Book Review: Jim Butcher’s Summer Knight<

Posted June 24, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jim Butcher’s Summer Knight

Summer Knight


Jim Butcher

It is part of the The Dresden Files #4 series and is a urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by ROC on September 3, 2002 and has 449 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mean Streets, Changes, Side Jobs, Ghost Story, Dark and Stormy Knights, Aftertaste, Hex Appeal, Welcome to the Jungle, Dangerous Women, Storm Front, Grave Peril, Fool Moon, Cold Days, Skin Game, Blood Rites, Death Masks, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Shadowed Souls

Fourth in the Dresden Files urban fantasy series revolving around a White Council wizard named Harry Dresden. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the The Dresden Files books on my website.

My Take

It’s all about balance, and I don’t think Elaine has any. You can judge for yourself as Butcher includes a bit of Elaine and Harry’s past shared history.

I don’t know how Butcher manages to come up with so many problems for Harry. His cup definitely overfloweth between the Council wanting to give him to the vampires — screw the precedent, Elaine returning from the dead, Susan not quite dead, Mab insisting on his aid, Warden Morgan trying to trick him to death, Red Court assassins coming out of the woodwork — and targeting his friends, and that elevator still giving him a problem, lol.

It’s so Harry to have his cat use his good robe for a litter box. That old plaid flannel oughta make an interesting impression, lol. Then there’s Toot-toot. Hey, I’m with Toot. I’d do almost anything for pizza too! I did crack up over his military titles for his team: Loo Tender, Caption, Star Jump, Corpse Oral (ewww), Generous, and First and Second Class Privys. When Toot tells everyone to “fall apart for messy”, well that sounds about right too, *giggle*.

When ya think about it, one of the fun things about the Dresden Files is Butcher’s guy-ness. He brings that guy sense of snarky humor into this, and you can’t help but laugh. From his snarky throw down to Morgan about porn movies and baby oil for one to that cold glass of water down his pants front to the taunts he’ll lay on the frightened Murphy. Hey, trust me, Harry is a full-service snarkfest who will take anyone on, a truth you’ll see when Harry calls Maeve on her disrespect.

Matty says something about “you know what he was meant to be”, and I’m still wondering what she meant by that. Hmmm… Then there’s Aurora’s comment about how Harry has been meant to be a destroyer.

Yup, you’d’a thought such long-lived creatures as wizards would remember their history, that appeasement never works.

That’s good. Butcher has come up with a good reason for those toads and created a horrendous problem for Harry to fix. It’s all back to balance.

Yep, Harry has a good point: all the marvels of airplane travel, and we still complain. Maybe it’s that balance thing again?

That sentence, “until some faery soldier rips your legs off”, hit me funny. There’s the pejorative use of faery used to refer to gay people implying that they couldn’t possibly be manly enough to be real men, and yet, lol, faeries are strong enough to do just that — rip the legs off anything they choose.

The Story

It’s raining toads, and we can only hope that it’s a bored faerie making them.

Seems that Harry has been neglecting business while he strives to survive the Red Court assassins after him. And his faerie godmother has handed off her control of him to a more powerful — and terrifying — entity! And she’s offering Harry a deal too good to be true.

Meanwhile war has broken out between the White Council and the Red Court of Vampires. The vampires expect the wizards to give them Harry — and they’re considering it! Unless Harry can get Mab to grant the wizards safe passage through the Nevernever. Only Elaine needs to succeed as the Summer Emissary which requires her success and not Harry’s.

The Characters

Harry “Hoss” Dresden is a wizard working as a private investigator and sometime-consultant to the Chicago Police Department — he claims he’s a “brawny thug” who’s “noisy as hell”. Mister is his huge cat. The Blue Beetle is Harry’s beat-up, multi-colored Volkswagen, the only vehicle that can survive a wizard — most things manufactured after World War II don’t do well around wizards. Susan Rodriguez, a reporter for the Midwestern Arcane, is/was Harry’s girlfriend until he thinks he got her killed in Grave Peril, 3. Harry has been an apprentice to Justin DuMorne and Simon Pietrovich. Elaine was Harry’s first love, until she turned to black magic along with Justin DuMorne. Bob the Skull has a fetish for romance novels and an encyclopedic knowledge of spells.

