Skin Game (The Dresden Files, #15)Skin Game by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Urban fantasy, audio

Wizard Harry Dresden has been in some rough spots in his life.  The roughest was an attempt to save his daughter from death where he was critically injured.  In order to be magically healed in time to save her, he accepted a job with the Queen of the Winter Fae, Mab.  Now he is her reluctant knight.  Reluctant because Mab is pretty evil and Harry does want to think of himself that way.  He’s worried that working for her may turn him whether he likes it or not.

Now Mab wants him to work with a group of very evil people headed by Nicodemus Archleone, one of Harry’s most despised people.  They are going to break into a vault belonging to Hades.  If that wasn’t suicidal enough, Mab wants Harry to double cross Nicodemus as soon at a particular point in the heist and Harry is sure that Nicodemus is planning to kill  him as soon as possible too. 

What I love about this series is the character development.  No one in these books is in the same place that they were when the series started.  Bad decisions are made and then there are consequences.  No one gets a magical “Get out of jail free” card so the character can slip back into the role that they filled previously.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy at all, you need to read these books.  There are 15 now but don’t let that stop you.  I didn’t start until around book 10 or so and I was immediately hooked. I read them all in a few months.   Start at the beginning.  Let yourself fall in love with these characters to the point that they are totally real to you.  I’ve had to walk away from reading a few times because I knew if they killed the character that was in peril in the scene I was reading that I would totally lose it.

I listen to these on audio now both to extend the enjoyment and because they are narrated by James Marsters.  He’s amazing.  There is a large cast in this world and all of the voices are believable and appropriate for the character.  The pacing is good and the essential smartassedness of the books comes through.  My only caveat is that I wish I had a paper copy of these because there are some passages that I’d like to go back and reread after I knew the ending.  That’s not so easy with 15 hours of audio.