Green Review: Small Favour by Jim Butcher (Orbit)

small_favour

Title: Small Favour
Author: Jim Butcher
Pages: 437(hb)
Genre: Noir, Urban Fantasy, Crime
Standalone/Series: Series – The Dresden Files Book 10
Release: Out Now in Paperback
Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis

The trouble with fairy tales for Harry Dresden is that they are mostly true. In this case in the shape of the Billy Goats Gruff and they are out to kill him.

But that’s only a part of his troubles. The Fairy Queen of Winter is has asked him for a small favour. But favours to fairies are never small or without consequence. One of them seems to be that it puts him on the hit list of The Summer Queen. 

Plus Marcone, Chicago’s crime boss, has been kidnapped and Harry has to find him. Not because he really wants it’s  more he’s compelled to for the greater good, and it’s not  going to be easy.

He’s not on  his own he has his own little ‘war council’ who are more than willing to help.

Comments/Thoughts/Analysis (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

If this was a TV series I’d guess you’d call this a mythology episode. It’s packed with the older threads coming together and introduces some new ones to excite and confuse.

The Fairy Courts take a background but strong role in the whole affair. As Harry is acting on behalf of Mab, the Winter Queen, it puts him at odds with the Summer Court and with his own  White Council.

If there is one problem with the Dresden Files it can feel like a lot of chess pieces being placed on a board. Butcher keep the action flowing and the pressure on Dresden but there is the sense that a lot of manipulation is going on to make events turn out the way they do either by some of the characters or Butcher himself.

And as the nature of the Fairy Courts is all about manipulation but it’s also the foundation of the Fallen and the way the White Court keeps power and behind all these factions is the interference of the unacknowledged Black Council. Everyone apart from Harry seems to have another agenda. Sgt Murphy and Michael have overriding responsibilities.

The events in Small Favour the focus in  again on The Knights of the Cross and the Fallen. Even though Harry thought that he had dealt with his internal issues with the shadow of Lasciel in White Night he still has the Fallen themselves to deal with.

But a lot of attachment I have for Butcher’s writing is how he deals with consequences. Harry never acts or thinks quite how you’d expect even if he puts his life in danger and he always tries to do the right thing.

The downside is that Butcher keeps putting him up against the impossible. He has grown in both character and power form book to book but sometimes I do wonder how far he can be taken without it looking ridiculous.

But it doesn’t seem to get to that point though it probably would if it wasn’t for Harry and being inside his head and how his friend, and enemies in some cases, are made into rounded characters with a  lot of shades of grey. You can see that the path that Harry makes is a only a few steps from being the wrong one.

Some new things though have teasing and wider ranging consequences for future books like Soulfire, which is a little bit more positive than Hellfire and the introduction of a mysterious and familiar island.

Summary

Another rollercoaster ride for Harry Dresden. Even though the one year later and a big bad guy is out to kill Harry is still in force there is a sense of endings and beginnings, which could, I hope, see some changes coming for Harry.  It is packed with connections and lore that will please any fan of The Dresden Files.

And anybody wondering if it’s getting a little tired after ten books, Jim Butcher knows how to please a crowd and continuously pulls a few rabbits out the hat to make sure you have to find out what happens next.

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