So. Yeah. I mean, Butcher's always been a bit of a literary Marquis De Sade(1) to his characters, but DAMN man. I mean, DAMN.
I won't go into too long and detailed a discussion of the text (I mean, I'd like to discuss it, but I'll wait to see if anyone else posts after finishing and jump in there), but the main thing I want to say is: oh man. I've been turning it over and over in my mind, and I WISH I could just brush aside the idea that Dresden is actually dead, because dude, protagonist!
But the thing is, while I can think of various things that suggest the story as a whole isn't over (the Black Council which is still in shadows, the Grey Council which is still just forming, some sort of resolution with Thomas and the swords and so on), there's not as much indicating that Harry himself has to be there for it.
Instead, my treacherous little brain insists, this might be a perfect time for a time skip, allowing the oh-so-conveniently appearing young Dresden to grow up a bit to adolescence/young adulthood (and letting various Situations develop), and let her take over, keeping it the "Dresden files," but with a new protagonist.
And there are various things arguing for this. For one, the fact that Harry's lost so much anyhow even if he does live. No place to live (unless he wants to make a long-term residence of his brother's boat), his pets MIA (although the dog isn't all that missing), no Blue Beetle, the fact that he's stuck as the Winter Knight, the aforementioned convenience of his sprog popping up, and the fact that he killed Susan, tie it up in a nice bow all you want. And the nice tying off of various loose ends, such as him happening to find out just now that the Blackstaff is actually Grandpa Blackstaff, and his inheriting the gem from his mother. And of course the title of the book - death would certainly be a Change, as would a change in protagonist. (Granted, there are changes enough in the book to make the title work regardless, but still...)
On the other hand, there's little I can find to argue against it. We're still left with matters with He Who Walks Behind unresolved, and Harry's gathering of forces/allies has to come to something more than this showdown, yes? I hope? And that treacherous voice pops up again and says "well yeah, but those could always be passed on to his daughter in a way, as his allies decide to try to watch out for his only child as the least they can do..."
I just... don't know. I *think* there's still enough to tell in Harry's story that Butcher's not actually killing him off just yet, but I'm not *sure* by any means. Argh! Butcher you magnificent bastard!
And then of course there's the possibility that he'll appear to be Really Truly Dead for the next book (or two or ten), and his daughter will take over, then he'll turn out to be Really Alive after all... I wouldn't put that past Butcher either. Argh. When's the next book due out, again?
Not too much I want to say beyond that at the moment, other than I'm glad to see Thomas again, and see that he's not *too* far gone, despite falling off the wagon (so to speak), and that it was... interesting to see Murphy with the sword yet again. And that if Dresden is still alive... by this point honestly I was kinda hoping he *wouldn't* hook up with her, because it's nice to see a male/female partnership that can work as equals and friends and not fall into the sack for a change. But ah well.
(1)Shush, I'm aware.