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Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files

Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files - Jim Butcher Mab a fairy Winter Queen gives Harry Dresden as assignment he cannot refuse for numerous reasons. Not only it is highly dangerous, but poor Harry has to work with one of his worst enemies helping the latter. If you read the blurb for this book, you might as well skip reading the real thing altogether as it gives away practically everything - who the heck wrote it???

I thought it would be fun to make a short quiz about the book instead of forcing people who will be unlucky enough to read this review to see my boring thoughts about it. So without further ado, let me present the following:

Exhibit A: Harry Dresden

Exhibit B: A Punch Bag

Exhibit C: A Typical Nerd

Question 1: Who gets punched and kicked more during a normal day: A or B?
Answer: A (a quiz spoiler only)

Question 2: Who gets to have more sex: A or C?
Answer: C (a quiz spoiler only)

To continue the theme of sex in the series here is another question:
Jessica Rabbit
Who is this? Remember, your answer must be related to the series.
Answer: The ugliest woman in the world of Harry Dresden. (a quiz spoiler only)

The last question needs some explanation. I tried to find a single plain-looking woman in the whole series, not to mention an ugly one. I failed miserably: there is none in all 15 books, period. This combined with Harry's complete inability to get laid despite the fact that quite a few drop-dead gorgeous women literally throw themselves at him in every story makes the series look like it was written by a sexually frustrated teen boy (I am talking about a very young teen here).

Every single book follows the same tried-and-true formula (please do not hate me for spoiling all fifteen books of the series). A trouble comes to Harry in form of a task/assignment/order. Harry gets beaten up again and again and again and again... each time harder than the previous one. Final showdown comes up; Harry gets beaten practically to death, but he pulls up a hidden reserve from his ass at the very last moment, so he survives. The task is done; the bad guy is put to shame and escapes.

Did you notice the part about escaping villain? This is one of complaints about the series: the big bad guys/girls never die - with one notable exception. They are quite happy for come back to another round of kicking Harry around.

One more complaint about this book in particular: Harry became unreliable narrator. This is the first time he did, and it is a little late in the series for him to become such. The only reason for this was to pull yet another last-minute escape from out of nowhere and this really looked lame.

There is an overall plot in the series, but I feel like it went south a couple of books ago. I still insist that book #12 (Changes) would be a really good place to stop. Anything that came up after it seemed like the author painted himself in the corner and has no clue what to do next. Case in point: the big plot only gets briefly mentioned in this book, so do not expect any development in here.

Speaking about development: Harry Dresden is still the same as he was in the very first book; he gets exactly zero development. On the other hand, Butters develops here, but I would rather he stayed the same: Butters the action hero really does not work and looks completely artificial.

We finally came to my biggest problem with the series. I see every single book as a proof that Harry Dresden gets severely punished for choosing to be a good guy. His life would be so much easier if he succumbed to the Dark Side. It seems like every installment in the series is a case study of how much shit the main character can be put up with for remaining a good guy; sometimes this looks outright sadistic. Can somebody name a single reward Harry ever got?

I am sorry for giving the book such a low rating, but I am done with Dresden Files. I would be the first to admit the series had its moments and that one scene in book #7 (Dead Beat) beats everything else I saw in urban fantasy in terms of epic-ness Sue, but I can read about Harry getting beat up only for so long.

My actual rating for the series is 2.5 stars rounded up as my tribute to the series for its influence on the genre.