From my discoveries there are three types of book series: the one you can’t put down once you get started, the one you want to drag out as long as possible, and the one you need to drag out as long as possible. The Dresden Files falls into the latter. It is so unbelievable and adrenaline pumping that when I finished the book I had to grab a drink, sit down, and read a chapter of nonfiction to give me a foot back in reality.
So meet Harry Dresden, a consulting wizard who specializes in solving problems no one else thinks are possible. But when a series of gruesome murders begin turning up every month around the full moon it doesn’t take too much intelligence for Dresden to figure out what is causing them. But this time his job is a lot harder than figuring out what is committing the crimes – he has to figure out whom. As he takes his investigation from the heights to the depths of Chicago society, Dresden will have to decide whom to trust.
Jim Butcher takes an interesting spin on modern fantasy in this series. Magic often has a rather free reign feel in much of the fantasy I’ve read. People with magical or supernatural abilities fill positions of power, both political and militant, because there are few who can oppose them. In Butcher’s world, however, the laws of magic are restricted by the White Council, a group of aged and powerful wizards in charge of maintaining order in the magical world. I think that it takes a little away from our seeing Dresden’s full potential, but with the amount of action that already exists it wouldn’t make too much of a difference.
All the magic and adventure aside, my favorite part about this series is the perspective Butcher chose to write it from. It’s a first person narrative but with more of the main characters thoughts than is often found in similar styles. The thoughts of the protagonist in this story seem more realistic, touching upon Dresden’s fears, hopes, and uncensored moments that go on inside his head. Without this inner dialogue the book would have lost half of it’s comedic value.
If you are not able to exercise your willing suspension of disbelief then this book may not be the best for you. I don’t mean the magic or supernatural aspect either; I’m referring to Dresden spending half the book near death but still able to kick butt and take names. It’s awesome, but sometimes I found myself questioning if it was possible for someone to endure what Dresden does without fainting or dying. I mean, if I could fight off a giant werewolf after having my foot almost bitten off, take a beating from a pack of smaller werewolves in human form, jump out of a moving vehicle, and still have enough in me to endure the climactic events of the entire story then I would be a superhero. Granted, he did have a nap in there somewhere, which probably did wonders for him.
As you can probably tell from the task I fulfilled by reading this book, I enjoyed it immensely. It’s a book that will grab you by the shirt and pull you along for a wild and thrilling ride, but you may need to put it down and take a step back after you finish. That or you might need to spread the adrenaline ride out over a couple days. Just a suggestion.