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Brilliant but more loose ends than a frayed rope
on 17 April 2008
Anyone who has read my reviews of previous novels in the Dresden Files series will know that I am great fan of Jim Butcher's Chicago based wizard. It will hardly come as a surprise therefore, to know that I was very much looking forward to this latest installment in the on-going saga that is Harry's life, which for the first time UK readers are getting in hardback at the same time as their compatriots in the US. The question is, did it live up to my expectations?
Well the five star rating and the review title answers that pretty conclusively. Admittedly the good will the author has built up with me over the previous novels means I would forgive him a great deal but there is nothing in Small Favour that requires forgiveness. From the get go this is classic Dresden, with a fast moving plot that pulls in a wealth of supporting characters, picks up plot strands that were introduced in previous books, twists and turns with abandon and doesn't scrimp on the action in the slightest. Its also by turns funny, scary and emotional. In other words its has everything long term readers of the series have come to expect from the books.
My only significant criticism of the book, which can be applied to other volumes in the series and has been highlighted by other reviewers, is the author's apparent unwillingness to tie up the myriad of loose ends and subplots he has established over the course of so many books. I am not demanding a neat conclusion to every wider story arc he has set in motion, but his apparent refusal to offer closure on any of them is becoming just a little frustrating. Its also becoming harder and harder to keep track of everything that has and is happening. Small Favour offered Butcher the chance to put at least one or two outstanding plots, like the activities of the Denarians, to bed once and for all. The fact that he once again failed to do so is starting to grate slightly.
Still, that's not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book. As I always warn when reviewing Dresden File novel, if you're new to the series go back to the beginning and start with Storm Front. If you're already a fan of Harry, Karrin, Thomas, Mouse, Michael, Molly, Bob and all the other human and inhuman characters that populate Dresden's world then Small Favour will definitely not disappoint you.