The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

Anyone who has talked to me about books for more than ten minutes knows that I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I recently purchased the books for my Nook (yes, I still have the hard copies too) and just finished reading all twelve books, as well as Side Jobs, the collection of Harry Dresden short stories. I hadn’t done that in a long time and I was able to follow overall story arc a lot better than when I read them one at a time. And make no mistake, it’s an excellent arc that includes the short stories. In fact, re-reading Side Jobs made the universe that much richer and more compelling. I also get a special thrill out of watching Harry wreck havoc on Chicago area landmarks that I’ve visited myself (Woodfield Mall, in particular).

I just realized that I haven’t reviewed either Side Jobs or Changes here. I had read most of the stories in Side Jobs when they appeared in other anthologies. It was fun to revisit them and read about their inspirations. “Aftermath”, the last story in the collection, is original to Side Jobs and takes place two hours after the end of Changes. Don’t hate me when I tell you that I read Side Jobs (including “Aftermath”) before Changes.

Changes is book twelve in the series. The title says it all. Everything went boom in this one (and that’s all I’m saying about the plot). I put off reading it until I knew for certain that there was going to be a full-length book to follow it.

I strongly suspect that Ghost Story, which is due out in late July, will be the thirteenth and last in the series. If so, I’ll be sad to see the universe end. There’s a lot to love about it, starting with the characters. I’ll miss Mouse, Molly, Bob, Thomas, Michael, Sanya, Murphy, the Alphas, Butters (“Polka will never die”), and the Za Lord’s Brigade.  I’ll miss Harry most of all. His combination of idealism and snark is a rare and beautiful thing.

Update: Just checked the FAQ on the Jim Butcher web site. According to The Source:

Q. How many books is Jim writing for the Dresden Files?
A. 23: 20 “case books,” like those we’ve seen so far, plus a 3-book apocalyptic trilogy. Book #10, Small Favor, hit bookstores April 1st, 2008. Book #11, Turn Coat should come out April of 2009.

If still true, very, very interesting. Can’t wait to see where he goes after this.


21 thoughts on “The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

    1. Yeah i definitely have to agree, Sandman slim = awesome. The odd thing is i just happened to pick it up at the airport for some plane reading, guess I got super lucky

  1. It’s interesting that you felt Ghost Story would be the end. I was feeling like it is the middle, or maybe 2/3 of the way to the end. Glad to see that the story will continue for “9ish” more books. The title “Changes” to me didn’t signal the end, I guess.

    1. Before reading Ghost Story I thought it could go either way. Changes was obviously a transition. I just wasn’t sure if that transition would end in the 13th book. I’m oh, so happy is isn’t, but expected the worst. I really liked the character development in Ghost Story and can’t wait to read the next installment in the series.

  2. he needs to stop playing around and just write the books! they seem incomplete if you don’t get to read the short stories, or if you miss one. and thats just not fair. or he needs to put them in book form (like side jobs) so we don’t have to try and find them

    1. I appreciate the Side Jobs compilation, for sure. I don’t think he’s contributing to as many anthologies since he started writing Codex Alera. I hope he goes the compilation route again. I’d rather buy all of the stories in one place than pick up the anthologies one at a time (if I can find them).

      1. Just read on the Butcher web site that a second compilation of short stories will be forthcoming sometime next year. Then I think he said he’s done with Dresden Files stories (as opposed to novels).

  3. I liked the Dresden series (have not read Changes, yet). I think I like the rough-shod, happy-go-lucky, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, swashbuckler style of the character. It drew me back to Han Solo, Belgarion, Corwin, and Vlad Taltos.

    Having said that, I was a little put off by the style of the writing overall. In some ways, it was… shallow or immature. Almost like the stories were aimed at teenagers.

    I tried watching the UK video series but just couldn’t get past the first 10 minutes – it just killed it for me.

    1. I see definite improvement in the writing throughout the series, starting with the fourth book. He certainly isn’t writing literary fiction (thank goodness…not a big fan of that generally). I really like the fact that the series is plot and character driven. I have absolutely no problem getting sucked into the story. When I went back and re-read everything, I could see the overall arc of the series and was really impressed by how he’d thought ahead when plotting.

      I agree that the TV series stunk. Nothing about it matched the vision I had in my head (unlike the Harry Potter movies, which got it perfectly). I was really disappointed.

    2. I cannot believe you said that you think the writing is aimed at teenagers! I find his writing to be very mature in the way that it is very concise, never using more words than is needed to describe a scene or a character and yet still giving you (the reader) remarkable insight to and vision of, his world.

      1. FWIW, the first couple of books were in the collection of my daughter’s middle school library. I think that speaks to the clarity of his prose rather than the simplicity of the story and the universe. I do think the writing was not quite as good in the first several books of the series. When I re-read, I see a marked improvement from Storm Front to Fool Moon, not to mention the more recent books in the series.

  4. I thought Paul Blackthorne made a great Dresden, but as for the rest – well I agree with Laura B.

    I read or heard somewhere that when the copyright contract on the TV series expires Jim would be doing something with DF again. I hope so. I’ve read and listened to all of the books over and over and I think they’d make great films.

    Butcher and Wheedon. I wonder if they know each other?

  5. Joss Whedon and Jim Butcher partnered up?!? Now that would be amazing! The TV show did completely suck especially when you compared it to the source material. I hated how they envisioned Bob. Did they even read the books?!?

  6. I always find the topic of the television show funny . I saw the show first and thought THIS IS AWESOME! What? There are books?! Mother of god, these books are AMAZING! Holy crap, that television show sucked!

  7. As a fan of DF audiobooks, if the series ever makes a TV or movie comeback I really hope James Marsters is cast as Harry. He narrates the series perfectly, as evidenced by the re-release of Ghost Story. I just can’t picture anyone else in that role.

    1. I love James Marstars too, but he isn’t who I see in my head when I read the books. This is mostly because Harry is such a specific physical type.

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