The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
An Introduction to The Dresden Files
The Dresden Files is an Urban Fantasy series starring Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizard-detective. When there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, who do you call? Harry Dresden! This is true of Chicago’s Police Department who need Harry’s help on some of their stranger cases as well as individuals that have nowhere else to go. His advert in the phone book reads:
“Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.”
The Dresden Files is undoubtedly one of my favourite series of all time. It was introduced to me by my partner back in 2015 and we have slowly been making our way through the series ever since. I say ‘we’ as he read most of the series to me like my own personal audiobook. It started when I was very poorly but I will be talking about the art of reading aloud in another post. Sufficed to say it is the reason why the series has taken longer to get through than my normal TBR. I did devour the later books in the series by myself as I was just too impatient! They are absolutely outstanding reads.
There are currently 15 books in The Dresden Files series as well as two short story anthologies that can be read alongside. There will be approximately 24 books in total when the series concludes. I have recommended the series to a lot of people, who have seemed keen until they find out how many books there are. Don’t panic! I know it sounds daunting, especially if your TBR is as long as mine! The series can easily be interwoven between other books. There are no cliffhangers that mean you have to keep reading to find out what happened. In fact, all of the early books feel like stand alones. It isn’t until you get past book 10 that you see how each of the stories are relevant to the overarching plot. There are core characters such as Karrin Murphy, a tenacious cop, Mister the cat and Bob… well I won’t ruin that surprise. Outside of the ever expanding core there are factions of characters such as vampire, demons and fairies, who have their own narrative threads (and books) similar to the style of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Jim Butcher does a very good job of reintroducing themes and characters so if you put the series down for a while it is very easy to pick it back up again.
- Storm Front
- Fool Moon
- Grave Peril
- Summer Knight
- Death Masks
- Blood Rites
- Dead Beat
- Proven Guilty
- White Night
- Small Favour
- Turn Coat
- Ghost Story
- Cold Days
- Skin Game
Why read The Dresden Files?
Firstly, the series has a ton of fantastic characters. Forget the Scooby Gang (I know I can hardly believe I’m saying it), the core characters in The Dresden Files are better and have a lot more depth. The character development is also insane! The further you read, the better it gets. The bad guys are all very different and the main factions each set a very different tone in their books. Jim Butcher has constructed his characters very carefully. Character agendas don’t just drive the plot but are built in to the characters themselves. I won’t talk about my favourite characters as I don’t want to give spoilers as to the significance of individuals in the books. I will be talking about them in reviews as they appear though. Unlike a lot of urban fantasy books that seem to get lost in the conflict, Butcher keeps his series focused on his characters and their relationships, which makes it more attractive to a broader audience.
Secondly, The Dresden Files has a consistent and well thought out magic system. Characters don’t suddenly gain access to spells for convenience. Harry’s magic in particular is very carefully constructed and we learn a great deal about the way he practices magic. There is a lot of power but as with all good books there is a balance that is very well maintained.
Thirdly, there are no bad books in the series. They are all very well written, some unbelievably so. The first book is probably the weakest but it is still a good book. Honestly, they get better and better as you progress. I enjoy the point in the series when the jigsaw starts to come together and you finally start to see the relevance of all the different books.
Finally, the audiobooks for all of the books are fabulous. They are read by James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He does an amazing job of capturing Harry and makes the books so easy to listen to. The pacing and clarity are great. So if you would rather have a listen than a read, the audiobooks definitely do the series justice.
I will be reviewing some of The Dresden Files series throughout the month, starting at the beginning with Storm Front. If you haven’t read the series yet then I encourage you to pick it up asap! The books are very good for Halloween with all the supernatural goings on in Chicago!
Have you read any of The Dresden Files books? I would love to talk to you about them!