Published 2010 438 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
I answered the phone, no big deal, until I heard the message: 'They've taken our daughter.'
Harry Dresden, professional wizard, has never faced anything like this. Arianna Ortega, Red Court vampire, blames Harry for her husband's death - and she's out for revenge. So her discovery that Susan Rodriguez had borne Harry a daughter was an unexpected gift. Arianna's next step was to kidnap the girl and she plans to use her blood in a violent ritual sacrifice designed to kill Harry, Susan and their daughter.
Harry is massively unprepared both emotionally and in terms of firepower. Susan had disappeared to South America following an attack by his enemies that left her cursed. And with the White Council of Wizards and the Red Court in a state of truce, reinforcements are precious thin on the ground.
With the life of his child at stake, Susan's humanity hanging in precarious balance and with his own death looming, Dresden must find a new source of strength. In the past, there had always been a line Harry wouldn't cross. Though sinister forces have tempted him time and again, he had never given in to the full fury of his own untapped dark powers. But then, only his own life was at stake.
Wow. Just wow. Need more of a review than that? Okay, I’m trying to keep this one spoiler free but here goes…
Changes, the twelfth novel in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series featuring the adventures of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizard for hire, is most aptly named. This is Harry Dresden but it’s a Harry that readers have never seen before. He literally changes before the reader’s eyes as he tackles his most challenging mission yet, the retrieval of his daughter from the clutches of the Red Court vampires.
Criticism of previous novels in this series has included the length of time that has been taken to expand a long-running story arc about a mysterious group of black wizards (known as the Black Council) who may have infiltrated the highest levels of the wizarding world’s White Council. That story-arc is pretty much abandoned for Changes, with a surprising new plotline about the young daughter that Harry never knew he had being in mortal peril at the hands of the Red Court vampires coming out of deep left-field and taking its place. Certainly, this reader never saw it coming!
Wasting no time Butcher soon gets down business, surprising both loyal series readers and Harry with the news that he’s a father and his daughter’s been kidnapped on the opening page of the novel. From there he doesn’t let up on the dramatic tension or the novel’s pacing through the next 400 or so tightly plotted pages.
Harry Dresden has certainly faced big challenges before in his wizarding career. He may not have always come up smelling of roses but he has always come up on the winning side in his encounters with demons, warlocks, zombies, fairies and ghouls. This time everything seems stacked against him. His enemy is formidable – the ancient ruling elite vampires of the Red Court, his allies are thin on the ground – not to mention seriously outgunned. Desperation leads him down his darkest path yet and takes him far away from the goodie-two shoes Harry character that populated the earliest books in this series.
Changes is a defining novel for the Dresden Files and contains some of Jim Butcher’s finest writing for the series too. Its twisty plotline is well paced and suitably obfuscates the story’s shocking climax, while there is no shortage of wisecracking and wizardry to keep readers entertained. Vampire fans are certainly in for a treat with Changes, since this is one of the most vamp-centric stories in the series to date. Tenacious vampire assassins provide plenty of danger for Harry and his friends – the mystical Mayan theme for the court of the Red vampires is just a thrilling bonus for fans of the supernatural.
Changes is a fantastic novel that guarantees to leave Dresden Files fans begging for more. Not to mention leaving them with questions like “Where will Harry go from here?” and “How far can he travel down such a dark path?”
LoveVampires Review Rating: