Series: The Dresden Files #16
HARRY DRESDEN IS BACK AND READY FOR ACTION, in the new entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files.
When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago--and all he holds dear?
It’s hard for me to accurately rate these books because I really love this series. And when Jim Butcher announced that Peace Talks would be out in July, followed closely by Battle Ground in September, my Dresden-loving little heart just went a little crazy. I did re-listen to the entire series before this one came out, so I was as caught up as I could be when this one hit my Audible account.
We pick up almost right where we left off at the end of Skin Game. Harry is right back in the thick of it; the power vacuum created when he destroyed the entire Red Court is still being fought over, but the leaders of all the various factions have decided to descend on Chicago for a peace summit. Harry is tasked to help with security at the summit, even as his own standing on the White Council is in doubt due to his flagrant disregard for the rules of the council and his new position as the Winter Knight. (And I really hope you’re all caught up on this series, otherwise that paragraph makes no sense at all)
There’s also the matter of Thomas getting himself into some trouble and Harry has to figure out how to get him out of it at the same time he’s dealing with all of the above issues. Trying to help Thomas brings Harry into direct conflict with the White Council, most importantly Ebenezer McCoy.
Whew – Ebenezer. We get a deeper look into Ebenezer than we have before, and it was both revealing and concerning. The relationship between Harry and his grandfather is in a lot of trouble. I don’t know how it comes back from the events here, which doesn’t fill me with hope for Ebenezer’s future.
Peace Talks was slower than previous books in this series, and not nearly the nonstop action we’ve come to expect from the series, but it was a nice breather. It’s definitely a setup book, getting everyone on the board and in place before what I expect to be an explosive next entry in the series.
But, even though this was a little slower, I was just really happy to get to catch up with everyone. Harry is fine – he’s the same breast-obssessed dudebro he’s always been. Honestly, listening to 16 straight books of that was a little trying. I don’t really know anything about Jim Butcher as a person, but I have to assume that he’s short, pasty, and a generally stereotypically nerdy type. Which is fine – I don’t really care and I’m partial to pasty short nerds myself. But considering he created a character who’s 6’9″ and has literally never, not one time in 16 books, come across a woman who didn’t immediately try to sleep with him is fairly telling. Seriously. Even a character established as a lesbian makes comments about how she’s tempted to try men based on meeting Harry. Honestly, Harry. Molly is in her 20s now, but you’ve known her since she was 8 or 9. He feels guilty when he spends 3 pages describing the breasts, curves, and overwhelming sex appeal of every woman he meets, even the ones who are technically underage, but it doesn’t stop it from happening over and over. It’s frustrating, because Harry has grown in other ways, especially since becoming a father to Maggie and learning to occasionally think before just jumping into every situation blasting staff first. But this issue pervades, and it is overwhelming. I guess I should be grateful that no one referred to Listens to Wind as “Injun Joe” in this book.
And yet, I love these books, and the rest of the cast is delightful. I was so happy to catch up with Karin, Molly, Maggie, Michael, Butters, and everyone else. I’m really looking forward to Battle Ground and getting back to the faster action I’m more used to with this series. A slower, board-setting entry is fine, but I’m ready for more from Harry.
The narration from James Marsters is phenomenal, as always. I really don’t know how I’d feel about this series without him. I actually tried to read the first few a couple of times and just couldn’t get into them, but once I heard that the audiobooks were narrated by James Marsters, I figured I’d give it one more chance. And I am so glad I did. I’ve loved all 16 of these books, mainly due to his narration. He is so good at voicing not only Harry, but also the rest of the ever-growing cast of characters. Even before the speaker is identified by the text, I can tell who’s speaking just by how James Marsters voices them. His female voices are some of the best I’ve heard, too. They’re just voices, not ridiculous falsetto squeaking I’ve heard from other male narrators.
Basically – get these books. If you can, get them in audio form. You won’t regret giving the series a chance.