Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book review: Skin Game- Jim Butcher

The fifteenth book in the Harry Dresden series, Skin Game picks up some time after the events in Cold Days. Mab, whom Harry serves now as the Winter Knight and does so in completely dickish fashion to annoy her every chance he gets, sends Harry on a task for her, a heist of literally mythic proportions. The problem being that the person whom Harry will be working for and is Nicodemus who harbors a serious grudge against Harry, a grudge so serious that Harry has right to think that Mab wants him killed off. The story actually gets a hell of a lot more complicated in terms of what everyone's motivations actually are. In the end, you have a cross between Oceans 11 and the Avengers movie if everyone on the team was a varying degree of asshole.

This is a very different book from Cold Days, which primarily set the stage for the new plot lines in the series. Skin Game really doesn't play as heavily into the character development as its predecessor did. This is not to say they don't occur (Fans of the interpersonal relationship fires that get stoked in the series, you're going to like this one. Oh, and then there's B...oh, that'd be telling. ), but they do take a back seat to the amount of action that occurs in this one. From the point that Harry and Co. sit down to discuss the heist onwards, someone is constantly being chased, fought with, or close to shedding the fleshly coil in one way or another. All throughout the book I kept thinking "This would make a fun movie."

Beyond the overall great storytelling in Skin Game, what really stood out for me is how Butcher fleshed out Nicodemus. Nicodemus is a centuries old, demon possessed, atrocity committing jerkface of the highest caliber, but his course of actions that occur in the book and how he responds to their consequences don't make him a sympathetic character by any stretch of the imagination, but they make him a bit more real. Butcher pulls a depth out of Nicodemus that puts him beyond the cookie cutter "I'll wear a coat made of live puppies" villainy that has become too common nowandays. It's disturbing, it's uncomfortable, and it's wonderful reading.

All in all, five out of five stars. Also: PARKOUR!


  1. I need to go back and re-read this series. Seriously LOVE Dresden. Your review reminded me of Butcher's brilliance (except in Ghost Story, maybe).

    1. I've been saying I need to go back and start rereading the series for the past three books now. There have been enough pivotal points that reference points from books going four or five years back where I'm just thinking "I don't remember that at all." To make it necessary.