Well, after a nice little break, we’re back to another Dresden review! As it has become a standard, this book has a lot going on in terms of plot and especially foreshadowing for future books. The other five books as well as “Side Jobs” will get their due time, but for now, let’s take a look at “Small Favor.”
Harry gets reluctantly commissioned by the Winter Court to act as an Emissary in the wake of the disappearance of Marcone. With the help of his friends, he soon discovers an old threat has returned and taken Marcone as part of an elaborate scheme. And once Ivy aka the Archive gets involved as a mediator, Harry soon realizes just how elaborate that scheme is. It’s up to Harry with the help of the Knights of the Cross to stop it before the whole world suffers.
I’ll start this review off by saying that I really liked this book. While the beginning was kind of a slow start, the plot had me hooked by the time Harry gets entangled with the Winter Court. There’s an interesting use of fairy tale-like creatures involved on behalf of the Summer Court (still quarreling with Winter in a way) that I liked and, of course, I was happy to see Michael back kicking butt. The reveal of Marcone’s kidnappers just made the plot all the more interesting for me, and how they tied into the Winter Court didn’t feel forced to me. While not perfect (the fairy tale thing is resolved very neatly), I was thoroughly invested in the plot and character interactions
Many of my favorite characters were present in this one. Aside from Marcone having a brief presence and Michael getting a big part to play, Murphy, Ivy, Captain Luccio and Thomas also return to help out. The book expands more on Ivy as a character and as the Archive, and I’m curious to see if the events of this book will impact her character in future ones. Thomas and Murphy get some great interactions with Harry, of course, and Murphy also gets some quality time with Kincaid (not THAT kind of quality time). While I still like the idea of her getting with Harry eventually, it was nice to see her “relationship” with Kincaid for once. Luccio also gets an expanded role both in character development and giving Harry a possible new relationship to explore. I both like and dislike this for reasons that are pointed out even in the book itself, but we’ll see how it plays out.
One thing I was happy about was the progression with Molly’s character. In this book, it’s made clear that she’s not a battle-ready wizard like Harry and ends up using her skills for useful things like healing and creating veils. It sends her into the background most of the time, but I found her character easier to start liking as a result. And thank GOD my complaints from previous books were addressed, because there are no blatant references to Molly’s sex appeal.
Like I said, there’s also a lot of foreshadowing in the book, most notably in the ending. Several things get brought up that could easily be made into a plotline for a future story. Interestingly enough, I wanted to know more about each and every thing they brought up, and I hope they all get focused on.
It’s hard for me to talk about this book without spoiling some major things, but one thing does happen that is sure to have major repercussions on one character’s role in the future. It sucks, but at the same time I’m interested in how Butcher will handle it. I was also worried about the final fight in the book as another character seemed to be taken down like a chump, but considering this character’s nature and abilities, I won’t be the least surprised to see him pop back up in good form another time. Honestly, other than the fairy tale thing being resolved a little too cleanly, I don’t really have complaints about this one. I just enjoyed it that much.
Overall, “Small Favor” is a great addition to the series and, as the 10th title, it sets up a lot of stuff for the remaining five books and beyond. I’m liking where the series is going and the characters just get more and more interesting to follow. If you haven’t been reading the series in order by this point, this is definitely NOT a book you can come into without some prior knowledge. But, if you’re like me and you have, this is very much worth the read. It’s easily one of my favorites of the series now.