Book Review: Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book 16 of Dresden Files
Publisher: Ace Books (July 14, 2020)
Length: 352 pages
It’s been quite a wait, but Hell’s Bells was it worth it! When I first started Peace Talks, I’d expected it would keep me occupied for a few days, but as it turned out, the book completely consumed me and I ended up finishing it in a couple sittings.
We return to the Dresden Files shortly after the events of Skin Game, which readers would definitely do well to be have read before tackling Peace Talks because a lot has happened in the course of this series, much of which will be explored here. There will also be references to the previous novels in this review, so beware of spoilers if you have not caught up. Now there’s even more at stake as the supernatural nations of world prepare to congregate in Chicago, the site of the next global summit to discuss the way forward.
With close ties to the White Council, Harry Dresden has been tapped for security detail to make sure the negotiations go off without hitch. But our protagonist also has links to other not-so-esteemed factions of Chicago, including Queen Mab’s Winter Court, not to mention a half-brother in the White Court of vampires in the form of Thomas Raith. Complicating the situation is that in the midst of all the preparations for the gathering, Harry receives word that Thomas has gotten himself into some trouble. Since family is everything to Harry, his next steps are clear. Problem is, with the sibling bond between him and Thomas a secret to the rest of the world, will the White Council understand?
With sixteen novels under its belt, the Dresden Files has become quite the unwieldly beast. Best of luck remembering everything that has happened, who everybody is and what their relationships are to each other! It has also been a few years since Skin Game, so admittedly, returning to the world was a bit disorienting for me, especially since Jim Butcher sets a fast pace right off the bat. From the very first page, readers are bombarded with information as we catch up with all the characters and what they’ve been up to, but it’s actually quite impressive how effectively this jogs the memory.
It’s also par for the course that every Dresden book has about a million things going on, and needless to say, that’s part of what made Peace Talks so exciting. And it’s not just about the action either. The novel also focuses on a lot of Harry’s relationships that we’ve seen evolve through the series, and several of these made up the backbone of the story including his loyalty to Thomas and his love for Maggie, or the way his approach to both are causing friction with Ebenezar. There’s also Karrin Murphy and the rekindling of the feelings between her and Harry, which made my heart melt. Quite honestly, I don’t think Butcher gets near enough credit for his talent for writing romance and love scenes.
Peace Talks also confirms what I suspected since Skin Game. While the fun we had with the heist may be over and we’ve returned to the messy arena of supernatural politics, there seems to be a shift towards streamlining a lot of the plot points and character arcs, something that’s been happening since Ghost Story. Harry has a new direction along with new priorities, and the storytelling was also tighter. Despite having to familiarize myself again with his situation and all the people in his life, I had a firmer grasp on the plot which never once spiraled out of control, which happened with some of the earlier books.
Anyway, all of this was just my long-winded way of saying fans are going to love this. It’s all that we’ve been waiting for and more. And come this fall, when Battle Ground is set to drop, I hope it will be just as amazing!