I love me some Dresden Files. I really do. And after getting over the overt sexism/chauvinism that I just don't appreciate (right about the time Butcher was toning it down), I really enjoyed Dresden. The whole series stays solid, it's not crap writing, it doesn't suffer from stagnation like so many long series tend to, the pacing is usually awesome, and I like that it's a story with complicated tie-ins to the whole Harry-verse (although lately, there are no stand alone novels, you've really got to know your Dresden-stuff). Until now.
This book was such a disappointment.
It wasn't bad. It just wasn't up to what the series has been (for the most part).
Main issues I had with it:
1. Enough with the exposition. By the time you are on Dresden Files #13, you don't have to explain the little stuff. No one (sane) picks up at book 13. I do appreciate the reminder when you're bringing up a character/act from a few books ago, but some of the stuff is brought up in every single novel and you get tired of it. Very tired of it. And not "omg, that character from book 2" but "omg, fire is hot. still hot. did you know fire is hot?" There isn't enough exposition in the world to make this a stand alone, so stop it already with the basic stuff.
2. OMG, it was so Dark. Not dark. I like dark. But DARK and depressing. I get it. Life without Harry sucks. Dealing with the void sucks, but there was so much depressing Darkness that I almost stopped reading the book.
3. Predictable. There was very little in this book that was unpredictable. You knew at the beginning how it would end. You knew in the middle what would come next. It was boring (add boring + dark and we almost had a did not finish on this one out of boredom).
It sounds like I hated the book, but I didn't. It's still a decent book, just somewhat disappointed from the really good stuff.
Incidentally, this is also the first Harry Dresden that I've actually read. I have audiobooks for all of the other 12, but I hated the sample I heard of not-Marsters that recorded this one. I have to say that either Marsters's reading has very much affected how I see the Dresden files (totally possible) or he just does a great job, because when I read this one, it felt the same as the audiobooks.