Sunday, May 2, 2010

Changes by Jim Butcher

The latest in the Harry Dresden series, this one knocked characters and readers alike on their collective asses.

There will be spoilers here: beware.

The first sentence of the first chapter sets the tone for the entire book. Not only that, it sets the entire focus.

"I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, "They've taken our daughter.""

Yup, Harry is a father. Has been for about 8 years, since his last encounter with Susan, before she turned into a half-vampire from the Red Court. Susan failed to let Harry know this because, rightly, she recognized that neither her nor Harry's lifestyle was safe for a child. Susan had handed the child, Maggie (named after Harry's mom), over to a couple who already had kids. Still, it was pretty harsh for Susan to never mention this to Harry, and he takes it pretty badly. A wizard is powerful, a wizard carrying that much rage is downright scary.

Susan shows up on Harry's doorstep, with Martin in tow, to set into motion a plan to get Maggie back. Susan and Martin have been fighting their vampire curses and fighting the Red Court, almost like terrorists. Even though Maggie had been kept a secret, word got out to the wrong people. Namely, Arianna of the Red Court. The plan is to carry out a bloodcurse using Maggie to kill off everyone in her bloodline. Harry, Susan, and possibly Thomas and another surprise relative.

Harry and Susan have one hell of an adventure just trying to get to the Yucatan to save Maggie. They end up fighting in goblin territory for their lives, Harry meets up with some retired gods, the White Council is in a serious state of unrest, and Harry makes a possibly life ending deal.

The battles are extraordinarily written and well done. The characters just keep growing and getting better, and that makes it all the more sad when some of the well knowns have to perish in this novel.

The ending....not so happy with. It's a cliffhanger times 100 and we're left like this til April 2011. Not fair, Mr. Butcher. Not fair.
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