Monday, August 9, 2010

review: The Dresden Files (books)

Currently this is my favorite book series. It is a long running science fiction series by Jim Butcher who has been on the New York Times Best Sellers list numerous times for this series as well as his other series The Codex Alera.

The story revolves around Harry Dresden, the only person listed under 'Wizard' in the yellow pages - and no, he doesn't do parties, love potions, or seances. Think of him as a "professional wizard" or wizard detective. Each book is usually a different case or linking cases however, beginning in the later books there becomes an overarching plot. In fact, Jim Butcher has announced that there will be twenty regular books in this series and then will cap it off with a massive trilogy! So if you're looking for the long haul (like me) this is the series for you.

The books tackle all sorts of magical creatures and problems including but not limited to: demons, angels, ghosts, evil wizards, gods, fairies, werewolves, and vampires. Each creature has their own twists on how they're portrayed which can differ significantly from their classical portrayals. Continuing on this line the series offers a refreshing spin on the classic wizard. Harry isn't your anti-hero or even your reluctant hero - in fact, he admits he's a sucker for a lady in need which often comes back to bite him in the ass. The series is set in modern day Chicago so you really won't find Harry running around in robes instead he wears a leather duster and jeans which gives him the lone Sheriff or cowboy appearance that he loves and hates.

Humor is a huge part of the reason why I love this series. Butcher will often take classic elements and make them incredibly witty and hilarious. For example in one of the books flying purple monkey demons are attacking Harry using... well, the same projectile missiles that they use in real life - poo. However, in Harry's case, they happen to be flinging flaming poo that explodes on contact much like liquid napalm. fun!

As for characters there's Harry, Karen Murphy, and Bob that are in almost every book. Harry's very stand-offish and doesn't much like to be intimidated or bossed around but when he is his humor really comes out. Ah, sarcasm. it truly makes the world go round. Harry also owns a skull... named Bob, who just happens to house a spirit of intellect who, despite not having a body or even a corporeal form, loves porn. Karen Murphy is the other main character in this series. She is a Lieutenant in the Special Investigations unit of the Chicago police department. She's a tiny, blue eyed blond haired ball of tightly restrained fury despite the fact that she looks harmless. She is described as "tiny but fierce". very true.

These books are witty, complex, and will keep your turning pages. The plot is interesting and the characters are well done and thoughtfully detailed. I give this series 5 out of 5 stars for length, humor, over-arching plot and zombies.

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