Don’t mess with a wizard when he’s wizarding.

16 May

I first heard about the Dresden Files from my boyfriend. He sent me a link to the first book with the infamous words “you have to read these”. I consider myself a discerning bookworn, and balked at the idea of detective novels about a crime-solving wizard. Did my boyfriend have shitty taste in books? It was, of course, an important and life altering question. I had to know, and that was when I began to read about the adventures of Harry Dresden.

Harry Dresden

Harry is the only for hire, crime solving wizard in the city of Chicago. Or anywhere, for that matter. His primary source of income comes from working freelance for the Special Investigations department of the Chicago Police. SI is led by Karrin Murphy, a five foot tall, 100 and nothing, bad ass cop that practices Aikido. I liked her for obvious reasons. Harry helps Murphy investigate all the paranormal goings-on of Chicago; vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls, faerie wars, and blampires (black court vampires. Blampires may be my new favorite word).

Harry Dresden is our narrator, and I’d read about his adventures even if he wasn’t an ass-kicking wizard. He’s funny, managing to crack wise even when he’s about five minutes away from possible death. Jim Butcher makes first-person narrative a blast, and the books wouldn’t be half as fun to read without all of the commentary from Harry.

“Susan smiled at me, giving Molly the Female Once-Over – a process by which one woman creates a detailed profile of another woman based upon about a million subtle details of clothing, jewelry, makeup, and body type, and then decides how much of a social threat she might be. Men have a parallel process, but it’s binary: Does he have beer? If yes, will he share with me?”
-Changes, Jim Butcher

The plots and pacing are no mean feat either. They start out simple enough; a dame walks into Harry’s office with a problem, and he can’t ignore it out of a sense of chivalry. Or idiocy. Or Murphy calls him up to consult on a funky crime that’s been handed over to SI. Or a faerie queen requires Harry to either perform a task for her, or die. Simple stuff. Like that. Then things get complicated; it’s not clear who the bad guy is, someone else comes knocking down Harry’s door needing help, or a giant tree like entity is trying to kill Harry in the garden department of Wal-Mart. Or Harry needs to reanimate a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in order to defeat a necromancer that threatens to destroy the entirety of Chicago.

It turned out that my boyfriend did not have shitty taste in books. He had awesome taste in books. Coincidentally, we’re still dating.

The Dresden Files have great characters, plots that don’t quit, pacing that brings the reader along for the ride, and wit that frequently makes me burst into laughter (thus painting me as that crazy person that bursts out laughing in public while reading a book). They’re that awesome, all the time.


11 Responses to “Don’t mess with a wizard when he’s wizarding.”

  1. Sara Leigh May 17, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    I agree, the Dresden Files are great reads that just zoom along and are lots of fun. You’ve reminded me, I need to continue to plow through them on my iPad. I’ve been trying to think of something to add to its library.

    • falconesse May 17, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      Brief threadjack.



  2. Bika May 17, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    I can’t wait to read these 😀 I still have a lot of Terry Pratchett to catch up on, too… I am so gonna be comparing Harry to Moist von Lipwig, who is probably my favorite book character of all time.

  3. Fallah May 17, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    We enjoyed watching the show (which I’ve heard mixed reviews about from actual Dresden readers) but I keep forgetting about these books when I need something to read!

    You have convinced me to actually track them down and read ’em. They sound awesome 😀

    • Claire May 17, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      They are super awesome, and there are some neat details in the books that aren’t a part of the show.

    • Itanya Blade May 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Like a lot of translations of books to the screen, consider the TV show something different.

      It didn’t stick that closely to the novels, which is a good thing usually, but the show was quirky and enjoyable.

      Something TV execs usually kill the first chance they can.

      • Verdus May 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

        Yeah, the TV show was almost entirely a different beast. One episode adhered pretty closely to the first book, but it ended up getting replaced with something else as the pilot. Another kinda-sorta stuck to book two a little, but only in a general sense. The rest had pretty much nothing in common with the book series.

        I enjoyed the show, even if it wasn’t great. And I’ll always be grateful that it aired, regardless of what others might say about its quality. After all, the TV series was the first I’d ever heard of the Dresden Files. If I hadn’t seen it, I might never have been introduced to one of my favorite book series ever.

  4. soapturtle May 18, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    In case no one has mentioned it, because I skimmed comments and didn’t see it…

    To add even better geekiness to the Dresden Files, the audiobooks are read by James Marsters. And he does a FANTASTIC job. 😀

  5. Jen May 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I love this series so much. Can’t wait for the new book. (SOON!)

  6. mister May 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    i enjoyed these, but found butcher’s codex alera fantasy series to be even better.

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