A bit too, if you know what I mean. A bit too much, a bit too far, and in one particular moment, a bit too obvious. But a decent installment in the Daniel Faust series, so if you’ve enjoyed it to date, this won’t be the one you tell people to skip. The forces that have been aligned against Faust to date–the nameless Enemy, the Mafia-style magical Network and the shapechanger Naavarasi–have all joined together. Things on the personal front are largely stable with Caitlin, although Daniel finds that he has a few old ghosts of his own he needs to deal with.
This is a very plot-focused book, with non-stop action. I’d almost call it cinematic, in the sense that there are high-octane scenes. And remember back when I noted that for a demon and her supposedly morally ambiguous consort, there was an awful lot of goodness? Well, this installment has him handing out judgments and punishments that feel less ambiguous. Which, if anyone has read it, is curious–see me under the spoilers–
The writing is competent, with the rare appearance of some of the niceness Schaefer is capable of:
“We traveled in that strange space just before dawn, when the bars and strip clubs had kicked out their last stragglers, the neon went cold, and the city took one slow, deep breath before the party started all over again. At this hour, only sharks kept swimming.”
The side characters are a nice ensemble. There’s a quick appearance by Freddie the designer, who I can’t help but adore, though her role is merely comedic relief:
“You give no fucks,” I said. Freddie put her hand over her mouth and gasped. “Darling. Such coarse language. But no, I left all my fucks in Chicago for safekeeping.”
There’s some emotional backstory that may feel satisfying, although I don’t know that it accomplished that for me, perhaps because it felt so isolated. In context of that, Daniel does make an extremely stupid decision, one that was clearly a TSTL plot point. Man, I hate it when authors do that. Otherwise, it was a solid read–definitely an improvement over the last book–just something too much for me in the abundance of antagonists and action. Kind of like when your on the third car chase in a movie, so now they have to involve a semi, a speeding train and an small plane.
A quick note on the series: Since we learned about each of the antagonists when they played an adversarial role in earlier books, it’s probably best to not jump in at this point. Like Butcher, there’s a definite overarching plot to this series, so while picking up a random installment is probably doable, it is likely to be confusing.