Some titles are vague, embracing the themes of a book more than its components. Some are just there to grab attention, and others are just a quote memorable line for their title. Changes however, is that strange title that sums up the entirety of the book. Nothing remains safe in this book. Nothing’s held sacred. Anything can be irrevocably changed in but a few lines. Characters, locations, institutions, the tone of the series as a whole. All take a shift here. All of them Change, and none more so then Harry.
I’ve got to say Harry is, well he’s scarier than he’s ever been before. There’s little of the man who hated killing left. Wholesale slaughter is on the cards, it’s do or die, and our man is ready to go to war. This review might not be as lighthearted as the others I’m afraid. Very little in this book leads to laughter. A dark chuckle perhaps, but never the pure joy present in the other books. Harry has had enough, and he is playing for keeps.
“Harry,” she said quietly, “I know you must be angry.”
“I burn things to ash and smash holes in buildings when I’m angry,” I said. “I’m a couple of steps past that point right now.”
The stakes aren’t what they usually are. The world’s not going to end. The universe isn’t going to be ripped asunder. No Harry has a proper reason to fight here. Not altruism, not chivalry, and certainly not his morals. No. They threatened his family, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dresden over the years, it’s that you don’t mess with those he considers his.
This situation shows us the Dresden we’ve only seen hints of in the past. The Dresden that has the most powerful wizards in the world nervous, and who has slain creatures beyond the reach of mortal eyes. This is the culmination of 11 books of trials and triumphs really. We’ve followed him from he could barely shield himself, and had to fight a demon in his altogether. Now he commands the loyalty of a demonic hound, Knights of the Cross, Vampire Princelings, and Fae gods. He calls fire and ice as easy as breathing, and can flatten an army with a gesture.
“Even in winter, the cold isn’t always bitter, and not every day is cruel.”
As said, it took 12 books to get here, but it was worth the wait. Starting off like this would have been too easy. We wouldn’t care about him at his highest if we hadn’t seen him at his worst. Or, is it vice versa? The Harry of Changes crosses lines that the man in Storm Front never would even consider. As his powers grown, he seems to have lost something. Once he cringed at killing monsters. Now he’ll shoot a friend in the head at the suspicion of them being corrupted.
He’s so much more then he used to be. And so much less.
If you’ve got this far in my review series I assume you’ve at least started reading the series. If for nothing else other than this book, I implore you to finish it. The world, the characters, the messages in-between the lines. Any single one would make the series worth reading. Put it all together, and there’s little reason to read anything else.
“Faith is about what you do. It’s about aspiring to be better and nobler and kinder than you are. It’s about making sacrifices for the good of others– even when there’s not going to be anyone telling you what a hero you are.”