This post is coming in a little late, since I’ve been reading The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher for a little while now. This past weekend I finished up Proven Guilty, White Night, and Small Favor (spoiler alert).
In case you haven’t heard of this series, here’s an overview: The protagonist is a professional wizard named Harry Dresden. He lives in Chicago, and works as a private investigator. In the first couple of books this is where the main conflict comes from. A client will come in with a problem, which will somehow involve the use of black magic, and Harry will be drawn into a long and dangerous battle to resolve it.
One thing I can guarantee about this series is that it is non-stop action almost from page one. The conflict usually begins in chapter one, and the entire book is set over only a couple of days. Each story is a race-against-the-clock, beat-the-bad-guy-before-he-kills-everyone-and/or-destroys-the-world. They’re difficult for me to put down because I have to know what happens next, and it isn’t unusual for me to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish a book.
Harry is an excellent example of a conflicted protagonist. It takes a while for his backstory to be fully revealed, and we learn that there is black magic in his past. It’s difficult for him to keep some of those impulses in check, and he’s not always successful. Even though his troubles are far outside the scope of what we can experience, his internal struggles are ones we can all relate to, and the fact that he isn’t always strong makes him very human.
Jim Butcher is amazing at weaving his storylines and tying his books together in more than just a sequential sense. For example, Queen Mab of the Winter Fae first appears in book four: Summer Knight. Harry agrees to grant her three favors, the first of which takes place in this book. The next favor doesn’t appear until book ten: Small Favor. There’s still one favor left, and I’m anxious to see what happens the next time Queen Mab appears. For me it creates a sense that the whole series is just one giant story, and I’m only reading chapters at a time, rather than individual books.
One character I love seeing is Thomas, the White Court vampire that turns out to be Harry’s half-brother. He’s prominent for a couple of books as he and Harry figure out their relationship, then he’s somewhat phased out a bit. He’s insightful, and funny, and is a good balance to Harry’s stubbornness and impulsiveness.
It’s difficult to summarize an entire series in a simple post without giving away all of the details prematurely, especially since this post comes in the middle and not at the beginning. Please don’t let my simple words keep you from checking out this series, because it’s definitely worth it.
Keep an eye out for what I’m reading next!