This explosive twelfth book in The Dresden Files series begins as Harry’s lost love, Susan, returns from self-exile to deliver the news that first, Harry’s a father, and second, that the daughter they had together has been kidnapped.
While I have read this particular volume in the past, I have been faithfully going through the series in order this year, and so I picked up a number of points and details that would have been lost on me before.
As readers of the series would know, the former reporter for the tabloid Midwestern Arcane was caught and turned into a half vampire years earlier when following Harry into a dangerous situation. After, she left Chicago, and Harry, to join a South American group of individuals, like herself, who managed to resist the bloodlust that would complete their transformations into full vampires.
Before Susan and Harry can attempt to sort through their issues, they have to locate their daughter, Maggie, who has been taken by the Red Court vampires, to be used as a human sacrifice in a blood ritual that could have devastating consequences. A timely visit from Harry’s godmother, a faery of the Winter Court, grants Harry a piece of his mother’s legacy just in time to help locate Maggie and provide a means of travelling across continents in a very short time.
When the White Council appears not ready to intervene, desperation leads Harry to seek assistance from the least likely of allies; Johnnie Marcone, and Queen Mab of Winter included.
In a series replete with epic climatic battles, this book stands out because the stakes, the assembled cast, and the overwhelming odds still fail to prepare the reader for the surprising revelations in this ultimate battle of good vs. evil in Butcher’s universe. Following the conclusion with a stunning last-page murder is almost over the top and makes this reader wonder why? How? Who? And when can I get a copy of the next book in the series?
I would recommend this book to any reader of paranormal, urban and fantasy stories, as well as those who enjoy action and epic stories. While reading prior books in the series is not necessary for enjoyment, there are a number of details the casual reader may overlook, such as the long-standing relationships Harry has with a number of recurring characters and the lore Butcher has specifically developed for this vast universe. I award this latest effort five stars and plan to read the rest of the series, including books #16 and 17 that were just released, as soon as I have time.