Changes by Jim Butcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In the space of a phone call, Harry Dresden learns he has a daughter with Susan Rodriguez and that she's been kidnapped by the Red Court of vampires. The vampires are setting up a bloodline curse that will kill the child and everyone related to her. Meanwhile, the White Council of wizards seems to be buddying up with the Red Court to put an end to the war between the wizards and the vampires. Can Harry save his daughter and stop the bloodline curse?
I have mixed feelings about this one.
Pros: As usual, Jim Butcher delivers all the thrills of a summer blockbuster. Big explosions, action, a touch of comedy. The showdown with the Red Court would look great on the screen. Old favorites like Sanya and Susan Rodriguez make return appearances. Forgotten plot elements like the holy swords are finally used. There's even some closure to one of the long-running plot lines and new plot lines are set up.
Cons: While I liked Changes and found it entertaining, I wouldn't say I thought it was great. The same things that bothers me about summer blockbusters bother me about this book. Everyone has stupid smart ass quips for every situation. When in the middle of a city of thousands of vampires, shouldn't at least one person maybe BE SCARED OF THE VAMPIRES rather than making inane "witty" remarks?
Most of the story was fairly formulaic for the series, almost as if Butcher took the outline for one of the earlier books, changed some names and places, and started writing this one. Even though I'm glad the vampire plot line went the way it did, how much more of a Mary Sue can Harry Dresden be?
Another thing that bothered me is that the ongoing plot about strife within the White Council didn't advance one inch. I think Butcher is going to milk his cash cow for all it's worth, considering he's already got the titles listed for books that come out in seven years on his Wikipedia page!
The ending was a cliff hanger after a cruel tease.
Conclusion: While I enjoyed Changes as much as I enjoy most Harry Dresden books, they are like the Cadbury Creme Eggs. While I like them when they're in stores around Easter, I'm glad when they're gone and I get a year to let the memories fade so I can enjoy them again the following year. See you in 365 days, Jim Butcher!
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