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Skin Game

A Novel of the Dresden Files, Book 15
Written by: Jim Butcher
Narrated by: James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 15
Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
5 out of 5 stars (254 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.…

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it.…

Mab has just traded Harry's skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains - led by one of Harry's most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone - to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It's a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world - which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he's dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

Dresden's always been tricky, but he's going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess - assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance.…

©2014 Jim Butcher (P)2014 Penguin Audio

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What listeners say about Skin Game

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Dresden's at it again

A great little heist caper. Sort of like the supernatural Oceans Eleven.
Marsters bring so much life to Dresden. Can't wait for the next book.

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Great performance mostly great story

As always Dresden Files is amazing. This book was a bit pedantic and too heavy on the rules of magic folk.
That said, James Masters managed to keep the intensive details mostly interesting.

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Jim and James, you make good story. keep it up:).

Always a pleasure to to delve into the ever expanding world of the Dresden files. Very happy with Jim Butchers work. Am also very glad for the long term relationship forged with James Marsters. He does an excellent job bringing the characters to life and has evolved quite sublimely over the years:). Thnx for another great story guys.

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My favourite of the series.

Consistently excellent narration (James Marsters is great for all of them) and very immersive.
Fun take on the formula for this volume, I enjoyed seeing Dresden in a heist.

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  • Don Gilbert
  • 2014-05-29

Hold onto your staff; Harry’s back.

When the Dresden files began with “Storm Front,” Harry was a private detective and the only openly working professional wizard in Chicago. Then he became a warden for the white council, fought all kinds of supernatural monsters, including the Red Court, and recently he was dead. Now in book 15, “Skin Game,” he is the warden of the island Demonreach, and oh yeah, also the reluctant knight of winter court. What great story progression.
From the previous book, “Cold Days,” we know Harry has a parasite in his head and its threatening to end his life. Now Mab, the queen of the winter court, and Harry’s boss, is using his infirmity as leverage to get him to do a job. She’s loaned him out to one of his most hated foes, Nicodemus Archleone and the Denarians. Having done battle with Nicodemus before Harry knows he has his hands full; but locked and loaded with his usual nonstop smartmouth commentary and banter Harry is ready to fulfill his obligation and at the same time thwart his old enemy’s plans. Harry will need the help of his friends, although Thomas and Molly do not make an appearance we get a lot of Murphy, Michael and Butters, and he must use all of his cunning to get him and his friends out of this story intact.
I did like the development of the characters, notably “Butters,” and, as usual, there are plot twists. Some loose ends from the previous books are tied up with others left hanging; but this is “The Dresden Files,” and, if you’re like me, am glad that Jim Butcher always leaves us wanting more.
A note about the narrator; if you’re wondering whether to read the book or listen to this audio, James Marsters is Harry Dresden; his voice inflections captures the clever wit and subtle nuances of the character perfectly.

106 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 2014-05-30

Sorcerous fun!

A great installment on the Dresden files. Characters grow and change, adding to the rich world Butcher has built. Harry is faced with an even more impossible task, and finds allies old and new to help him. Throughout, he examines large problems and small, exploring what it means to have power and what to do with it. There are also some completely awesome stand-up-and-cheer moments you won't want to miss!
Long live Sir Harry Dresden!

30 people found this helpful

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  • Bruce Derflinger
  • 2014-05-29

Butcher and Marsters create magic, again!

Skin games is the 15th book in the Dresden Files series and a solid addition to the franchise. After fourteen books you might think that Harry has done just about everything a wizard in the 21st century can do. But things just keep coming at him that we or he don't see on the horizon. Sort of like running aground in the middle of the ocean on a cruise liner with all charts showing open seas. (Could Harry's ability to knock out modern equipment, bring down an ocean liner during a honeymoon cruise?)

Once again James Marsters demonstrates his voice acting ability to bring Harry Dresden's world into living, breathing, characters that make you care about them. James Marsters is the voice of the Dresden Files - at least in 14 out of the 15 audio books. In each he adds depth to the characters - making them come to life in our earphones. Demonstrating the depth of this acting skills by playing all the parts and making us not only believe all of them, but care about them. I first took notice of him as 'Spike' in the 2nd season of the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". His screen presents took what was to be a bit part to a major character in the 7th and final seasons and then, on the the Buffy spinoff Angel.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Cliff
  • 2014-06-09

Get ready for some fun. PARKOUR!

The Dresden Files series is back in top form for Skin Games. The book is less plot and character driven and gravitates more towards action. This is a nice change of pace from the past few books. Jim Butcher writes great action scenes and this story keeps you on the edge of your seat from begining to end. I particularly like all the swerves in the story. I usually can predict where a story is heading, but in this case a lot of the story caught me by surprise and that's a good thing.

I won't go into details as I do not want to spoil anything, but several new characters are added and one old favorite gets a major power-up in this novel. The new characters are really interesting and I hope to see more of them in the future. Also, we are given answers to several long standing questions that have been fodder for debate for a long time.

The meta-plot for the series is moved a long a bit, but this novel seems closer to a stand alone novel than most of the previous ones. While the author does a good job of explaining the backstory, I would still advise reading the previous novels to get the full impact of this story.

