Small Favor, by Jim Butcher
Small Favor is the tenth book in the Dresden Files series, written by Jim Butcher. The book follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard fighting crime in Chicago, and his adventure fulfilling his second favor for Queen Mab.
Warning! Spoilers follow here.
The book starts with Harry playing with the Carpenter children in the snow at their house. Gruffs attack and everyone runs away to safety. Shortly after, Dresden is confronted by Queen Mab, who asks that he fulfill his second favor of the three he owes her. Marcone has been abducted and Mab asks for his safe return. Dresden sets about to do this when he discovers that Nicodemus and the Fallen are who abducted him. Dresden works with Gard and Hendricks, Marcone’s henchmen, throughout the book to help get him back. Dresden originally assumes the Denarians want Marcone to persuade him to take up a coin and use his connections to wreak havoc. As a means of meeting with Nicodemus to talk with him and get back Marcone, Dresden sets up a meeting at the local aquarium as neutral ground and brings along Ivy and Kincaid as neutral parties. The whole thing turns out to be a setup meant to kidnap Ivy, with Marcone’s abduction having been a huge decoy. The Fallen want Ivy to accept a Denarian coin to give them an insane amount of power. Despite a short but intense battle, the Denarians make off with Ivy and Dresden must fight to get her back. Along the way, Dresden and Luccio strike up a relationship and Dresden is constantly running from the Gruffs – servants of Summer who are out for Dresden for siding with Winter. Dresden is finally forced to offer up all of the collected Denarian coins, plus Shiro’s sword Fidelacchius, to Nicodemus as a trade for Ivy. Drunk off the power to wield a Holy Sword, Nicodemus accepts this offer and has Dresden meet him on an island. Both Ivy and Marcone are being kept prisoner on the island. Dresden get a strange sensation that the island is familiar to him, and he knows several things about the island once they arrive. Dresden is accompanied by Michael and Sanya, who throw everyone on the island for a loop and start attacking. Gard and Hendricks show up in a helicopter and start lifting people into it. Sanya, Marcone, and Ivy get up safely, but as Michael is being lifted, a Denarian takes a sawed-off shotgun and opens fire right under him, wounding him almost instantly. The helicopter, suffering from some of the close gunfire, flees, leaving Dresden alone on the island. After a long battle and a run-in with the final Gruff from Summer, Dresden manages to escape the island. Thomas and Murphy drive up in Thomas’s boat and rescue him. Ivy starts recovering, but Michael is left open-ended as to whether or not he’s truly okay. On a date with Luccio, she tells Dresden that his familiarity with the island is a sign of his Sight strengthening. Impressed with his ability to ward off Denarian shadows, archangel Uriel offers Dresden the power of Soulfire, a power he can put to good use. The book ends with implications about Dresden and Luccio’s relationship.
I give this book a 4/5. I enjoyed it, but not as much as some of the others. This book does not end with a neat little bow, and is one of the first to do so. There are lots of open-ended questions at the end. Is Michael okay? Why does Dresden now have his sword? Is Nicodemus actually dead? Hopefully lots of these will be answered in the next book. I loved Dresden’s affection toward Ivy and Thomas’s and Dresden’s brotherhood. I don’t know how I feel about Dresden and Luccio getting together. And I really want to know who the traitor is, and where they are. It’s been indicated that the traitor is either on the Council, one of the Fallen, or even in the church. Seriously, Butcher has dragged this out for like four books or something. I’d like to think that the next title means we’ll find out, but you never know with Butcher.
For Next Time
Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher
The Warden Morgan has been accused of treason against the Wizards of the White Council-and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. He’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Like Harry Dresden. Now, Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less-than-agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake could cost Harry his head…