By: Jim Butcher
My first introduction to the Dresden Files series, came in the form of a sadly short-lived TV series on the SciFi channel some years ago. I really loved the show, and although I looked into reading the books at the time, I wasn’t thrilled with them. There were certain changes they made to the characters in the show, making them just a wee bit more serious, and I liked that more than what I read briefly in an excerpt from the novels online. Maybe I just liked what I was more familiar with, but like so many other under appreciated shows, it was cancelled after half a season.
For a long time I considered reading the books, since I couldn’t watch the show, and recently, after seeing Cold Days on the bargain shelf at Barnes & Noble, I thought it was about time I gave it a try, regardless of my first impressions.
I came at this series with an open mind, not expecting it to be the same as the show, and it’s really growing on me. Harry Dresden is still his moody, irreverent self, and the tone is similar but slightly lighter than the show. I’m not sure where to place Murphy in all this. Her character is probably the most different. I’m still adjusting to it, but I think I’ll manage. The overall tone is light, like I said, but with enough serious danger to keep me reading. It was a really quick read in fact, and I like that, since I tend to pick up so many long books.
The premise of a wizard who is essentially a private detective, is a fun variation of urban fantasy. Dresden’s dark past, gloomy present, and grumpy attitude actually make for a fun and likeable character, believe it or not. He’s not a hero, but saves lives when he can. He’s not the most powerful wizard either. He just does the best he can with what he’s got, and often goes above and beyond to do it. Maybe that last part makes him a little bit of a hero, but he certainly doesn’t regard himself as such.
Overall, it’s a quick, fun read, with plenty of adventure, magic, and danger. I like to think of these books as good “in between” books, the kind of books I like to read in between the epically long ones. I also happen to have a copy of the first novel in his fantasy series The Codex Alera, so I’ll have to see how that series pans out as well. You’ll probably be seeing more Jim Butcher reviews from me in the future. Until next time…