In order to be as fair and balanced as possible there are a few things worth noting. First, there is a pretty heavy sex scene in this novel so be aware you might have to forward through that scene if you are listening with younger people.

Second, some of the character changes are getting mixed reviews from people I know who have read the books with some saying it is really cool and others not so much. I personally like them but found myself scratching my head at a few points and going, huh? That isn't to say the changes were not cool and interesting, just that that portion of the story seemed a bit forced. Kind of like the author said wouldn't it be cool if X happened and then shoe horned it in rather than letting it occur more slowly and organically. That is my only complaint with Jim Butcher as an author is that sometimes he gets into a hurry and rushes major plot changes that would be better developed more slowly.

The narraration is top notch as usual. Mr. Marsters is clearly one of the best in the business and I wouldn't want anyone else reading these stories if I could help it. The only negative is he was reading very slowly at first. This may be to show how Dresden was feeling at the time but it did drag a bit for my tastes. Still a superb performance and my negative is more of an aside than actual complaint.

Overall, this is one of the better books in the series and is definitely worth a credit. The author took some major chances with making huge changes to the series in the past few books and now they are starting to pay dividends. Hurry up and get this one, you will not regret it.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 2014-10-25

Probably the best/most complete Dresden novel

***UPDATE AS OF 2020***
In this, the time of COVID I have attempted to seek refuge in old favorites.
This is not possible with the Dresden Files.
Jim Butcher writes women as objects.
Harry Dresden is a painfully obvious Mary Sue.
Jim Butcher's white-washed Chicago is just gross.
I cannot in clear conscience recommend these books or this author.



9 people found this helpful

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  • Gr
  • 2014-06-02

Harry is Back!

I stumbled onto Storm Front four years ago and was immediately hooked. Since devouring the first dozen books, I have waited with the rest of Butcher’s readers in anticipation of the next book in the series. After the last few books, I was not sure where the series could go, but Jim has done it without losing the feel of the characters or this series.

Skin Game includes some of my favorite characters including Murphy, Michael and Butters. You even get a chance to spend some time with Mouse.

Marsters is an amazing narrator and as always he does a fantastic job capturing the sarcastic nature that makes Harry one of my favorite characters in fiction.

Jim ends this book with some very interesting avenues for Harry’s next adventure. Now all can do is wait, and maybe go back and listen to the last few books again. A must buy If you enjoy Dresden.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Gee
  • 2014-05-29

Another favorite

Any additional comments?

Butcher's Dresden series are my favorite audiobooks to listen to hands down. This book continues the trend of great story and characters. While I can't say that it is my favorite of the series, it is really good none the less. Marster's performance is wonderful as always. I can't imagine Harry any other way. These are the ones I listen to almost straight through and always involve late nights. Enjoy!

9 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2015-07-01

I was hoping for better fantasy stories

What did you like best about Skin Game? What did you like least?

It started off with all the great characters from previous books. Same fun dialogue.

Has Skin Game turned you off from other books in this genre?

Jim Butcher had a sex scene in a previous book and it was really off putting. I thought it was just a phase but he decided to do it again. I really couldn't get passed that point and won't be going back to any future installments of this series.

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  • Chuck
  • 2014-08-28

Good book, exactly what you'd expect

I love this series (and I really liked this book) and Butcher is an amazing author, but the Dresden books are starting to become a little bit of rinse and repeat. Let me explain, I love how Harry's story (and the stories of all his supporting characters) advances with each book. We learn more about Harry and the further down the rabbit hole we go the better the story gets. However, Butcher seems to be following a pattern lately, Harry gets into situations that are seemingly impossible to get out of, gets physically and mentally injured to the point of not even being able to maintain consciousness most times, and always gets out of the situation (although never unscathed, which I understand is part of Harry's character developing, the plot moving along, etc.). I don't have a problem with this scenario in general as long as it doesn't happen that often. The problem I have is that it seems to be happening with more frequency in the Dresden books, like two or three times a book, and it's getting a little old, and in Skin Game, I felt like there was a bit of deus ex machina which rubbed me the wrong way. Don't get me wrong though, I still thought it was a really good book and can't wait for the next installment in the series.

James Marsters IS Harry Dresden. There is no other way to put it. He was made for this role and his performance on this book was as amazing as all his others.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Bala
  • 2014-08-21

I think I love it, or do I?

I waited for this story with bated breath, I tortured myself by not jumping on it as soon as I downloaded it, I wanted to savor each and every delicious moment of Harry, I finished listening to it as soon as I could possibly could, and then I was at a stalemate. I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not.

I left it alone for a couple of months, I felt ready to give it a listen once more, I finished it again in one shot, and then I was at a standstill - again. I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not.

I still haven't decided - entirely. There are some brilliant moments in the story. I loved the end, I can't wait to find out where Harry goes next. I know for sure I will be listening to this again. But - for the first time in a Dresden story, I will be fast forwarding through some scenes. I won't call them out, but IMO some situations and dialogues just seemed forced. In other situations I felt Harry really should have known better and was just being an ass. In some scenes the narration seemed way over the top and distracted from the story. The high that Small Favors, Turncoat and Changes left me at is yet to be reached.

BUT - it's Harry and Marsters. I'll hang with them for as along as the ride lasts.

2 people found this helpful