So I’ll admit, I was expecting there to be a little more time between reviews, but it was a particularly slow day today, so I finished the next Dresden Files book. Anything to get through my massive reading list I suppose.
Winter has come early to Chicago when Harry is asked to investigate a very odd arson attack by Murphy. When he starts making his normal inquiries, however, he finds that he may well be in way over his head with Mab insisting he get involved in order to pay off one of his favours to her, assassins from the Summer Court on his tail and an unknown enemy holding Johnny Marcone hostage. With all that on the line, he’ll have to pull out all the stops to get out alive.
Without wanting to spoil too much, Small Favor didn’t go quite how I expected it to. Given that Mab’s involvement and the Summer Court’s antagonism is established pretty early on in the narrative, I was expecting this to be fairly Fae heavy. But no, this ended up being pretty much the Harry and Michael trust exercise book. Which leaves me in a bit of a bind, because on the one hand, I still think that Michael Carpenter is a sanctimonious bore and there are so many more interesting characters in universe, and I’m still sore that despite being plot-essential Johnny Marcone was criminally underutilised here. Anyway, personal gripe over, Michael has always felt like one of the less interesting characters that the Dresden Files has to draw from, but this book does finally give him some opportunity for growth. And Michael’s presence now means that Sanya gets to turn up as well, and I love him. He’s the agnostic foil that Michael needs. Plus, the Knights of the Cross do get pretty awesome villains, so I’m happy about that at least.
Another unexpected thing was that we get to see more of Warden Luccio, who now appears to have the hots for Harry? A turn of events that I wouldn’t have bet on, but I’m intrigued to see just how badly this is going to turn out. I foresee either being killed in a tragic way that personally drives Harry’s anger at his enemies, or she’s evil. Call me cynical, but I can’t think of many people who see someone with two black eyes and an obviously broken nose and think, “Perfect time to make my move.” She’s either a saint or has an ulterior motive, given Harry’s luck.
With regards to the overarching Black Council plot that seems to be taking shape now, I get a strong sense that there’s a lot that I read that will take on horrible extra significance in later books, but I’m not sure which bits yet. It’s weird, I want to talk about how it feels like things are starting to coalesce more in weird and concerning ways, but with this book the additions are either too spoilery or too vague to really discuss. Regardless, I am eagerly awaiting to see where this goes.
Another solid entry into the Dresden Files, with a lot of great action set pieces and a whole lot of moving parts to keep an eye on. At this point, I think most readers are in for the long haul, just to see how the hell things can get worse. 4/5
Next review: Black Creek by Dan Kemp