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Small Favor (The Dresden Files, Book 10) by…

Small Favor (The Dresden Files, Book 10) (edition 2008)

by Jim Butcher

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Title:Small Favor (The Dresden Files, Book 10)
Authors:Jim Butcher
Info:Roc Hardcover (2008), Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, series

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Small Favor by Jim Butcher



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Another absolutely fantastic read! Possible review later. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |

[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]


Some time after the events of White Night, Harry is somewhat enjoying a snow-filled early winter in Chicago when he’s suddenly attacked by Summer Court gruffs at the Carpenter house. With some help from Charity, he manages to take the gruffs down, but he quickly realizes that Summer must be out for his head and, according to the standard lore, the gruffs he took down will be followed by bigger, badder gruffs.

At the same time, Murphy brings him in on a strange case — half of an abandoned building collapsed in what seems to be a magic attack of some sort, and when Harry checks it out, he realizes that frighteningly powerful magic is at work. But before he can investigate more, he gets cornered by Winter Queen Mab, who invokes the second favor Harry owes her. Mab shows Harry that the ruined building was John Marcone’s safe house, and someone used a powerful spell to break all its defenses and kidnap the Baron. Angry that the Accords have been broken, Mab once again selects Harry as her emissary to deal with the problem.

After she leaves, Harry is attacked by those bigger gruffs he was worried about and barely escapes with his life. Harry brings Thomas into the fold to help him out, and not long after, he realizes that the little leaf pin he got for his services to the Summer court is actually a tracker the gruffs are using to find him, so he devises a clever spell using Little Chicago to throw the gruffs off. On top of that, Harry spells Thomas to look like him and sends his brother off to keep the gruffs busy while he tries to save Marcone, much to his chagrin.

Harry tracks down Gard and Hendricks, who survived the attack on the building — barely — but before he can get them to talk, they’re attacked…by the Denarians. Turns out Nicodemus and his posse are back in town, but this time, almost every single Denarian is in Chicago, all working with Nicodemus and his…wife…,Tessa, to some evil end Harry quickly needs to uncover.

At Gard’s request, Harry tries to arrange for an Accords-based negotiation between the Denarians and Marcone’s people using his favorite negotiator, the Archive. While he’s waiting for the Archive to arrive, Harry takes Michael along to the train station to retrieve hair and blood samples from Marcone, which Gard has kept secure in a locker at the station. But when they arrive, the station is attacked by hobs, servants of Winter, and in the middle of the battle, Harry is attacked by an even bigger gruff, whom he outsmarts using Gard’s magic-warded locker.

Once the dust settles, Harry finds that the Archive, Kincaid, and Luccio are actually at the station, and that the hobs were apparently after them. Puzzled, Harry and co head back to the safety of his house.

The meeting with the Denarians comes to pass, and, of course, it’s a trap. But it’s a much, much worse trap than Harry anticipated. Harry realizes the Nicodemus isn’t after Marcone at all — he’s just the icing on the cake. He’s actually after the Archive, whose power and knowledge could effectively allow the Denarians to usher in the apocalypse.

Despite a valiant effort, Harry is unable to stop the Denarians from kidnapping little Ivy, and as soon as he’s back on his feet, he and his friends work to track down her location. With Luccio’s help, they figure out that the Denarians are probably holding Ivy on a mysterious island in middle of the Lake Michigan.

Harry arranges a “deal” with Nicodemus to trade Ivy for Fidelacchius and 11 captured Denarian coins, and Michael, Harry, and Sanya go together to the island, where they are predictably led into an expected trap.

Except Harry isn’t nearly as naive as he was several books ago, so he pulls a fast one on Nicodemus and manages to gain a temporary upper hand in the resulting fight. In the battle, Michael is seriously wounded by gunfire, but Harry manages to get his friends to safety — unfortunately, he gets stuck on the island by himself and has to retreat to a boat on the shore.

After a brief run in with Eldest Gruff, whom Harry manages to out-maneuver using a clever trick, Harry makes it to the boat…only to find Nicodemus there waiting for him. Nicodemus tries to recover the coins from Harry, only to discover they’re already gone — another Denarian, Thorned Namshiel, pick-pocketed Harry in the middle of the battle, allowing Tessa to recover her lost goons. Annoyed, Nicodemus tries to kidnap Harry using Lasciel’s shadow, and Harry fools him into letting his guard down.

Harry is seconds away from killing Nicodemus using the noose when Deirdre shows up to save her father, and Harry is unfortunately forced to flee before the deed is done. Thanks to a last-minute save by Murphy and Thomas, Harry escapes from the island.

In the aftermath, the coins are once again free in the world, Ivy is safe but traumatized, Kincaid is injured, Michael is in the ICU and may never fully function again, and Harry is, like usual, angry at himself for letting any of his friends get hurt.

But while he’s in the hospital chapel yelling at God, the angel Uriel, disguised as a janitor, decides to pay him a visit and reassure him that everything will work out. He also lets Harry in on the fact that he may have given Harry an extra something special — access to Soulfire, the Heavenly opposite of Hellfire.

And so Harry ends the book with a new power and the nagging sensation that something really, really big is going on the universe…

The End.

Cue Sequel.


My Take

Yet another great installment of The Dresden Files! I thought this book was excellent.

