• The Good: Harry’s up against all odds yet again, but at least he’s alive!
  • The Bad: Pure pulp
  • The Literary: Significant Merlin backstory

Chicago’s only professional wizard, Harry Dresden, is alive again, thanks to a bargain made with the Faerie Queen of Air and Darkness, Mab. Once she restores the wizard to health, Harry becomes Mab’s hitman, and his first job is an impossible task—to kill an immortal.

I love coming back to Dresden. For me, this series is best read sporadically. Taken together, it can be redundant in form and plot. But a little at a time, it feels like coming back to old friends, and poor Harry just keeps fighting the good fight. The series isn’t so much hardboiled detective fiction as it is full on fantasy now, but that’s because Harry himself is no longer a mere mortal.

One of the great things about these books is the number of things up against Harry. Not only does he have to kill a fay, but a world danger emerges. Harry learns the true purpose of the secret island Demonreach in the middle of Lake Michigan, and it’s likely to explode, destroying billions of lives. Plus, the bargain he made with Queen Mab is starting to eat at his soul, giving him violent and evil urges.

Lovable secondary characters are back to aid Harry in his quest, including his powerful and resourceful apprentice Molly, his old friend and former police officer Karrin Murphy, and his uber-sexy vampire half-brother Thomas. Even Harry’s dog Mouse, who now watches over Harry’s young daughter Maggie, joins the fight on Demonreach.

Recommended as a raucous urban fantasy series that’s just plain fun, especially as narrated by James Marsters.