Dresden Files: Skin Game

Skin Game by Jim Butcher


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.

Skin Game (Dresden Files #15)
Jim Butcher
Publisher: Roc
Publication: May 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witchy, Heists
Personally purchased title
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★★

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

To say I had been anxiously awaiting this book would be an understatement. Book 14 in the series, Cold Days, ended with Harry, the Winter Knight, remaining on the creepfest island of Demonreach and Molly, his one-time apprentice and daughter of his best (only?) friend, becoming the new Winter Lady. I hoped the story would pick up where we had left off, showing us how these changes have influenced Harry and Molly, or even learning more about the coming war the Winter Court is trying to keep at bay against the Outsiders. Instead, we given a strange, yet interesting, side story that perhaps may further the war storyline in the next few books in the series.

Skin Game picks up a bit after Cold Days with Harry still living at Demonreach, completely isolated from his friends and family. Harry’s headaches are getting worse and he’s begun to cross over into creepy hermit territory. Oh, and somehow, he has discovered and become an aficionado of the parkour movement even though he never watches tv, listens to the radio, and as said before, has been completely isolated for a while now. Mab comes and summons him with a job to do and so begins the start of Nicodemus’ Nine, Butcher’s own version of Ocean’s Eleven.

Now, I love these type of stories. Unique and quirky individuals who prefer to go it alone, coming together to pull off a huge heist while learning new things and forming relationships (professional and otherwise). Yet this one fell a bit flat, mostly because you didn’t have everyone coming together. You have two groups of “people” blackmailed into working together for an unknown goal set up by the blackmailer and they just go with the flow. Sure, some are only going along with it because Harry guarantees that they will get their revenge, but still, after being so badly double-crossed by him in the past, you’d think there’d be more fire.

The book was quickly paced, though the story itself took a bit of time to unravel thanks to many detours taken to check in on secondary characters (sadly, no Thomas Raith). I enjoyed it, mostly because I do like heist storylines, but it is in no way one of the best of the series. It may, or may not, have propelled the overarching storyline forward in the series, but it does progress the character arcs of many, particularly Butters the bungling medical examiner, and leaves the reader with a dread and worry as to the possible future fate of Molly as the Winter Lady.

Obviously, if you’ve kept up with the series thus far, you’ll read this one. But don’t rush into it if you have other books on your must read list. This one can wait.

Quotes & Excerpts

“Perhaps because it is necessary. Perhaps it is to protect you from yourself.” Her eyes flashed with the distant fury of a thunderstorm on the horizon. “Or perhaps it is simply because I can. In the end, it does not matter why. All that matters is what is.”

-Chapter Two

The touch of another person’s hands.
Hands that wrap us in warmth, that hold us close. Hands that guide us to shelter, to comfort, to food. Hands that hold and touch and reassure us through our very first crisis, and guide us into our very first shelter from pain. The first thing we ever learn is that the touch of someone else’s hand can ease pain and make things better.
-Chapter Five

But they were doughnuts of darkness. Evil, damned doughnuts, tainted by the spawn of darkness…
-Chapter Fifteen

“I think I need help,” I heard myself whisper, voice little more than a rasp. “I think I’m lost.”
There was not an instant’s hesitation in his answer or in his deep, gentle voice.
“Come in,” my friend said.
I felt something break in my chest, and let out a single sob that came out sounding like a harsh, strangled groan.
-Chapter Twenty

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About Lulu

Thirty-something year old educator based in New York, Lulu loves books, blogging, gaming, and her pom son Frodo Barkins with whom she shares her life. Book reviews specialize in all kinds of fantasy, some YA, some romance, and some contemporary, especially in the gothic genre.