To begin with, Butcher brings back a host of the most interesting characters from past books. One of the things I really like about Butcher is that he always includes the right characters at the right times — he keeps the most frequently recurring characters in a constant state of development but doesn’t let the less frequently occurring characters stagnate. They keep developing off stage, and when they return, they return with new dimensions added to their personalities: new goals, new motivations, new powers.

The plot of this book, too, was very well thought out and well executed. Butcher managed to integrate several plot points from different past books into a cohesive continuation for this installment. Everything from the Faerie Courts to the Denarians to Thomas — Butcher doesn’t settle for just focusing on one supernatural element at a time. He’s been gradually building a complex supernatural world since book one of the series, and now, the different powers that be are starting to interact with one another at several levels, which makes for a far more interesting and engaging overarching plot line.

Like usual, this book leaves several threads hanging and includes a generous helping of foreshadowing about the scale of events to come in the following installments — but at the same time, the majority of the book’s events are cleanly wrapped up and the aftermath is discussed in-depth before the story’s close. Butcher maintains the careful balance between cliffhanger territory and an overly firm conclusion, giving you enough tantalizing info to want to dive into the next book without leaving too much of the book’s plot open-ended.

In conclusion, Small Favor is yet another win for Butcher.



Same old, same old. First person, past tense. Sarcastic narrator. Right up my alley.


Is It Worth Reading?

Definitely. You don’t want to miss this one! It’s without a doubt one of my favorites in the series so far!


My Rating

4.5/5 ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Harry Dresden and his cadre of cohorts have managed to hold my interest through ten of the fifteen book series! Archangels, blasting rods, cops, Denarians and on and on (through the alphabet!). The Dresden Files offers, pretty much, something for every reader of this genre! Only five more to read before the Dresden Files series ends . . in spite of my (ongoing) wonderment around WHY I'm so enjoying a genre such as this one . . I'm dreading the turn of the final page in Book 15! ( )
  idajo2 | Nov 3, 2015 |
Note the five stars and take what follows for what it's worth.

I'm a few books ahead -- I'm just behind on posting. But this book, and another one to come, confirmed what I began to suspect a book or two ago, which is that Jim Butcher has developed a poker tell.

I don't want to say much or I'll spoil the suspense for you the way Butcher has started to for me. I'll try to be vague enough that you won't know what I mean until you finish the book, look back with this review in mind, and get it. Maybe you won't agree. Either way, I'd love to chat about this with a Dresden fan.

Harry Dresden is a fully-developed character -- a human on the page, as it will. Prick him and he bleeds and all that.


Except he's starting not to respond to events the way I've so far been able to count on him responding. The guy started off one of his own novels being physically ill because he was upset by the violence he'd just witnessed. He's not Clint Eastwood, nor does he want to be.

I hate being kept in suspense too long as much as any reader, but I'm annoyed that I'm starting to say, "Oh, wait -- it's going to be okay" long before I've been given official word that things are, in fact, okay.

If you've read the series -- the whole series, not just up to this book -- go ahead and read the spoiler below. If you haven't read the series but think you might, DON'T read the spoiler, because it turns out that word is entirely accurate.

Harry Dresden didn't react at all to the fact that he'd witnessed his dog being murdered a book or two ago, and that's how I knew his dog was somehow actually okay. He had the same utter lack of reaction when he saw Michael shot in a way that should have meant the end of Michael. And hey, look! Jokey-jokey time right after Butters takes a well-aimed bullet from a professional killer, and guess who's okay after all?

Somebody tell Butcher that he keeps giving his hand away. I'm very surprised his agent and/or editor haven't caught this tell, but it's real and it's kind of a bummer to hardcore nerd readers like me.

He still gets five stars, though, because he's still doing everything else right. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Series continues strong. Many series can become stale when they hit the 10 book mark, but Jim Butcher keeps it exciting and fresh. Character development happens slowly but steadily keeping you locked in and curious what Harry is going to do next. ( )
  renbedell | Jul 8, 2015 |
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Jim Butcherprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marsters, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the forum going fans at jim-butcher.com. I'm pretty sure your bosses would be upset if they saw your posting stats, guys, but I won't tell if you won't.
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Winter came early that year; it should have been a tip-off.
I ask people impertinent questions . . . Hopefully turning up pertinent answers.
Humanity, when frightened and angry, is a force even the supernatural world does not wish to reckon with.
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From the book flap

Harry Dresden's life finally seems to be calming down. The White Council's war with the vampiric Red Court has reached a period of tentative peace, no one has tried to kill him for almost an entire year, and the worst problem he's had lately is working out how to remove the stains on his carpeting. For once, the future looks bright.

But the past casts on hell of a long shadow.

An old bargain has placed Harry in debt to Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, the Queen of Air and Darkness - and she's calling in her marker. Dresden still owes the Winter Queen two favors, and it's time to pay one of them off. Just one small favor he can't refuse - one that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally and strain his skills and loyalties to their very limits.

It figures. Everything was going too well to last...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451462009, Mass Market Paperback)

THE New York Times Bestseller

Harry Dresden?s life finally seems to be calming down?until a shadow from the past returns. Mab, monarch of the Sidhe Winter Court, calls in an old favor from Harry?one small favor that will trap him between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and that will strain his skills?and loyalties?to their very limits.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Chicago wizard Harry Dresden's calm life is interrupted when Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, decides to call in a favor that Harry owes her, sending him on a quest that leaves him trapped between a deadly foe and an untrustworthy ally.

(summary from another edition)

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