The Coolest Wizard in the Yellow Pages
I have a few book series that I have been following for years now. There is something incredibly special about eagerly awaiting the next release from one of your favorite authors. The burning question of what will happen next is all part of the fun, and Jim Butcher has always done a great job of keeping his readers on thier toes.
The Dresden Files has a lot of the things that make me absolutely adore a story: A tainted hero and characters that lead the story on with swords blazing, wit lashing, and rivalries shining leave me starry eyed and grinning at the end of each of these action-packed, suspense-filled urban fantasy classics.
Jim Butcher gives us a character that you just can’t help but love in Harry Dresden. This fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants wizard lives in Chicago, and bucks the secrecy of others of his kind with an advertisement in the yellow pages:
~ The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher
Of course his paying customers tend to lead him straight into the middle of trouble, and his weakness for a damsel in distress (he is aware it’s slightly sexist) usually ends up making a bad situation much worse.
In each book Harry is pushed to his limits – physically, emotionally, morally, and magically – and each time he perseveres. Kind of. Jim Butcher isn’t afraid of portraying the true costs of being a hero. Death, nightmares, and loss all play into this story, and I’ve heard rumors of a coming apocalypse (I freaking love apocalyptic stories!). With growing power also comes bigger moral dilemmas, and Harry Dresden does not always make the choices that would be expected of a tried and true hero. This only adds to the depth of his character, and those around him. Jim Butcher does a good job of developing a cast of players that face the same problem that Dresden does: what is the right choice in a situation of bad options? The ‘right thing’ is not always cut and dry – especially if war and power struggles are involved.
Of course, there is also plenty of witty banter, fun internal dialogue, and true love to keep a light side to the story. Butcher does a commendable job giving us a supernatural order of creatures that are interesting and fresh. I am always annoyed by the urban fantasy that simply relies on the imagination of others to do the hard work and covers up thier laziness with swords and lots of sex. This author is not guilty of the travesty of bad writing that seems to plague his genre.
The Dresden Files have a well thought out cast of characters, with each magical species having its own history, political structure, and defining characteristics. He also gives us a main character that pays attention to how these dynamics work, so that we can see the complexity of how this world is put together through the eyes of Harry Dresden. I assume the author’s talent and interest in building a world that can stand on its own has roots in what he admits is his true love – deep fantasy. He has another series titled The Codex Alera for those of you who are interested in his other works. You won’t be disappointed!
Those of you who watch the SciFi Channel (now Syfy) may be aware that there was an attempt at a Dresden Files TV show. It was an epic fail, and I ask that no one judge the books after the dismal attempt to make them into a live action extravaganza. It is too bad that they screwed it up – I was pretty excited about it at the time. Poor me.
So far there are 13 novels in this kick ass series, with #14, Cold Days, due to come out in November. If you’re like me, you can easily get through the first thirteen before the big release date. So, if you’re bored and looking for a fun series to read – you know my vote. Already read them? Let me know what you thought of The Dresden Files!