This is a day late because I’m trash, but heigh-ho, whatcha gonna do!
This isn’t really a review or rant or anything, more like a fairly Quickpickle-ish post urging you to go read a certain series and why you should.
That series is Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, and has been one of my favourites for a long, long time. It’s about the wizard Harry – no, not that Harry. No, not that Harry either, dammit! – Dresden, a P.I. of sorts in Chicago. Though he goes more by ‘consulting wizard’ than ‘detective’. He’s even in the phonebook! Under ‘Wizard’, of course.
I have to get this out there; Butcher started off as a writing student who wrote a book to be an asshole, so he will always have a special place in my heart. He largely wrote fantasy (and has another series of that kind, Codex Alera, an impressive series on it’s own that sparked from a bet that he couldn’t write a book based on the ‘lame’ ideas presented to him. Those ideas were Pokemon and Lost Roman Legion. God bless this series) but was encouraged to write more like L.K. Hamilton because she was a pretty big deal then. He eventually decided to do it, but with a veritable truckload of salt. He chose to write the book like “some kind of formulaic, genre-writing drone” to prove how shitty that book would be. And he wrote the first book of The Dresden Files, ‘Storm Front’. And it is brilliant.
The series is fourteen books long, at present, with a few short stories and graphic novels thrown in for variety, and so the universe is far too extensive to fully get into in this one post, but wow. What a universe it is.
We’ve got rogue wizards and several flavours of vampire and werewolf, demons, fallen angels, warring Faerie courts, a perverted knowledge spirit living in a skull, Harley-riding lady cops, sassy apprentices, a zombie tyrannosaurus rex…
This world has it all. Name it and it’s been there, or it’s going to be. There’s a pattern to the enemies Dresden faces throughout the series, but still something new every book, a new threat or dirty move from his enemies, someone new to protect, someone trying to kill him.
The magic is awesome, the action is fast-paced and never lets you down, and the character is constantly a sympathetic one, even when he’s making stupid decisions. And he makes some really freaking stupid decisions.
I’m not going to drag this out, as I’ll just blather on for pages and pages about this series (it has a whole, huge RPG built around it, too!), so I’m going to just say read it! Maybe you’ll catch up in time for the newest book, ‘Skin Game’, which is released in May. For now, here’s the synopsis of the first book, maybe just to get you going.
STORM FRONT, JIM BUTCHER
Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.
Harry is the best at what he does – and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get . . . interesting.
Magic – it can get a guy killed.