Ever have one of those weeks? >_< Yeah, I’m having one… Hopefully this review makes sense…
Small Favors sees Mab calling in one of her remaining two favors from Harry. He has to find a kidnapped mob boss and rescue him. Odd favor for the Queen of the Winter Court to be asking, isn’t it? But that’s only the overview of a much large issue at hand. Not only is the Summer Court gunning after Harry with some of its top thugs, but Nicodemus is back in town. And he brought his family. It only continues to grow hairy when the Archive is brought into the picture, but ends up having more than her fair share of the problems. And let’s not forget that the Knights are short a member after the last time Nicodemus rolled into town… What will it cost this time?
Butcher kept with a similar track as the last couple of books, work with the expanded cast he already has rather than introducing too many new characters. There were a couple (the Gruffs, more coin demons), and they got tangled up on me multiple times, but because they weren’t too horribly important, it didn’t affect me in the long run. Usually if one of the coin demons was doing something, so were the others, and the one who was semi important, he managed to break away from the others well enough that it worked. I cheered at the return of Anastasia…even if I find the relationship between her and Harry weird (I side with Murphy, this is only going to end in heartbreak). I just thought that after four (or is it five? Butcher’s timeskips make it hard to tell) years of clinging to Susan, it was so strange for it to just NOW break so he could be with someone else. Or pseudo break. Or whatever it did. I don’t know, it was weird.
Speaking of characters, I don’t know, some stuff just didn’t gel with me. Mab’s personality change, I got. That obviously was what Maeve and Lily were talking about in the last book. Fix was even understandable in his reaction to Harry. But Thomas did something so colossally stupid, it broke my brain. It’s such a minor thing, but… He KNOWS what Harry’s magic does to technology. But he buys this uber expensive, high tech car? And he doesn’t even get the kind of upgrades that again, would make sense considering what he’s been doing alongside Harry for the last couple of years. It seems really off to me, as did the scene with Helen towards the end. I also wasn’t sure what the hell was up with Michael, and while it eventually (sort of) made sense, it also felt like he was reacting really out of hand with the Michael we know.
I did like the scenes with Charity and Harry though during the snowball fight. And I thought that the elaboration on Ivy was well needed and it really helped humanize her. I even thought Anastasia’s reaction to it was fitting. I mean, she’s right about what Ivy needs to be. But I think Harry has a point too, and Ivy has to remember that she’s a little girl too or else she’s going to end up like her mother. The sword subplot is also slowly but surely being advanced on, which makes me a little less cranky on the subplots on top of subplots. At least something is working its way towards a resolution, even if we don’t know what it is yet. Murphy denying the sword almost made me groan though. Seriously, she should have just taken it. It would have made her less of a weakness in this whole mess.
I still think Harry’s power growth is getting ridiculous. I mean, I really wish Butcher could have shown us him struggling without the use of Hellfire at his disposal for a bit, and the lack of Lash’s knowledge right on hand being a crimp. Instead, it’s like it never happened, and while he might not have the same level of power, he doesn’t need it because he can do the more complex spellwork he couldn’t do before. And now we’ve got this soulfire stuff going on, and his Sight of some sort of precognition is kicking in which apparently happens with all wizards his age and he just wasn’t told about it, and just… This is killing me, it is. I understand character growth, I really do, but so much of this is happening either a) off stage or b) really fast.
And okay, this is getting ridiculous. So we’ve had this Winter Knight plot being given spins frequently, even in this book. But he STILL hasn’t taken it? There’s dragging out a plot point to the point it dies, Butcher! And to make it worse, I had actually forgotten completely that Harry owed Mab two more favors. Kinda an important thing for a reader to remember, right? And I’m reading these in a pretty short span of time. Oh, and to make it even worse, he doesn’t mention how Harry ends up in deep with owing her two favors. Really, it’s one of those things that really irk me. I understand that as a fae, Mab is on a different time line than the rest of the world. But he really needed to either bunch the favors closer together so the reader’s remembered when she mentioned them, or actually remind us about Harry got into that tangle in the first place. We can recap all sorts of other useless information, but heaven forbid we actually touch on something important.
This post had more negative than I had planned, but I think most of that is because the last book was so good, that this one was a little bit of a letdown.