The Chicago PD
The courageous Lieutenant Karrin Murphy heads up Special Investigations and is still suffering from night terrors about Kravos (see Grave Peril). The position is a slot into which disgraced policemen (or -women) are tossed since they never last very long. But Karrin is the first to hire a wizard consultant. Gregory Taggart was her first husband.

The Alphas
The Alphas are a pack of werewolves we first met in Fool Moon, 2. Billy and his team are patrolling for bad guys. Georgia is Billy’s girlfriend. Phil and Greg are fellow pack members.

Ms. Sommerset is a potential client.

The Courts of Faerie
The Nevernever is an entirety of spirit; those parts nearest the human world are “almost completely controlled by the Sidhe” and called Faerie. The Knights receive their power, the mantle, from the relevant court, and they must maintain a balance. Mortal, they are the court’s champion and acts for them in problems that are not strictly sidhe. Each court has three queens: the Queen Who Was — the Mother, the Queenip the legs of Who Is (the current reigning queen), and the Queen Who Is To Come — the Lady.

The Winter Court
Mab, the Winter Queen of Air and Darkness. And she owns his ass. The Mother is also known as the unmaker, the destroyer. Leanansidhe is Harry’s faerie godmother. Maeve is the Winter Lady with a court in Undertown. Grimalkin is Harry’s guide to the Lady. Jen is an undine Maeve offers up to Harry. Lloyd Slate is the current Winter Knight, violent, vicious, and addicted to heroin. And if this is an example of the usual treatment, I don’t blame him for his actions.

The Summer Court
Titania is the Summer Queen. Elaine is the Summer Emissary. Ronald Reuel, an artist, is the Summer Knight. Aurora is the Summer Lady. Korrick is a centaur and a blacksmith. Lord Talos is one of Aurora’s advisors and Lord Marshall of the Summer Court.

Grum is an ogre, a wyldfae, and works for either side. The chlorofiend does sound better than plant monster. More cartoony *grin*.

Ace, Fix, Meryl, and Lily are changelings and were friends of Reuel’s; they have a strange way of delivering an apology. Toot-toot is a minor faerie who can be enticed into helping Harry. Elidee is a tiny fae who owes Toot-toot a favor.

The Red Vampire Court
The Tigress is a LaChaise ghoul and one of the assassins after Harry. Duke Ortega is its war leader with a demand of the White Council.

The White Council
The White Council of Wizardry is run by the Senior Council which consists of the Merlin, a.k.a., Alfred, as leader (and very anti-Harry); Martha “Matty” Liberty; Listens to Wind, a.k.a, Injun Joe, with his sidekick; Ebenezar McCoy, a powerful wizard who stepped up for Harry and took him home to Hog Hollow, Missouri; Aleron LaFortier; Ancient Mai; and, Gatekeeper (Rashid).

The Wardens are the police force for the Council. Morgan is one of the Wardens. Wardhounds are dog statues that can detect threats. Tera West. Simon Pietrovich was a Senior Council member, their vampire expert, until he was killed in Archangel. Klaus Schneider is a senior wizard. Peabody appears to be the Council secretary. Other wizards include Montjoy, Gomez, and Luciozzi.

Evocation magic is kaboom magic and difficult to master; not one of Harry’s strong points. Changelings are half-mortal and half-fae. Until they decide to go mortal or fae, they’re under the jurisdiction of the fae parent. The Sight, a.k.a., the Third Eye, allows wizards to see the forces of magic.

The Cover and Title

At first glance, the cover appears summery with that blaze of yellow light radiating out from the center, but as you get closer to the details *eye roll*, it becomes most sinister with those glowing-eyed wolves stalking up to Harry, a Harry who appears to be concentrating hard for his head is down and his staff is blazing.

The title is the office this story revolves around: the Summer Knight.