Ok, wow. As someone else described it on the internet, this 350 page book was basically one long boss battle. Every single stop is pulled out and every single past character and power gets involved. My earlier complaints about the first half of this book being slower and more faltering than usual are quelled; read together these two parts would form a really interesting work with the first half being more setup and foreplay and the second half being just a balls-out fight scene that ends up leveling every bit of scenery in the area. I'd kind of be ok with the series ending at this point, as the power levels have started to reach silly levels, but the author certainly does leave the plot open and ready for the next book in the installment. Other random thoughts:
- I kind of want to complain about this book's fellating of cops, but it did at least partially break from its pro-cop stance and veered towards realism when Karren Murphy shot Mouse the Dog. Much like Thomas struggling against his White-Court spirit demon, Karen spent years struggling against her cop-nature, knowing that in the end she would lose the battle but still valiantly fighting it. So this was a bittersweet entry in the series, as she finally lost that particular battle, gave in, and shot Dresden's dog to death.
- The book suffers a little bit from what you see in series that have gone on for a long while, with baddy-characters who were previously giant threats and irredeemably evil becoming sort of neutered through long exposure. I feel like several of Dresden's "allies" in this fight probably should have turned on him at various points, though I suppose you could also read that non-betrayal in some cases as being part of a longer game.
- The book suffers a little bit more from the author's interest in army tactics and such; you could see this same flaw in its fully evolved form in Butcher's Codex Alera series. That book focused much more on armies, which really aren't that interesting, rather than on conflict between individual characters, which are much more dramatic. In this book there's a fair amount of faffing about with brigade-level conflicts, which I'm sure is of interest to the author as he is a giant nerd, but does not (to me at least) make for stories that are super interesting.