Monday, September 12, 2011

The Muse Reviews: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

One of the best serial novelists of our time. And he's an urban fantasy/mystery writer. Go team sci-fi!

If you're a science fiction/fantasy fan, then you know there are two Harrys. One is the ultra teen heartthrob, Harry Potter. (Kind of like Justin Bieber, only with wands.) And then there's the Harry that adults love...the inimitable Harry Dresden, the famed wizard detective of Chicago.

Now, I've heard a lot of buzz about Harry Dresden over the past few years. But the Dresden Files is a series of books, so I was reluctant to pick them up. Series take too long to read, and it often seems you, dear reader, will never get to the end. But thankfully, author Jim Butcher makes each Harry Dresden novel a standalone book. If you need to stop after book 1, you can. If you want to pick up book 5 before reading book 4, you can. I wouldn't recommend it, but you can do it.

Yet the story of Harry Dresden builds and builds, and by the time a reader gets to Ghost Story, which is book 13, you'll be glad you read the books in order.

You'll also be glad you kept reading through the entire series of books. It is amazing that Butcher can keep Harry Dresden's life and experiences interesting, even after all this time. He's created a rich, urban fantasy world in which the magical world of fairies, vampires, werewolves, and wizards overlap with the Chicago us normal humans are familiar with.

And when you think Butcher can't figure out anything more clever to amaze you with, or more dramatic to keep you reading, he pulls off another hat trick and one-ups himself. (Just wait until you read book 12, Changes, and you'll understand. After that book, I couldn't see where Butcher would go next, and then Ghost Story came along and blew me away.)

Butcher is terrific at writing scenes and drama that keep the story moving forward. It's hard to get bored reading a Dresden novel, that's for sure.

Harry himself is a great character, very endearing, especially as it seems to take him forever to realize just how powerful and therefore intimidating a wizard he can be. He's kind of a nerd too. And he's smart and sarcastic. And he'll do the crazy things others wouldn't do, precisely because he believes in taking care of other people. He's the kind of guy you'd want to hang around with.

And that's one of many reasons I keep coming back to these books as a reader. Maybe I'll get tired of Harry one day. But I doubt it. In fact, I'm now caught up and finished with Butcher's most recent Harry Dresden book (Ghost Story), and I can't wait for the next one to come out.

In other words, I'm addicted.

You will be too. The Dresden Files are a great series of books, entertaining, heartfelt, well-written, and a blast of a good time. Definitely worth your investment, and highly recommended.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. I love this series of books though, I confess, I was a bit underwhelmed with Ghost Story. It just felt too much like nothing had really been accomplished at the end of the book.

    This series was a fortuitous find for me at a mall bookstore back around the time the first few came out as paperback originals. I had to kill some time, picked up Storm Front, decided it sounded interesting, and bought it. I've been a big fan ever since!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Michael. (Or do you prefer Mike?) Personally, I really liked the look at Harry's past that Ghost Story provides. And there are some hints of things that I'm wondering how Butcher will develop later. That kept me hooked, I admit. It's cool how you originally found the series, back when they still had mall bookstores! I remember those days. The mall near me no longer has one. It feels sacrilegious.

  3. I feel very ignorant but I confess I haven't heard of this Harry - but I haven't really been following the other Harry either - I have started on the other Harry and now I'm being tempted toward this one also.

    Its a long series! I'm an old lady - this might not happen!!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog today - I am still wandering around everyone - I think maybe I joined to many groups just at a time when I'm bust - but I will get around - I enjoy Rachaels campaigns very much.

  4. I finally just started the Dresden Files recently, thanks to the giveaway from Wicked & Tricksy. I'll admit I had sky-high expectations and thought the first book was only okay...but it was enough to convince me to try the second. I'm on page 105 of that one and already liking it a lot better than the first. Excited to dive into the rest!

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Alberta and Nicole. Yes, it is a long series. Thankfully, each book has an ending. Like any series of mystery novels, you know "who done it" at the end. So, you can pick up one or two and read them without feeling guilty that you haven't read them all. And Nicole, you're right. Jim Butcher was feeling his way through the first couple of books, but they get better as you go along through the series. Butcher constantly amazes me because just when I think he can't reveal some new idea, he does, and it's like, "No, he didn't just do that! Oh my goodness. Now, what's going to happen next? Wow!" In other words, he knows how to keep his reader on the hook. Of all the books I've ever read (and that's a lot), The Dresden Files are among my favorites.

  6. I read the first book, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't get the urge to run out and pick up the second one. I keep hearing awesome things about it, though, so I will now put it higher on the library check-out list. =D


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