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Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12) by Jim Butcher
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Review by Drew Bittner
Roc Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451463173
Date: 06 April 2010 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The title is no accident. This story changes literally everything in Harry Dresden's world. After this, nothing will be the same.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher:
Storm Front
Fool Moon
Grave Peril
Summer Knight
Death Masks
Blood Rites
Dead Beat
Proven Guilty
White Night
Small Favor
Turn Coat
Changes

Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files adventure, Changes, begins with a shocking revelation: Harry has a daughter. His ex-lover, Susan Rodriguez, half-vampire and now implacable enemy of the vampiric Red Court, has hidden her away for years in order to protect her from their many enemies. But Harry never even knew she existed.

And now, the consort of a vampire Harry killed has the girl in her clutches. All Harry has to do is give himself up to the Red Court and she'll be set free.

Harry wasn't born yesterday. He knows that the Red Court will kill the girl regardless; the only problem is, where did they take her and what do they want her for? Teaming up with Susan and her partner Martin, Harry takes on the greatest case of his life--one that looks more and more like a suicide mission.

What he soon discovers is that this plot is a gambit in the long-running war between the wizardly White Council and the Red Court. The vampires offer peace, but not everyone believes it; if they're lucky, this might buy the Council some time. Harry, meanwhile, calls in every favor he's accumulated over the course of the series and makes some desperate decisions.

If he's going to save the life of an innocent little girl, Harry's going to have to make some very hard, even irrevocable choices. He's never put it all on the line before--but this time, there's no turning back.

This is quite simply Jim Butcher's best novel yet. Harry is put through the wringer in a way few heroes have ever suffered. It would be impossible to state how, exactly, for fear of spoiling the readers' enjoyment of the book, but suffice to say that this novel's title says it all--in every possible way.

In the course of the book, we see (or catch up on) virtually everyone Harry has met in the series to date. From his faerie godmother Leah to his mentor Ebenezar to Gentleman Johnny Marcone, his extended cast of characters is all there. Karrin Murphy and Thomas Raith are especial standouts, as they risk nearly as much as Harry in backing him up.

The villains run the gamut from the mortal and venal (a particularly nasty Chicago cop) to the supernatural and horrific (the cabal of nearly godlike vampires who run the Red Court). Harry has never faced powerhouses like this before; if a hero is judged by his enemies, Harry achieves superhero status in this book.

It's not just action, however. The emotional context and the revelations are gut-punches, from Susan's betrayal to a shocking discovery Harry makes, all heading toward a final showdown where the stakes could not be higher.

This is masterful storytelling and Butcher hits a career high with this book. Dresden Files readers will be blown out of their shoes. For everyone else--start at the beginning. You will want to experience the build-up to this novel to get its full impact; otherwise, you're cheating yourself of this book's monstrous power.

Highest recommendation.

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