Recommended Reading: The Dresden Files

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.

Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.

No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or other Entertainment.

 

I picked up the first novel of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher on the recommendation of my amazing editor Quiana, after I told her the concept for the new series I’m working on, as well as my good friend Jim Briggs.

Initially, I had a hard time getting into the story. I don’t typically enjoy reading first-person narratives (it’s just a personal quirk of mine, not necessarily something against them in general), but once I got through the first chapter of Storm Front, I almost forgot that it was first person. It actually works quite well when you keep in mind the fact that these are very much a callback to the hard-boiled noir detective stories of the 30’s and 40’s.

The narratives are told from the point of view of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, the only wizard listed in the yellow pages in Chicago.  The stories introduce us to a world populated with magicians and monsters, faeries and vampires, demons and werewolves. Harry makes a living (mostly) by working as a freelance private investigator specializing in missing persons and items, as well as consulting with the Chicago Police’s Special Investigations unit which deals with any “odd” crimes which usually turn out to have a supernatural bent to them.

First and foremost, I have to say that I love the concept of a world where magic spells can incorporate such ephemeral ingredients as ‘mouse scampers’, ‘summer sunshine’, and ‘baby’s laughter’. The idea of being able to store these intangible things for later use is wonderful and I’m always curious to see what Harry will pull out of his stores for use in his spells and potions.

Secondly, the characters themselves are by and large very well written and engaging. Harry’s cop associate Murphy manages have a distinct voice and larger-than-life presence despite her being of the non-magical persuasion. I personally envision her as looking a bit like Nancy Allen’s character of ‘Murphy’ from the original RoboCop. Whether this is intentional or not, I can’t say, but I adore it nonetheless.

Another vital element of this series is Harry’s unwavering determination to do what’s right, even if it’s not the smart thing for himself and his own well-being. Although he generally thinks himself a coward, he is a genuinely kind and selfless person who regularly puts himself into situations that are likely to result in grave physical harm or death to himself to help others. He’s also a deeply flawed and somewhat damaged person who continually strives to do better, and has a deep-seated belief that it’s the role of the strong to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Without giving spoilers, I’ll simply encourage anyone who’s a fan of magic, mayhem, and mysteries to give the Dresden files a go. They’re relatively quick reads (I devoured book five in just a couple of days) and a great deal of fun.

 

Read-A-Likes:

Quests and Answers for magical happenings and because like Harry, everyone in the stories presented in the anthology are searching for answers in some way.

Also, keep an eye out for my Phoenix Knight series, coming in 2015!

 

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