I don’t think I will ever get tired of reading about Harry Dresden. Every book in this series has been better than the last, and it never slows down. I read a lot of books and a lot of authors but only a select few do I read over and over again. Jim Butcher and his books are among those few. I’m not only speaking about his Dresden Files books either, I also love his Codex Alera books as well and am eagerly anticipating his newest series, the Cinder Spires.
Skin Game is the 15th book in the Dresden Files and I loved every minute of it. The plot is this: Harry is tasked by Mab to take on a new job for her as the Winter Knight. This job is of course very dangerous and life threatening (as usual) with plots behind plots and double dealing going on all over the place. What’s the job? Oh just the small matter of teaming up with past bad guy Nicodemus Archleone to steal a priceless artifact from Hades himself. No big deal.
Harry is of course as well characterized as ever. He has real problems and fears and the book lets you see them and experience them with Harry. He is afraid of his new title of the Winter Knight and all the dark thoughts and urges that go along with the title. He is afraid of moving his relationship with Murphy to a deeper level. Not out of commitment issues really, but rather a desire for her to stay away from him and the monster he could easily become working for Mab. Harry also is afraid of seeing his daughter again. He thinks she will remember what happened in the book “Changes” and resent or fear him because of it.
Although the book is still the super fun heist book I wanted from Butcher, with plenty of laughs and double crosses, these deeper issues are what keeps me reading (and re-reading) this series. I love that Harry is just this normal guy who can use magic, but is also grounded with real life issues you can empathize with.
This book also features a glimpse of how a few of his old friends see him now. Murphy is as loyal as ever, but even that is tempered with some caution. She has a deep respect and serious feelings, maybe even love, for Harry yet she stands as her own character. In the earlier books I was afraid she would be pigeonholed into the “Skeptic” or “Love Interest” boxes and never get to move beyond them. Luckily, I’ve always felt she stood apart as her own character. She is strong and capable yet has real fears about the world Harry moves around in.
Butters feelings are a little different. He is flat out afraid of Harry (well, mostly), and of the power he holds as the Winter Knight. He sees Harry as just another villain or at least someone headed that way. And the thing is, you can see his side! He has a couple of different points in the story where he has a chance to explain himself and his feelings and they are all pretty reasonable.
This book is full of deep characterizations for many different characters. I mean, even Nicodemus gets some!
I really did love this book a lot. I think it is a great addition to the series.