Book: Turn Coat
Rating: A (100 / 100)
This is easily the best book I’ve read since the last Dresden Files novel, Small Favor, and the thought of having to wait another full year for the next one is absolutely excruciating. As always, Butcher delivers wildly careening action, meme-worthy humor, and poignant melancholy in perfect measure, unmatched by any franchise short of Dr. Who.
Returning readers will find themselves richly rewarded for their loyalty across the last ten installments in the series as Butcher begins to unveil some of the deep backstory of his plot while finally moving the long-developed, seldom-seen shadow conspiracy that’s been lurking in the distance since the beginning of the series to the fore. New readers are likely to find themselves lost on the finer points of the tale, but blissfully so, as Butcher rarely allows his readers time for such trivialities as wondering why a skull can talk or how a dog be so utterly put-upon.
If you aren’t already reading this series, run, don’t walk to the nearest bookstore. But reader beware! These novels are HIGHLY ADDICTIVE.
Official: Harry Dresden, PI and practitioner of magic, has done his best to keep his nose clean where the White Council of Wizards is concerned. Even so, his past misdeeds haven’t looked good to the council’s Wardens – and they take their responsibility to enforce the Laws of Magic very seriously. But this has placed him in a bit of a predicament. Morgan, formerly his chief persecutor among the Wardens, has been wrongly accused of treason. There’s only one punishment for that crime so he’s n the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden.
Dresden faces a daunting task. He must clear the less-than-agreeable Morgan’s name while simultaneously hiding him from the Wardens and the supernatural bounty hunters sent to find him, discover the identity of the true turncoat and, of course, avoid accusations of treachery of his own. A single mistake may mean that heads – quite literally – will roll.
And one of them might be his.
UnOfficial: Harry Dresden, hardboiled private eye and Chicago’s only wizard, finds himself embroiled in his most involved and tension-filled case yet.
Morgan, the old Warden who dogged Dresden’s youth as his “parole officer” with an implacability that made for the stuff of nightmares, appears at Dresden’s door mortally wounded and accused of murder by the Wardens whom he once lead. Unable to turn away a man in need, even one who has made his life hell, Harry takes the Morgan into his care and sets out to uncover the real murder in the hope of preventing a civil war between the wizards of the White Council.
However, the task at hand is easier said than done. Harry has only three days before the Morgan can be located through magical means. If the Council comes to suspect that he’s harboring Morgan, both he and his apprentice Molly will share Morgan’s fate. Plus, there’s the small matter of the shape-shifting Skinwalker with the strength of a demigod stalking Harry to complicate matters.
As he scrabbles to find answers, Harry quickly concludes that the murder could only have been orchestrated from the inside. Then, things become interesting when he uncovers a shadowy connection between the murder and the Vampires of the White Court that point to a much larger conspiracy. Now, all he has to do is unveil the true traitor within the Council, keep the disagreeable Morgan safe and hidden, keep Morgan and Molly from each others throats, vanquish a demigod, and do it all before his three days are up.
Just a typical day in the life of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.
Rejoyce! The latest book in The Dresden Files has arrived, and returning readers are most definitely not going to be disappointed.
After ten novels, Butcher steps up and sets the bar astonishingly high for the remainder of his series. At a point where even the most accomplished of authors might be expected to break down and resort to character-maneuvering filler (I’m looking at you, Robert Jordan), Turn Coat continues Butcher’s tradition of delivering action and suspense, twists and bizarre turns at a brisk, cinematic pace from the opening line to the very last word. What’s more, despite having already burned through some four thousand pages of material, Turn Coat sees more character development than any previous installment, including a few tidbits on Harry’s still-mysterious mother.
Not everything in Turn Coat is business-as-usual, though. This installment in the series marks a significant departure from previous books in the series in a number of ways that almost certainly signal that this series has just hit its boiling point.
It’s the first book in The Dresden Files to shift its focus from episodic mayhem precipitated by the villain de jour to what’s certain to be a much larger story arc involving the shadowy conspiracy Harry has dubbed “The Black Coucil.” That shift brings with it a new maturity for Harry and his apprentice Molly along with a new tone to their story.
Where prior Dresden novels have born a striking resemblance to the sword and sorcery genre, Turn Coat marks The Dresden Files’ transition onto a darker path of conspiracy and intrigue, much like Goblet of Fire did for the Harry Potter series. In that regard, The Dresden Files is moving towards the high fantasy genre.
My guess, based on Butcher’s open acknowledgment of his Tolkien roots, is that this book is the first step in what Tolkien termed the “long defeat.” And I predict that future installments of the The Dresden Files will grow grimmer still.
However, it’s just flavor for the sauce. Harry embroiled in a darker story is still Harry. Despite its dark turn, Turn Coat is still almost certain to be the funniest book to hit the fantasy isle all year, packed as it with all the absurdity and hilarity readers have come to expect from a Butcher novel.
Put it on your reading list and prepare a slot on your list of all time favorites, Turn Coat is one hell of a read.
Note: Newcomers should think twice before picking this book up. The Dresden Files deals with far too large a cast of characters over far too long a scope of time for readers to jump in mid-stream. These books are best savored in the order in which they were intended. For readers eager to jump into the thick of things, I would recommend the graphic novels based on The Dresden Files, “Welcome to the Jungle” from Dabel Brothers Productions.
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