Monday, May 21, 2012


I stumbled upon Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series kind of backward.  I saw the TV series via Netflix, then read a couple graphic novels (Welcome to the Jungle and Storm Front) and FINALLY found the science-fiction section at the library where I discovered a whole row of the Dresden Files!

Granted, I read 80% non-fiction and the fiction I do read is nearly all from the young adult section, my only delves into adult fiction or specifically, science fiction tend to revolve around Charlaine Harris and my love-hate relationship with her heroines and inability to NOT read the next book in the series.  It's like brain candy.

Jim Butcher, in creating Harry Dresden, has fulfilled a need I was unaware I had.  I love Harry, he's so stupidly optimistic and so brilliant and yet unaware, each book is like a ride.  My buddy Suzette has a thing for a cheesy series involving a MacGyver-like hero who can overcome anything in his path, rescue the girl and magically maintain his solid good looks.  Harry bleeds, he doubts, he wonders, he makes seriously bad puns, he falls down, gets beaten up, he has relationship issues, gets preoccupied with sex, he relies on magical items and other people to help him, he contemplates having a nap instead of saving the day.  He's more real, even written as a wizard, than most action heroes.  Even when he, unfailingly, saves the day.  There could not be a series of books if he did not prevail.  But he doesn't make it look easy.  I would not want to actually meet him.  Kind of like Buffy.  I am glad they are out there in some universe, but I don't want to cross paths with either of them.  Although a Buffy/Harry fanfic that was well-written would be SOOO cool.

I have read several reviews, most scathing, about the series.  I thought two things when I read them, the first was that the reviewers were being SUPER petty, picking out factual inaccuracies in a book written about a magic-using man who fights demons, vampires, ghosts and lycanthropes to name but a few.  The second was that they were lying about how much they did not like the first seven books they read all in a rush over a single giddy weekend.  If your profession/job is to write about good books, you can't really go on about how Harry is so awesome you could not stop eating humdingers and gulping chocolate milk during the fight scenes.  Or how your kid came in with a bleeding knee and you flapped your arm toward the band-aids and after glancing at him, said it was 'barely a scratch' so you could get back to the next page.  Or how you wondered just what was chasing him while you stood in the shower, only after your spouse said you HAD to "use soap this time, so don't just jump right back out to start reading again".   Killjoy.

The bottom line is, that for escape reading, The Dresden Files are perfect.  Lots of fun, action, enough explanations that you are not confused with terminology, but usually not so much that you feel talked down to.  He does kind of really fill in the backstory a bit on occasion, not quiet as much as Harris, who sometimes retells a previous plot line in such detail that it feels like re-reading the previous book.