Thursday, October 13, 2016
Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher
The plot for this revolves around the Summer and Winter Courts of the fairies. The Summer Knight, a human champion of the Summer Court imbued with a significant amount of magical power has been killed. More importantly his power, which should have reverted to one of the three queens of the Summer Court, has gone missing. This has created a difference in the balance of power between the two courts and almost certainly war will follow.
Further complicating matters, the war between the White Council and the Red Court of the vampires is heating up and starting to go very badly for the wizards. The wizards, who cannot rely on modern forms of transportation, have asked both the Summer and Winter Queens for permission to use pathways through their realms in the Nevernever to safely attack or retreat from the Red Court. The Summer Court has declared strict neutrality, but the Winter Queen has said she will grant the White Council safe passage if Harry Dresden completes a task for her. And since Lea has sold the debt Harry owes her to the Winter Queen, Harry doesn't have terribly much choice in the matter.
I really liked this book and I think a big part of that was because, as I said above, this book does less introduction than the previous three books and instead builds on existing material. I especially like that the events tied back to the war between the White Council and Red Court which is shaping up to be a multi-book storyline. I also liked that Dresden was actually pretty clever during the book and went into situations fairly prepared. Again, he got three kinds of hell beaten out of him by the end of the book but he seemed...more prepared than in previous books which I take as a sign of him learning. Although to be fair he still benefitted from a lot of help elsewhere. Also Dresden's becoming more willing to call on allies like Murphy and Billy and the Alphas which is helping him a lot. He's realizing he doesn't have to go it alone, which is making him much more effective as a wizard.
This isn't to say there weren't some things that didn't bother me about the book. First and foremost was the use of the word ''Injun'' for a character's name in the book. Like, I understand that the character who's saying it is a 300 plus year old backwoods Missouri hillbilly but this book came out in 2002. It feels grossly inappropriate to have any character referred to as such. Like...to the point I'm not sure if I should be using that word on my blog or not because it's clearly a slur. It just doesn't feel okay for it to be in the book.
I also just don't understand Morgan's hatred for Harry. For those who might not remember, Morgan is a Warden, sort of the police force for the White Council who usually summarily execute anyone found violating the laws of magic. Morgan was Harry's...probation officer of sorts until the events of the first book Storm Front. But Morgan's back with a vengeance and he basically can't wait to find an opportunity to cut Harry's head off. And I honestly just don't get it. Maybe it's because Morgan has had a hate-on for Harry for years now, but it feels really weird to me and I just don't understand it. Maybe it'll get explored in later books but we'll just have to see.
Overall I liked this book. It gives me a good feeling for where the series is going and, hopefully, the series will continue to build on the existing plotline which promises to be pretty interesting.