Review – The Dresden Files – Jim Butcher

Storm Front

Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #20. And the big deal this time is the change in genre! Hooray for a refreshing change to something which is bearable.

Ahh, here we go. After god-knows-how-long of a stint I’ve had reading this sci-fi reform bullshit I can finally settle down into something which I can enjoy. Urban Fantasy. Like a light glass of sparkling water with lemon to clear the palette, this new change of pace allows me to get back to where I began reading, and what really caught my eye before science fiction reared its ugly and constantly shifting head. What I like about this kind of take on fantasy in a modern-day world is precisely what books like Harry Potter almost did and what I liked of the Mortal Instruments series (the first one) encapsulated perfectly.

So let me wrap my claws around this new series with gusto. I’m not sure if this is me, but there are a lot of character similarities between Harry Dresden and Jack Reacher. It’s instantly noticeable in the same, street-smart and cocky self-narration; in the same first-person and oddly observant style; the characters even seem to be physically similar, with Reacher being tall, dark-haired and doesn’t look like a person you want to cross and Dresden being… well, tall, dark-haired and un-crossable. So yeah, this series does have many a similarity to the crime series by a completely different author and without magic. Well… look, just read them yourself and compare them, OK?

But apart from the characters, the style and most of the plot elements are similar. Now, I liked Reacher, and I like Dresden too, but the fact that the books both take a “one case one book” kind of style is instantly observable. Not to mention the fact that there is always a mob boss running the show, they’re both set in America (different parts, but still, mostly the same general idea. I mean, it’s America. Same same) and they both have numerous female characters which the hero has to negotiate love interests with… yeah, OK, I’ll move on to why I chose to read Dresden over Reacher while sprawling in my dark, gloomy lair of a room with the curtains down (seriously, they’re too much effort to be worthwhile).

The magic. There, I said it. I’m (not) sorry, but, I’m only there for Godzilla. The magic, possibly the only thing saving this series from being a Reacher rip-off (albeit a nicely-written one) is the pure reason I read this. He’s a magician, she’s a Chicago PD cop, and they fight crime and the supernatural? You win, I’m reading this. I am unashamedly saying that the spell-throwing, pentacles and transforming wolves are the only reason I read this. It’s not a lie, I’m terrible. Well, I’m not, but it sometimes feels that I am. Look, OK, this is a good series. It’s cluey, slightly humorous at times and it’s a real change from my generally crummy normal line up, and this is just such a refreshing taste of not shitty, wangst-filled toilet paper that is awesomely better than any excrement-packed stain that I have been reading. So sue me.

Storm Front was published in 2001 by Penguin Putnam. It can be found on Amazon here.

Yours: J.M. Pear

Review – The Dresden Files – Jim Butcher

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