cover image Skin Game

Skin Game

Jim Butcher. Roc, $27.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-451-46439-2

Even fans of Butcher’s long-running urban fantasy series may find this 15th outing (after Cold Days) does little to advance the overall story. The setup is different, but, once again, wizard turned Winter Knight Harry Dresden must team up with some brave friends and unexpected allies to combat the forces of evil while undertaking an impossible quest. Dresden is forced by his boss, Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, to partner with longtime foe Nicodemus Archleone and break into the vault of Hades. An almost literal deus ex machina saves the duo, and a surprising revelation about the parasite that Dresden has inside him, rather than inspiring awe, feels like a gimmick aimed at altering the series’ status quo without significantly changing the essence of the lead’s character or personality. Series admirers can only hope for a shot of adrenaline next time out to restore the wonder and imagination of the first Dresden books. (June)