Skin Games - Jim Butcher

Okay. Fan Girl Moment done.

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….

***FYI AND FAIR WARNING: there are some minor spoilers. I will try to keep the big ones under wrap but, there are just something’s I’m going to have to say that might give a few things away.***

For those of you folks who stumble across this blog, let me give lay down some very important information about this book series:
1. Harry Dresden is listed in the Chicago phone book under Wizard.
2. Harry Dresden always, ALWAYS, gets in way over head, but still somehow manages to make it through to the other side mostly not dead (Granted…there was Ghost Story…but are we counting that misadventure? I’m not…)
3.  This latest installment of the Dresden Files, is book 15. So if you haven’t read this series yet, well, you got some catching up to do.
Also, Harry Dresden is my book boyfriend. He is broken and carries A LOT of baggage, but he’s good. So. Good.
But where do I start with this book in the aspects of a review? I mean, there is so much going on with poor Harry right now. He has a parasite threatening to burst out of his head and kill him…which we find out really isn’t a parasite but something else ENTIRELY. Mab is expecting him to play her deadly game by loaning him out to a villain we haven’t seen in a long while, Nicodemus Archleone (he’s appeared in two books, Death Masks and Small Favor. Super Baddie). And the highest security vault in the Nevernever? Oh, it just belongs to HADES, LORD OF THE GREEK UNDERWORLD! Oh, and there’s also all this other stuff…minor mention of Molly as the new Winter Lady and FINALLY something going down with Karrin Murphy and Dresden. Fifteen books in…about damn time really.
So you see my dilemma? Where do I start? How about everything and everywhere. It’s another super well-crafted and throughout adventure that pushes Harry almost beyond the limit. He has been forced to draw deep from his Winter Knight mantel for power and to survive the inevitable FUBAR and clusterf**k that has become his life (like how I censored myself there?).  There is a ton of action per the course filled with magic, demons, and guns. This is just normal everyday stuff for Mr. Dresden. What was interesting was to FINALLY see him interact with his daughter Maggie, who is just like any other 4 year old in that she wants her father. Harry, who has been pushing everyone away since taking up with Mab, the Winter Queen, comes to realize that the true friends will stick by him and love him until the world comes to an end. And what I was most excited about? Michael Carpenter. Yes. That’s right. The bad ass Knight of the Cross is back in action as wing man when Karrin gets taken out. Since being horribly injured in Small Favor, he isn’t so awesome. However, with the help of an angel, Michael gets to be put back in the fight as if he was never injured. He is the moral compass for Harry. Always reminding him that he is a good person, and reminding him that there is always another way.
I don’t want to give too much away but let it be known that Hades makes an appearance, and he is awesome. Just read the book. You’ll see. But read the other books first! Because you will have no concept of any of the characters or back story if you don’t. And trust me, they are GREAT reads. (Well, Ghost Story was a bit of a miss for me…but still good…)
Jim Butcher just makes me happy when I read his books. I got lost in the world he created. Every person and monster is relatable. The good guy is not a knight in shining armor. The bad guy is not mustache twirling villain. The shades of good and evil are muddled and confusing, nothing is clear cut. There are decisions in the world that need to be made: the lesser of two evils. And if we play our cards close to the chest, well, we must just get to place the ace up our sleeve and make it out alive.
Go forth and read Harry Dresden my fellow book nerds. I know this was not really much of a review. That this was a rambling of an over excited fan girl who just can’t get enough of my book boyfriend. But then again, isn’t that what being a fan girl is? Being over excited and passionate about the things you love? And I do love the world of The Dresden Files. Thanks, Jim Butcher, for everything. You are awesome!!!!

Until next time, remember to be yourself…unless you can be a pirate. Then ALWAYS be a pirate!