Note: Review #5 of the Drunken Monkey Book Club.
The Drunken Monkey Book Club hasn't met in a few months. Partly due to some confusion as to what was scheduled to be reviewed and when it was scheduled to meet. Since I did read the book I thought I would publish the review anyway.
Review by Daniel Ruth
Fast forward several months. This is the second half of the previously reviewed 'Peace Talks'. We didn't have to wait too long for this, telling me what I suspected. This truly was the second half of that book. That one ended rather abruptly, feeling like it was only half of the story. Well, here it is.
This jumps straight into the war preparation. As expected there is a lot of internal sniping and arguments, showing a truly huge amount of disunity. There's a few times they are criticizing Dresden as some of his subterfuges have been exposed. For example, people seem to know that he was around when Mabd was kicked through the wall but not precisely what he was doing. However, they know they don't like it. The constant criticizing him being the Winter Knight is also kind of wearing. It's not like it's a position he can retire from so why are they whining about it? It also seems odd that they are telling the second in command of the Winter Court (wait... 3rd?) what duties he can and can't do. Early on there are hints that he will get kicked off the council for... well, a conflict of interests. Which probably made the most sense of everything though they hint it's a plot from the Black Council.
When the fighting starts it begins hard and continues through most of the book. There should be a meme about Dresden constantly getting crippling injuries yet shrugging them off and fighting normally the scene. This is pretty odd since they repeat over and over that the Winter Knight magic only dulls pain and doesn't actually heal you. After a while, you get numb to it. I don't really buy it, but I suppose it makes good storytelling... or thrilling fights... kinda. The fights are fast and furious against overwhelming odds. They do explain in-story why he doesn't run out of magic energy in the beginning and when later he has to conserve energy but considering how long the battle lasts I guess they had to explain it somehow.
People die. People who you saw mentioned many books ago and you see again just long enough to remember who they were. I have to admit it crossed my mind that it may be a good way to clear out useless characters or reduce the sheer number you have to keep track of. There are also a few that really have an impact. Big impactful names. I won't spoil things but people who matter die too. It's hinted in a way since there is a war in the making and frankly everyone is wondering if they will die. The exact way they died is an interesting twist. I definitely didn't see it coming. Weeks after I read the book I still can't decide if the twist minimizes the death or brought home how fragile life is, even if the characters themselves feel larger than life. So... it made me think and that was good. It made my heart twinge and that was good.
The end of the book shakes things up bigger than a world-sized snow globe. The government now knows about the magic side of things. There is no going back on that. That ship has sailed. Interpersonal shake-ups, political shake-ups. Changes. I really approve. Nothing says that the story is progressing like changing everything. Most of the changes you'll just nod at. Others you might shed a tear at. One surprised me so much that much like Desden I just sat speechless for a minute as I let my brain catch up. A change so terrifying and powerful, yet made so much sense afterward.
Yep. This is the book where the old gets swept away and everything afterward is a new and shiny unknown frontier. Excelsior!