Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Yay or Nay?

Jim Butcher. He’s one of the many I heard was at C2E2 that I never got around to seeing. Like him, his book series is also one I’d heard good things about but never got around to reading, until recently. Technically, I’m just talking about the Dresden Files here, because I haven’t read his other, more high fantasy genre series. I do still have a life people, give me some time. Anyhow, I can’t say I’ve read the Dresden files in its entirety, but I’ve certainly read enough to know whether or not to recommend the series, and who I should throw my recommendations at.

The Dresden Files fall into that relatively new Urban Fantasy genre, wherein traditional fantasy, fairy tale elements find their way into modern life and an urban environment. In the Dresden Files that urban environment is Chicago. That in itself is sort of a draw for me, living no more than an hour away from the windy city. Now, when I talk to my sister, who’s going to DePaul, and she tells me about her plans and where she’s going, I can say “Okay but be careful girl because that’s where the werewolves hang out,” or, “Harry Dresden just dueled with an evil necromancer over that way. It’s too dangerous!” And she’ll look at me like I’m crazy. So yeah, first point of recommendation for the series; make any relatives or friends you have in Chicago look at you like you are crazy. It’s one of my favorite past times.

I could go on discussing what this series brings to the table, and how to know whether you yourself could enjoy those elements, but actually one of the other things I love about the Dresden Files is that there’s a very easy way to test whether someone might enjoy reading them. You just describe the climax of any book in the series and depending on whether the potential reader goes “Wow! Awesome!” or “Wait, what?” you’ll know if that potential reader would like the series. Yes, I know this method could be controversial because that would require kind of spoiling at least one of the books, but it’s just too effective a method to ignore, in my opinion. For example, “Okay, so Harry has to face off this evil necromancer with powerful magic, and what does he do in the big climactic fight? Why, he magics the bones of Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Field Museum, to bring her back to life then rides around on her giant, angry T-Rex back to save the day.” If all the elements of that sentence jive with your sensibility and taste as a reader, congratulations. Go to your nearest book store or library and get cracking on a new series. The bit I just mentioned is from the book Dead Beat, if you wanted to skip straight to the one in the series with the most undead dinosaurs.

I personally enjoy the series. Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard for hire in the yellow pages, (that’s in a phone book, kids,) is a fun take on your traditional hard-boiled private eye. He’s got a good sense of humor, and the exciting adventures made me actually listen to three audio books in a consecutive row from that series. It’s the sort of easy-going fantastical fun that helped distract me on my long walks and work outs.

Like many fantasy series, Dresden Files has a pretty interesting fan base, one especially vocal online, in a way that only the nerdiest of fandoms can be. I feel their fun attitude and love for the stories is really what makes the Dresden Files an attractive fandom and series. As a poignant closer, observe these pictoral musings I found on the tumblr, because I tumbl now. My sister persuaded me too, and I agreed to assuage her fears for my mental health. Maybe she wouldn’t have if she knew how much Dresden File fan art was on tumblr. Haha!



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