Book Review: The Dresden Files

June 13, 2009 · 3 comments

Lo.  Hearken unto me, dear reader.  Having my own blog is pretty cool ’cause I get to start a post with “Lo”.  Heheee.

I haven’t put together any book reviews in a while.  That probably has something to do with the fact that it’s been a little while since I’ve finished a book.  Which is odd, becuase I’m usually one to finish the things I start – especially books.  Whether I mentioned it a few weeks ago or not, it bears repeating:  when work got busy I switched back to reading fiction.  I’ve been reading fiction since I learned to read and I’m pretty good at it.

“WTF is that supposed to mean??” you say?  “How can one be good at reading?”  I’ll tell you:

When I’m reading fiction – decent fiction, mind you – I’m not really here in the world.  It’s cliche, I know, but reading totally transports me to whatever realm the author is telling me about.  I get lost.  Hours that I don’t notice fly by.  Being good at reading fiction is also a double-edged sword:  reading bad fiction is literally painful to me.  Crappy grammar, punctuation and syntax cross my eyes and piss me off.  Because an author creates a whole separate world, he or she gets to set the rules.  Stories that don’t follow the rules as they’re laid out in the beginning (by the author) also piss me off.  I’m ok with standard deus ex machina, but I think that’s a little trite, pedestrian and puerile.  Nevertheless, it’s useful and an accepted literary tool.

I don’t exactly know why I’m talking about bad fiction, except maybe to set the stage a little bit and qualify myself as an able critic.  And if you’ve read any of my book-related posts before, you know that I’m more of a reviewer of authors and genres than I am of single books.

A co-worker of mine recommended the series by Jim Butcher called The Dresden Files.  The series is about Harry Dresden, a professional modern-day wizard.  I don’t feel like getting too much into the storylines and whatnot; that’s not my purpose herein. 

I give this series (I’m 5 books in) a thumbs-up.  And maybe some metal horns as well.  Yes, definitely; but short-horns.

The books that my co-worker reads are generally about one step up from “young adult”.  Past recommendations have been the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik and the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.  The former is semi-historical fiction with dragons and the latter chronologues Biblical end-times in modern times.  The former are definitely young adult and the latter are simply way too expensive for paperback novels.  That said, both serieses are more-or-less worth reading, if only for the quick-read element they both contain.

In any case, I expected about the same when I picked up the first novel in The Dresden Files series – and was not disappointed.  Which is to say that my expectations were fully, um, fulfilled.

HOWEVER (and please note the caps), I have been pleasantly surprised as I’ve read through this lattermost series.  It’s quite obvious and enjoyable to watch Butcher mature as an author as he adds another book to the series.  I found the first book, Storm Front, to be reminiscent of Chris Bunch‘s Star Risk Ltd series.  Very open-and-shut and simple.  Very few characters and everything gets tied up in the conclusion.  I don’t like loose ends.  I wasn’t surprised to see (after I drew the parallel) Bunch’s accolades of Butcher’s first novel quoted on the cover.

And that’s about all I have to say about that.  I recommend The Dresden Files series.  Butcher does an excellent job of taking relatively simple premises and blowing them up into a whole ‘nother world.  Which is exactly what I like to read. 

And as an afterthought:  Bunch’s novels are excellent as well – the Star Risk Ltd series sucks.  I found the Seer King trilogy to be the best of his works.  He’s definitley a pervert, and some of his writing gets pretty smutty, so I don’t recommend that dudes read it on the train – boners very well may ensue.  That said, Bunch is also a military veteran and brings the best of his knowledge thereof to bear in this trilogy – I highly recommend these three books as well.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie Cleaver June 13, 2009 at 07:55

Chris Bunch? Smutty? [taking notes] It’d be interesting to see different sorts of ‘smut’ as you say. It’s strange that even though most of us have sex, very few can WRITE it properly. Good blog post. Lo. Heh.


Katie June 13, 2009 at 09:51

If being good at reading fiction means completely cutting out the world and not noticing if an atom bomb went off while reading, then you are the master!

oh and long horns are to metal as short horns are to soft rock…


brian June 14, 2009 at 00:41

Hi Katie. How have you been? I’m almost never online on the weekends but since I joined afroromance I have been checking my inbox to see if I’ve attracted any hot choco bunnies of african descent. I didn’t know Lo was a word beside Lo Mein. I have however paid attention to how many rap songs start off with Yo. Most of them are Wu songs. I like the question in the beginning – “How can one be good at reading?” I can only comment on my own experiences on reading. I don’t read. I never read any of the required readings in HS or college. I did read one book that was an Oprah pick and loved it. I could not put it down once I started to read and would sit on the toilet for an hour a nite. As you can probably see my writing in my comments isn’t all that good. Does it bother you? I have free HBO this weekend and to me thats awsome. You probably don’t even own a tv.


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