Top critical review
The series is growing a bit stale
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2019
I must admit I'm going probably to stick with The Dresden Files until the bitter end, because despite its cheesy dialogue, annoyingly over-the-top AKSHUN and the protagonist that suffers from the extreme case of Retarded Character Development Syndrome, the series manages to create a sense of an intricate yet coherent parallel universe. Butcher is an excellent worldbuilder who with each installment somehow manages to add more and more vampire factions, secret societies and knightly orders to an already impressive roster of supernatural forces pursuing their agendas (and somehow always managing to entangle poor Harry Dresden in their plans), without making the Dresden lore overly complicated or boring. Besides, I'm sure that, in thirty or so installments, I'll know everything there is to know about Harry's tragic past, his mysterious parents, and his mentor's fate, if the current tantalisingly slow pace at which his backstory is revealed is any indication.
That said, the series makes it more and more difficult to persist in my resolve. I mean, this particular book features the Shroud of Turin (as a particularly powerful magical artifact, of course), a gratuitious bondage sex scene, and more lame comeback insults than you can shake your stick at. Oh yeah, there is also a black Russian man named Sanya who is a member of a distinctly Catholic knightly order but also an atheist and apparently a communist except he's more of a Trotskyist (wat?). Go on, read that last sentence again and see if it makes any sense. I mean, The Dresden Files has always been a bit cheesy, but until this point never seemed to unironically embrace its own cheesiness with truly disastrous results.
And one more thing: maybe, just maybe, Harry Dresden does not need to mention how he's sticking to old ideas of chivalry and getting himself in trouble because of that, every time he sees a nice piece of ass. I mean, imagine a female protagonist who says she is fiercely independent and does not need men in her life every time a male character is in her field of view. Yes, that's how annoying it is. Besides, if we're to judge by Death Masks, Dresden is perfectly capable of normal human interactions with women, just as long as they happen to be his friend's teenage daughter or an omniscient entity who is also a little girl. Perhaps he could expand this approach to the grown-up specimen.