Title: Skin Game
Author: Jim Butcher
Narrator: James Marsters
Audiobook Length: 15 hours, 49 minutes
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 27 May 2014
Bottom Line: This series gets better and better
“Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day…
Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.
He doesn’t know the half of it…
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.
Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance…”
Thoughts: Jim Butcher has done it again. After fourteen books in the Harry Dresden series plus numerous novellas, his fifteenth novel is every bit as exciting and surprising as the first one. He continues to up the ante on the depths of Harry’s powers, his involvement in the supernatural, and his relationships. As fans have come to learn, no one is safe from harm and no one is truly good or evil. It makes for the most fascinating stories. Skin Game is no different.
One of the things to love about the Dresden series is the fact that Harry is willing to share the limelight. It may be the Harry Dresden series but every one of his friends gets the chance to shine (or fail). They rely on each other in ways only true friends can, and the results are pretty spectacular. That they are all subject to danger and Mr. Butcher’s ruthless pen enhances their interactions because one never knows when it will be their last.
James Marsters = Harry Dresden perfection. Anyone who has not had the chance to hear him become Harry needs to do so immediately. He embodies Harry’s frustrations, his ironic wit, his fear, and his loneliness. He also manages to use the same voices for the many characters of Harry’s world book after book after book. Long-time fans and listeners will know exactly which character is speaking just by the voice Mr. Marsters uses. It is like visiting great friends after a long absence, comforting and comfortable without any awkwardness or confusion. After all this time, the partnership of Marsters and Butcher continues to be one for the ages.
There is an end game to this series, but fans will be hard-pressed to figure it out at this stage in the story. Harry’s involvement in Nicodemus’ business affairs changes the trajectory of the story, and how this will impact Harry’s future remains to be seen. That Mab is a key player in the end game is not a true secret but any details are still cloudy. The entire series is one big chess game, and readers are still a few moves behind Mr. Butcher to be able to see how it will end. With every book, he increases the tension, adds a few more clues, and throws in enough twists to maintain that fuzzy future. If anything, it makes the rest of the series that much more enticing.