Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Review: Turn Coat

Turn Coat
by Jim Butcher

Format: Hardcover, 420 pages
Publisher: Roc Trade
Cover Design: Chris McGrath
Release Date: April, 7 2009
ISBN-10: 0-451462565
ISBN-13: 978-0451462565

Harry Dresden has never gotten along with Morgan. Maybe it has to do with how the veteran Warden has hounded him most of his life. But when Morgan shows up on Harry’s doorstep, bleeding and on the run from the White Council, what’s an upstanding wizard to do? Harry doesn’t like it but he can’t let a man be labeled a traitor and executed for something he hasn’t done.

Determined to clear Morgan’s name, Harry begins to search for the traitor on the White Council. Along the way, he runs into a British weasel who can summon beings from the Nevernever and an ancient Navajo skinwalker. It also doesn’t help that his brother Thomas disappears and the White Court vampires also get drawn into the whole mess. Will Harry be able to prove Morgan’s innocence or is the Warden’s fate sealed no matter what?

The latest installment in the Dresden Files is full of action and lots of plot development. As always Harry runs afoul of several different players at once, however his tenacity pays off and he manages to pit them against each other. The traitor plot is resolved and the thread is set up for a new arc in the series. This book is also a fair bit darker as he becomes isolated from those that keep him grounded and his apprentice Molly makes some bad choices. The traitor’s revelation actually ends up being the weakest part of the novel.

Note: the following lines contain plot spoilers. Those who haven’t read the book should skip to the next paragraph. My biggest gripe with Turn Coat is over who was revealed as the traitor on the council. I thought the traitor being the secretary was a bit of copout. Butcher mentioned a few books back that only a handful of people could have known a key piece of information and Peabody was not one of them. As the secretary for the senior members, it’s possible Peabody have could known all the necessary details, but I it didn’t ring quite true. Ultimately, other actions on the part of the traitor did make the plotline easier to swallow so the book ended fairly well.

Turn Coat is another fast-paced and addictive book in the fun and fantastic Dresden Files series. Recommended.

Rating: 8/10


Pipedreamer said...

I disagree with your final point. I thought that the entire "the secretary did it" twist added an air of subtlety to a series that really bears more in common with the sword-and-sorcery genre than other, more complex fantasy subgenres.

I thought that the implication was that the wizard pulling the strings, the real arch villain of the piece, was still not vanquished. The secretary was just another layer between him and his dirty work, which would fit with Dresden's earlier comments that if the person behind the murder really had screw things up, he'd likely be killed by the black council.

Benjamin said...

Pipedreamer, you make a good point though I think the Black Council basically served the same function as the arch villain you mention. It's just now we'll have a name and a face to go with it. I guess I felt the revelation was a bit of a let down after Butcher spent a few books building up the suspense. Still, it did end up working fairly well.