Last time on Harry Dresden: Harry Dresden is in serious shit.
This time on Harry Dresden: a trippy as balls dream sequence with, like, pools of light and stuff
Harry wakes up (or does he) standing in a dark warehouse-like space in front of a bright light projected at the ground. As he steps into the light another, suaver version of himself appears.
His eyes were set deep, overshadowed by severe brows, and glittering with dark intelligence. His hair was neatly cut, and the short beard he wore emphasized the long lines of his face, the high cheekbones, the straight slash of his mouth, and the angular strength of his jaw
What follows is a painfully unfunny comedy/exposition sequence where Harry’s “subconscious” talks to him and says “bub” and makes terrible jokes about, like, I don’t even know. I’m not going to bother summarizing this shit in detail. Basically it’s a really lazy way to slow the plot down for a second and give Harry some semblance of character development in response to all the mayhem that’s occurred so far. More or less the only thing that comes out of it is that Harry really needs to stop treating Murphy like a child and actually give her the information and training she needs to fight supernatural threats directly. I’ve been saying that ever since the start of the first book, not-Harry. And anyway Murphy’s a way bigger badass than Harry to begin with.
During the course of all this exposition we get to learn more about the mysterious Elaine, Harry’s former girlfriend(?) who he angsted over occasionally in the first book. A long and detailed description of how hot Elaine was (so hot you guys) ends abruptly with
Elaine. Beautiful, vital, and as poisonous as any snake.
Most snakes aren’t poisonous, Harry. Get with the program.
I was kind of assuming this was a long lost love thing, but maybe not. We do get a vague description of the previously alluded to shit that went down between Harry and his mentor though and it sounds pretty metal:
I turned my back on the image, deliberately-before I could see it change into the Elaine that I had last seen-naked, festooned in swirling paints that lent a savage aura to her skin. Her lips had been stained brilliant, wet red, curving around twisting, rolling phrases as she chanted in the midst of her circle, its sigils meant to focus pain and fury into tangible power that had been used to hold a foolish young man helpless while his mentor offered him one last chance to sip from a chalice of fresh, hot blood.
Is it just me or do hot young women seem to end up mysteriously naked a lot in these books? We still haven’t found out why Kim had to take her clothes off to try and make the binding circle around MacFinn.
Anyway not-Harry says that Elaine is still alive somewhere and Harry insists that she totally couldn’t be because she died in the fire even though he never found her body so yeah, totally still alive.
Not-Harry goes on to summarize all of the outstanding mysteries that haven’t been resolved yet, I guess on the assumption that the reader might have fallen into a 1000-year coma midway through the book and is trying to finish it while being chased by post-apocalyptic radioactive tigers.
(If you are in that situation right now you might want to reconsider your priorities)
Not-Harry pulls a lot of bullshit exposition out of his ass to arrive at the conclusion that Terra and her pack of goth kids probably aren’t responsible for the non-MacFinn murders and we haven’t seen the real culprits yet.
“One more thing,” my double said. “You have forgotten about Parker and the Streetwolves entirely.
“Oh shit I just remembered I decided to stick that plot threat in, better do something with it”
I won’t know why Butcher is suddenly worried about this now, given that about three different people swore to murder Harry in the first book and then promptly vanished from the story.
Not-Harry is about to start talking about Harry’s mom- the other dead/missing woman that he angsts about sometimes- when Harry wakes up in the passenger seat of Susan’s car.
“If you have any power left, wizard, you should prepare to use it. We are being followed.”
DUH-NUH NA-NAAAAAAAH [james bond music]