changes-the-dresden-filesJim Butcher

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden’s lover—until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it. Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it—against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry’s not fighting to save the world…he’s fighting to save his child.

The twelfth novel in the Dresden Files series, and this is where things take a rather dark turn. And given the rather dark twists in the previous novels, that should say something. How is that possible, you ask? Here, let me tell you…

The whole thing kicks off with a visit from old flame Susan Rodriguez informing Harry that their last bit of angry sexy time resulted in a daughter. And while he’s processing that bit of information, he’s then told that little Margaret was kidnapped by the Red Court vampires in South America. But, he’s prevented from doing anything because the Queen of the Red Court is currently in peace talks with the Wizard Council. Allegedly. Then Harry’s office building blows up. Then the Norse God Odin (yeah, that guy) informs Harry that his daughter is going to be used in a blood curse ritual that will result in the deaths of everyone genetically related to the girl, including Harry. Which is what you would call overkill for trying to get rid of one guy. Literally, in this case. As if that isn’t enough (it never is), the FBI is investigating Harry, a couple of vampire assassins are taking shots at him, and then the house he dwells in is firebombed, resulting in Harry literally breaking his back while rescuing the other residents of the house. And to fix his spine, he finally agrees to be Mab’s (remember her?) Winter Knight in exchange for that and the army he needs to rescue his daughter from the Red Court Vamps. This leads to a massive and bloody showdown at the temple where the ritual is taking place, which culminates with Susan sacrificing her life to turn the blood curse onto the Red Court, subsequently killing every last one of the Red Court vampires. And the whole thing ends on a boat on Lake Michigan. I’ll just leave it at that.

Well, now. This entry in the Dresden Files series might just be my favorite of the bunch. It’s rather dark, it’s gritty, it throws in some extra tropes in there that adds to the action and tone, there were some jarring twists with the resulting consequences…and that ending battle. Gads. Epic, it was.

This may come as a big ol’ cliche’, but, yeah…Changes is what you would call a game changer for the Dresden Files series. There are some long-term consequences that stretch beyond this entry, and our reluctant hero won’t be the same since this point. Which makes for some very good reading in this episodic series.