Review: Small Favor

Small Favor by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This entry in The Dresden Files was a real page-turner. I couldn’t stop myself from continually telling myself “just one more chapter”. Once the plot kicked off, it was kinetic the whole time. This one was once again departure from the case structure. Instead it’s like a lot of the previous books (except 9) where we’re just dealing with the consequences of all the prior books. We’ve got the fey, the knights of the cross, Marcone and his inner circle, and a couple others that would be a spoiler to mention.

As usual, Butcher blends silliness and drama to keep the story from getting too far in either direction. The silliness comes from the Gruffs (no further explanation to prevent spoilers) while the main plot is a lot more serious. The actions of the antagonists are extremely cruel (like trigger warning cruel) and potentially have some big lasting effects for recurring side characters.

Ten books in everyone has hit their stride. Dresden and friends are working like a well-oiled machine. His apprentice has finally cut the crap with whining about not being in the big leagues. Murphy and the others he depends on don’t argue too much about what they can and can’t do and where they should help. It’s nice for the drama to be external rather than internal for once. It doesn’t mean we can’t have more of that, especially with the next book being called Turn Coat, but I definitely didn’t want that to be the constant struggle for Harry.

Although it’s not necessary to understand anything that’s going on in this book, if you’re a fan – get Side Jobs (short story collection) and read the stories up until Small Favor (Butcher tells you at the intro to each story where it falls in the timeline). There are references in here to Restoration of Faith and Heorot. (And maybe others I didn’t catch?)

As I usually say with these long-running series – by book 10 you’re probably all-in for Dresden or bowed out already. But if you’re somehow on the fence, I think this is a pretty awesome, fast-paced entry – assuming you can get past that stuff that nowadays would have a trigger warning. I’ll put that into a spoiler tag on Goodreads now: (view spoiler)[torture – including physical and verbal abuse and forced nudity – although you don’t see it happen, you’re told after the fact it’s happened to someone; torture of a minor; (hide spoiler)]

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