There are massive spoilers here. I'm posting this more for discussion with anybody else who's read these than to entice someone into reading them. If my first three posts about this series haven't done that then nothing I say going forward probably will.
There was a point in this where I realized that I was so very tired of nothing ever working out for Dresden. So far he's lost his girlfriend, he's facing eviction, the Council wants to railroad him, Murphy has to be careful about giving him work because he's viewed as suspicious and even if she could he's far too messed up to be much good, and his lost love comes into his life only to be working for the other side. That's not even counting him being literally traded away to a Faerie Queen by his godmother.
Things look like they may be improving by the end of the novel but when I finished I decided that if every good thing that happens is only a set up for something horrible later on I wanted to know now before I got much more invested in this series. I didn't think I could take another 10 novels worth of mostly angsty grimdark. It's fine to make him fight for things but having him steadily decline like this to the point of him being able to enjoy an evening playing a table top RPG with the werewolves is an extraordinary high point is too much. I was about ready to abandon canon and just go look for the better written fanfic.
I went out and deliberately looked for some spoilers and found enough to intrigue me and give me a reason for reading the next book. As a reader I shouldn't need to psych myself up for more though. I should be begging the author for it. I'd recommend skipping this one except that there is too much setup for things to come and it really does have some enjoyable stuff in among the grim.
I did enjoy the werewolf kids a lot this time around. I would be in favor of a spin off series with just them and Tera West. I think a lot of the reason they took to Harry at first is that they're gamers and he's an actual for real fire ball shooting Wizard and the way they get impressed by him using his powers is cute. By this point though they've seen real death and danger, they know it's not an RPG, and it's just making them more committed to help.
Naming the dead knight after J.R.R. Tolkien was distracting but having him also be friends with a girl who's an actual troll was sort of neat.
Before I ever read the first novel I'd seen a rant about how racist Butcher was and part of the slim proof offered for this was the fact that there is a character named Injun Joe. Now that I've met Joseph Listens-To-Wind and know that Injun Joe is a teasing nickname bestowed by Ebenezer McCoy, who Joe in turn calls "an ignorant redneck hillbilly", the charge loses it's credibility. It's obvious the two men are good friends and both are old enough that this new political correctness thing hasn't really sunk in yet. Dresden immediately using it himself is bit questionable but I took it as part of his general screw the council attitude at that moment and Joe seems to have liked that he's a smart ass. Well, that and Little Brother likes him and that probably counts for a lot.I really like Ebenezer and Joe and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them.
Due to my spoiler search I know just what Ebenezer and Thomas' relationships are to Harry and I'm sorta glad that I do because just knowing doesn't explain the how's and why's so it makes anything with them more interesting. I think part of my frustration with this novel is that the structure of the books keeps us trapped in Harry's POV. He's an unreliable narrator, deliberately so, and it helps to have a different perspective on some things.