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4.5 out of 5 stars46
4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 25 April 2008
I have a great fondness for this series. It started a little shakey and then rocked. However, the previous book, 'White Knight' frustrated me with its myraid of characters and increasing feel of total fantasy, but I'd hoped it was a blip in this great series. Now we have the tenth in the Harry Dresden magic series, 'Small Favour'. I was so looking forward to reading this volume. It certainly leapt into action, and that action kept on going and going. Despite this it didn't grip me. Around the middle of the book I almost gave up because I was so tired of weird fantasy stuff and countless characters with strange names I couldn't remember, so I began to skim read and flick through pages until my attention was grabbed about a hundred pages from the end. I enjoyed those last hundred pages, especially in the hospital and where Harry questions God and faith (best not to say more or I'll spoil it) and I decided not to worry if I was unsure who the heck some of the characters were.

I think some of my increasing frustration with the series is that I adore thrillers and the supernatural but I'm not a fan of fantasy. This series is turning from a supernatural thriller into a fantasy series and if you relish fantasy then fine. However, I prefer magic set in the normal world and greater emphasis on characterisation (I'm especially fond of Thomas, Bob and Mouse) with far fewer characters and weird happenings. I won't give up yet although I'll be getting the next volume from the library. If you're new to the series then do start at the beginning with 'Storm Front'.
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on 26 May 2008
I am a huge Harry Dresden fan and enjoy all the books for differing reasons each time. I felt at the end of this book that there were more questions than answers and I sometimes got lost with references to other characters and had to back track from my speed reading to try and work out who they were and sometimes even which book I had met them before.

The ending definately left me feeling that the next instalment must be released shortly as it was very open. Usually I find that the books have a distinct ending even if the overall story of Harry and his cohorts continues.

Also not enough of Thomas in this book for me but as usual well worth buying and please hurry up with the next one
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on 27 March 2009
I was very engaged in Small Favour from start to finish, and I am pleased to say that I found Harry to be much less whiney in this book than he has been in the previous two Dresden novels.

This is, I would say, something of a "return to form", if such a thing is possible when you haven't really strayed too far from form in the first place.

I'm also fairly pleased that the pace and "reality" of this book were a lot more realistic. Harry wasn't portrayed as quite the superhuman that he has been previously, and some of the other characters were shown to be falible, too.

Yes, I liked this one a lot. My only problem now is that I've caught up with the Dresden File series, so have a while to wait until Turn Coat is released in paperback...
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on 4 January 2014
I am a fan of the series and this novel did not disappoint. Having read some of the reviews on Amazon I had been led to believe that this would not be as good as the previous books, yet that was not my experience.

As usual in the Dresden Files there were plenty of plot twists to keep the reader guessing, more insights into the back stories of many of the ongoing characters and a fast paced narrative that left me not wanting to put it down.

This book will not make a great deal of sense to readers who have not read the other books in the series, so if that is you I suggest you start with the first book in the series and keep on going. You are in for a treat.
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on 3 March 2010
Yet again Jim Butcher comes up trumps. The PI who just happens to be a wizard gets better and better. These books are good! Once you start reading you can't put them down. I had thought that I would get bored by now, but each book is different and Jim Butcher is managing to develop the character of Harry with each book. Harry is developing and I can only congratulate Jim Butcher on his skilful characterisation. I suggest Jim Butcher begins to nag producers to bring Paul Blackthorne/Harry Dresdent back to the small screen. He needs a wider audience. Much, much better than Mr Butcher's books about Calderon.
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on 11 April 2008
Not one of the best Dresden novels - but fast and furious from start to finish. I'm intrigued to know where Jim Butcher is going with these novels as there seem to be more and more loose ends that need tying up, and as much as I enjoy the books, the saga could drag on for too long. Bring back Susan!
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2009
This enjoyable and action packed fantasy novel is the tenth instalment in the popular "Dresden Files" series, meaning its hero, Harry Dresden, has comfortably outpaced his namesake wizard, Harry Potter, in the number of books he has had written about him, if not in the number of books sold.

This relatively long book will be snapped up by established fans but is unlikely to attract many new readers, a decent level of knowledge of previous entries in the series is assumed, and required, to appreciate this one. To a certain extent this is unavoidable, but other "Dresden" novels, e.g. "Dead Beat" have strong enough plots to overcome this need for previous knowledge and are good reads in their own right.

"Small Favour" does not have that strong a storyline and therefore can only really be read as part of the series. Read in that way, it doesn't really move the series on very far. Jim Butcher is clearly attached to his creations, and rightly so, but for the sake of building suspense if nothing else, he does need to start killing a few of the major continuing characters off.

It is odd that Butcher has abandoned the investigative aspect of these books, the idea of a wizardly Private Eye seems a perfect basis for an ongoing series of fantasy books, but the "Dresden Files" has drifted away from this basic idea and become more like a series about a fantasy war, fought between various powerful factions, Wizards, Vampires, Faeries etc. Personally I found these ideas worked better in the background, with our hero working in tandem with his mortal allies to investigate supernatural events in the real world.
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on 30 May 2012
I have come very late into the Dresden Files series and from initially enjoying every book...I have read them one after the other in order...I am now really struggling. I tend to think the premise at the beginning of the series, a PI with limited magical power investigating stuff...was where it worked best for me! I've been lost really since then but enjoy the character of Harry so I am persevering to the end...which I believe is not far away!!
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on 13 February 2009
well not the character he gets some bad beatings...but the story is just excellent. A joy to read a well thought out and written story line. A must read for all Harry Dresden fans.
Yes, there are plenty of loose ends but as another reviewer said thats life for you. Also just makes you want to get your teeth into the next one.
Just read it you won't be disappointed.
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