April 4th, 2008

_Small Favor_, Jim Butcher and _Personal Demon_, Kelley Armstrong

_Personal Demon_

The half-demon who asked Jamie to knock her out so she didn't contribute to her problems is the central figure of this series entry, along with Karl Marsters, recent new addition to the Pack. It's like old home week (well, Jamie doesn't show up). Savannah makes a brief appearance (but her mom does not). Paige, Lucas and Benicio Cortez all play significant roles. We also get to meet all of Lucas' half brothers, however briefly.

The plot: Hope is posing as Faith to fulfill a debt she and Karl owe Benicio. He wants a gang of supes investigated. It's unclear how much Benicio knows and when he knows it; he's either (a) crazy lucky (b) dumb-fuck stupid or (c) creepily Machiavellian. Possibly some combination thereof. In any event, Hope's feeling kinda down because of the state of her non-relationship with Karl (who is in Europe for the beginning of the cluster-fuck that is any novel by Armstrong), so when she runs across a cute guy dripping with chaos, she laps it up like so much cream and keeps going back for more, blind to the risk she's running. Which turns out to be significantly worse than anyone anticipated, and drags in Elena and Armen Haig, of all people.

Really. Like a kinda sick, crazy, messed up old home week.

Don't even try if you haven't read at least some of the rest of Armstrong's interlocking series.

_Small Favor_

Our wizard hero Harry spends most of this book shivering, cold, and wet in this outing, as Mab does her best to "help" him by amping up Chicago weather. This sort of bothered me; why the hell does no one one in this series own, oh, say, wool long underwear, wool sweaters, wool socks, Sorels, etc.? You would think anyone living in Chicago over a period of decades would assemble a winter wardrobe that wasn't built around t-shirts and jeans.

The Archive aka Ivy reappears, as does Kincaid, Luccio (who has the hots for Harry), Thomas (cause he's always there), Murphy (ditto), Michael, Molly and family (ditto). The plot was sufficiently involved that I never did figure out some components of it (why, precisely, was Summer hounding Harry? Could anyone figure that out?).

While Lasciel's shadow is gone and with it Harry's ability to wield Hellfire, he's got a new power in this one: Soulfire. God makes an appearance in the form of a janitor in the chapel at the hospital where Michael's life hangs in the balance and Harry gets all blasphemy. Well, I think it was God. Uriel lurks in the background, putting a stealth thumb on the balance to counter the open machinations of so many Fallen.

Again, don't bother if you haven't read previous entries. Harry's actually getting a lot smarter these days. It's kinda nice. Teaching Molly seems to be helping him a lot.