Review of Turn Coat – Book 11 of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

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This is the eleventh novel in the Harry Dresden files series and I thought as I’d just finished it, I would review it. Has Butcher managed to keep the characters fresh and surprising? Are the plots getting increasingly entangled and mangled in an effort to breath some new life into a threadbare scenario? Has the fact that the TV series was such a crock adversely affected Butcher’s enthusiasm for his wizard detective?

turncoatHarry Dresden, PI and practitioner of magic, has done his best to keep his nose clean where the White Council of Wizards is concerned. Even so, his past misdeeds haven’t looked good to the Council’s Wardens – and they take their responsibility to enforce the Laws of Magic very seriously. But this has placed him in a bit of a predicament. Morgan, formerly his chief persecutor among the Wardens, has been wrongly accused of treason. There’s only one punishment for that crime so he’s on the run, wants his name cleared, and needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Someone like Harry Dresden.

Dresden faces a daunting task. He must clear the less-than-agreeable Morgan’s name while simultaneously hiding him from the Wardens and the supernatural bounty hunters sent to find him; discover the identity of the true turncoat and, of course, avoid accusations of treachery of his own. A single mistake may mean that heads – quite literally – could roll. And one of them might be his.

For the record – yes, no and no. The answers to the questions I posed at the start of this review. Butcher has managed to breathe new life into these characters, giving some of them a surprising twist. And no, there is no sense that this world is running dry of creative juice.

We have encountered the Council from time to time in Dresden’s adventures, but this further insight into their politics and the characters made for an entertaining read. Butcher manages to give all the major protagonists surrounding Harry Dresden an equally complicated and tortuous personal journey, which is probably one of the secrets of this series successful longevity. So we learn yet more about Billy and his pack of werewolves; Molly, his snippy apprentice and her growing abilities; Thomas his Vampire half-brother; and continue to thoroughly dislike Morgan, who might be in a tight corner but doesn’t let victimhood blunt any of his sharper corners.

As ever, events unfurl at a fair clip, building to a yet another cracking climax with plenty of emotional fall-out along the way. Butcher really has this particular genre absolutely nailed – and Turn Coat is an enthralling page-turner, worthy of its successful predecessors.

If you enjoy urban fantasy, but haven’t yet gotten around to this particular series, then I urge you do to so. There’s a solid reason why a bunch to television executives decided to transfer the Harry Dresden series to the small screen – it’s just a shame they didn’t get around to doing it justice…
10/10

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