character, faction and landscape has been altered by the adventures in organic and wholly real ways. As each book pounded our heroes, some grew stronger and some broke.
My favorite part about Mr. Butcher's writing is the characters (and the cultural references, but can I claim that as his?) Each person in these books is laid out in great detail and it has been fun watching them change from book to book. Special reservation goes to Molly, Murphy and Mortimer for the dramatic shifts each has made from their first appearances.
What I Didn't Like:
The villians. The Corpsetaker from "Dead Beat" (one of my favorite of the series) has returned in ghostly form to once again grow in power and become a real Corpsetaker again. Or something. On the other side of things is some douche sorcerer with a gang. Both felt really tacked on in this one, almost slowing down the story. The Corpsetaker serves as a good enough ghostly villian while the doucherer is low level for our mighty group of dudes who have toppled whole vampire courts. I know this is suppposed to be a more personal story, but the absence of a real good villian hurt the story.
What I Eh?
The end. In a story where the main premise is the guy coming back from the dead to solve his own murder, I feel kinda cheated that it was him all along with a little brain wipe. This kind of twist is a little beneath the Dresden Files, especially with the unreliable narrator being pulled just two books back in "Turn Coat" when Harry did something else without letting the reader know. I could buy it if we were given a bookend as a reason for the narration (and therefore why some stuff is left out,) but the reader is just supposed to accept these books as his case file notes? How incomplete to not mention that, oh yeah, you were the person who put a hit out on you? The ending also included a "look at your past life" montage of chapters that while engaging (especially the bit with Mouse and his daughter) also felt a little tacked on.
The new character. Fixt (who we will see again about two books from now, I bet, if not sooner) is a bland, young copy of Dresden who will probably become either one of the Alphas or Morty's apprentice.