Rating ( of five stars) ****
Genre: Urban Fantasy
The wizard Harry, who lives in modern day Chicago and works on a regular basis with a special unit of the police force in charge of supernaturalish stuff, is manipulated into acting as a pawn for one supernatural sect and discovers another is trying to gain control of a supernatural resource for its own evil purposes. He gets help from his friend the cop, his brother the vampire, his non-supernatural but ferocious dog and some guardian angels in his quests.
As I write this, I strive to distinguish the review of this book from the others in the Harry Dresden series. I have to confess I am a ardent follower, so my starting point is that anything written by Butcher will be great. Kinda like the brand names you trust and buy without questioning that high quality lies within.
More specifically, this book has the cast of characters that are familiar and endearing in each of their own ways, building that community appeal that brings people back for more. For me, the setting is familiar with the icebound great lake and associated city.
After the first two or three chapters I was out of breath from the pace of the action, but then got the stride and relaxed into it. I suspended my disbelief that Harry could keep going after all physical abuse he takes and enjoyed the story. One stand-out scene is when a fellow supernatural is gluing her disembowelled guts back into her abdomen with crazy glue.
The story in Small Favor is quite political – or about warring factions of supernaturals, which is an interesting twist that the Dresden stories are growing into, moving past the challenge of overcoming specific beasties. But even though the story is quite political which often makes me glaze over from disinterest, to Butcher’s credit, I kept the thread – I assume because it was well enough explained that it wasn’t confusing.
I really enjoyed the concept of a couple of the character types that are introduced in this book – yes, new, at least to me, supernatural tropes. Both were explored from the human perspective – what is it like to be a person with these abilities and responsibilities, so that they seemed very real.
Overall, a dependably enjoyable read, lots of action and vivid human interaction, unique bits of world building, and generally, great.