Book Review: Skin Game by Jim Butcher

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It is that time again. I recently read Skin Game, the fifteenth book of the Dresden Files series, and I am ready to give my opinion on it. For those of you who do not know, the Dresden Files series features Harry Dresden, a professional wizard who solves supernatural crimes in modern-day Chicago. This is the most recent book in this ongoing series. However, there are some shorter works that take place between these main books. Since this is the Fifteenth book, it is hard to talk about this book without spoiling the plot of earlier books. If you would prefer not to read these spoilers, please feel free to read my other reviews or articles until you catch up. This will be my only warning in this review, so be careful.

The story starts with Harry Dresden stuck on the island of Demonreach, unable to leave until the cause of his headaches are resolved. The fairy queen Mab asks Dresden a favor, and in return, these headaches will be taken care of. This favor requires Dresden to help one of his greatest enemies, Nicodemus, to steal something of great value from the vault of Hades, the Greek God of the underworld.

Ultimately, Harry is reluctant, and goes through great lengths to fulfill this obligation, protect himself, and try to prevent his foe from abusing what he seeks. There are a lot of action sequences, and Harry goes through some intellectual growth in dealing with deceptive foes. There are a few really well written chapters involving some of the supporting cast, which I found refreshing for the series. Oddly, these scenes only worked with the foundation and familiarity I had with the Dresden Files. This series was always a mixed bag for me, though this book seems to have shown some growth from the author as a writer of fiction. Heck, even much of the humor of this book has improved.

Even though I feel this book is the best of the main series (to date), there are some flaws that I still managed to catch. Some information comes from the shorter anthology stories that I didn’t manage to read. Some of the older Dresden Files books do this too. Additionally, the intro where Harry is stuck on Demonreach due to headaches from a parasite felt like it was it wasn’t adequately explained in the previous book, so this bit of info was initially jarring and confusing. There’s even a fairly strange twist involved in regards to the resolution of this plot point.

Additionally, Harry has a tendency to hold back vital information from his trusted allies, in an attempt to protect them. This is taken to another level, where he goes so far as to withhold info from the reader, in order for a plot twist to come as a surprise. This level of reader deception is new to the series, and I’m on the fence as to whether it works. Sure, the Dresden Files doesn’t always show the detective’s full thought process in how he gets to his solutions, and I kinda wish I had all the information Dresden had going into each chapter. This was clearly a risk on the writer’s behalf, and I feel not all readers would appreciate the payoff.

Ultimately, this is Jim Butcher’s best book to date. Yes, he has to work on some of the quirks of the series, but he does seem to be growing as an author, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing what is next in the series. It is quite clear that the series isn’t over yet, and I would like to see how these events unfold in the future.

For your convenience, here are the Pro’s and Con’s of this book:

Pro’s:

  • The writing has improved in general from the previous books in this series.
  • The side cast shines quite a bit in this book. This includes all their interactions with each other, and Harry Dresden himself.
  • Dresden has shown some intellectual growth not seen in the earlier portions of this series.
  • The humor strikes home more often in this book than usual.

Con’s:

  • There are a few odd twists in this book.
  • Dresden still holds back info from is friends, and even the reader, oddly enough.
  • The main character’s crime solving thought process isn’t fully shown.
  • Some information refers to the anthology portion of the series, which may throw some readers off.

So, what is the final verdict?

7.8/10 Best book in the series so far. A little more work, and it would become great.


So that is what I thought of the book, Skin Game. Did you read this book? Are you a fan of the Dresden Files? Should I cover books 1-13? What do you like or dislike about this series? Let me know in the comments below!

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