Posted on March 8, 2010 by Monica Valentinelli
Available at Amazon.com
After I got done reading CHANGES by Jim Butcher, the twelfth novel in the Dresden Files series, the first words that popped into my head were, “Holy hell.” First? There is absolutely no way that I can review this book without spoiling something for someone, so consider this a warning – if you don’t want anything spoiled for you, then don’t read this review. Second? If you’re a fan of the Dresden Files, then this is “the” book for you.
Okay, now back to the review. The first chapter opens up with a sucker punch to the gut. (You can read the first chapter of CHANGES on the author’s website.) Harry Dresden has a kid and she’s seven or eight years old? (Has it been that long since we’ve started reading the series? Are we THAT old?) Harry wastes no time delving into the darker regions of his soul to rescue his little girl, one that he’s never met. His sense of chivalry kicks into overdrive and along the way he gets badly maimed, makes some questionable decisions, turns over a lot of stones, and enlists the help of several other characters.
If you’re expecting a direct sequel to TURN COAT, this is not it. CHANGES is, in many ways, a fulcrum for a lot of the other previous books in the series, because it ties together several characters and settings from the previous books as a result of Harry’s incredibly single-minded goal. He will save his daughter, even if it means that he might lose his own life in the process.
CHANGES is an incredibly fast read and, in my opinion, is the best-written of the series. The hits just keep on coming and coming and coming. There were a few places where I couldn’t quite follow the logic or the slower explanation bits, but you have to remember that I read really fast — especially when every chapter ends on a cliffhanger and you need to know what happens next. To say that there are a lot of “changes” is kind of an understatement — Dresden isn’t the only character that shifts in this book.
Part of the appeal to the plot, is that there isn’t a lot of time to sit around and have a meaningful discussion about what to do or even — the morality — of what they’re about to do. There are moments where Harry confronts Susan about her poor decision not to tell him about his kid, and there is definitely still tension between the two. It’s interesting to see how the Red Court takes advantage of their feelings for each other, because as far as vampires go — they’re pretty damn evil.
Again, there’s really nothing more that I can say without spoiling what happens for you, because there are a lot of surprises in CHANGES. (Though, I will say I enjoyed Vadderung immensely.) I imagine a lot of fans will be screaming, yelling and/or crying after they read this book, because CHANGES doesn’t pull any punches. It ends on a rather “big” cliffhanger — probably the “biggest” cliffhanger to date. With eight books in the series left to go, it sucks that we’ll just have to wait to see what happens next.
Review by Monica Valentinelli