Storm Front by Jim Butcher
It is hard to believe that Storm Front, the first book of the Dresden Files, came out more than a decade ago. Jim Butcher introduces his scrappy wizard-detective in this inaugural adventure. That was a more innocent time, and Harry was a more innocent character back then.
Harry is a working wizard in Chicago. He has an office with the word “Wizard” on the door and he advertizes in the yellow pages. (“No Children’s Parties; No Love Potions.”) Harry is the real deal, a powerful magical practitioner, but lately most of his income comes from the Chicago PD, particularly their Special Investigations or SI unit—think “X Files.” Early in Storm Front, his police contact Karrin Murphy requests his help at a shocking murder scene; a luxurious hotel love-nest sprayed with blood, a couple locked in the throes of passion with their h... Read More
Jim Butcher(1971- )
Jim Butcher read his first fantasy novel when he was seven years old — The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. By eight, he’d read the rest of Narnia, Prydain, Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Lord of the Rings. So he was pretty much doomed from the start. Love of fantasy drew him toward horseback riding, archery, martial arts, costuming, music, theater, and RPGs. So, really, he can fly his nerd flag with pretty much anyone, and frequently does. Here’s Jim Butcher‘s website.
The Dresden Files — (Began in 2000) Publisher: Harry Dresden — Wizard. Lost items found. Paranormal investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play too well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever. 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 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.
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Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Justin’s raves about THE DRESDEN FILES caused me to pick up this first book in the series, and it’s — well, okay. Not great, not particularly memorable, but a reasonably fun way to spend a few hours. I’m surprised I didn’t like it more, given that it’s set in Chicago — my hometown — but all I can really say is that I might try another in the series, but I’m in no rush. — Terry Weyna
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
In Fool Moon, Harry Dresden’s second adventure, Jim Butcher gives us four flavors of werewolf — or five, if you want to be flexible.
Harry, Chicago’s only practicing wizard-detective, is called to the scene of a gory murder by his friend and client Karrin Murphy. Murphy, a Chicago police detective, is in charge of Special Investigations (SI), Chicago’s nod to the paranormal crime that fills the city. Chicago PD is unofficial on this investigation though; it is the jurisdiction of the FBI, and while Harry is investigating the scene the FBI shows up. Things immediately go bad. Murphy and Harry are evicted from the scene, but not before Harry picks up enough magical clues to identify this as a werewolf hit.
As they leave the scene, Murphy admits that this killing is not the first. There is a pattern to the killings, or has been until recently. ... Read More
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Someone is torturing the ghosts of Chicago, driving them mad and juicing up their power. Harry Dresden, wizard, is the best person to handle this, but even a wizard needs back-up sometimes. In Grave Peril, the third book of The Dresden Files, Jim Butcher introduces Michael Carpenter, a Knight of the Cross.
Michael wields a sword given to him by an angel. He has pledged his life to serving God, vanquishing evil and freeing the victims of evil. For Michael, life is black and white, and faith is all, which makes him an interesting companion for Harry.
The first ghost they face in the book is a woman who accidentally killed her own child. This sets a tone for Grave Peril, because it is in many ways a book about women.
As Harry struggles to identify the force behind the angry, souped-up ghosts he confronts vario... Read More
Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
As Summer Knight opens, Harry Dresden’s true love, Susan, has left town, the Red Court Vampires have declared war on him and someone’s shooting at him. Oh, and it’s raining toads.
To top it off, Mab, the Faerie Queen of Winter, wants to hire him to investigate the murder of a mortal. The Faerie Queens are beautiful, powerful, alien and frightening, even to Harry:
My voice came out unsteady and more quiet than I would have liked. ‘Sort of like Tokyo, when Godzilla comes up on the beach.’
Mab tilted her head, watching me with that same smile. Maybe she didn’t get the reference. Or maybe she didn’t like being compared to a thirty-foot lizard. Or maybe she did like it. I mean, how should I know? I have enough trouble figuring out human women.
The realm of Faerie is closest to the mortal realm, and consists of two kingdoms... Read More
Death Masks by Jim Butcher
With Death Masks, the fifth Dresden Files novel, Jim Butcher returns to Chicago-noir. Harry Dresden, that city’s only advertising wizard, is simultaneously challenged to a duel by a duke of the vampiric Red Court and hired by the Vatican to find the missing Shroud of Turin.
The search for the Shroud leads to a headless, handless corpse that died of plagues, several plagues, carried by magically amplified germs. It also introduces Harry to the remaining two Knights of the Sword, Shiro and Sanya. Like Harry’s friend Michael Carpenter, they wield swords given to them by an angel, and they fight for justice and mercy.
On the duel front, Harry runs into his old girlfriend Susan, who has gone through some changes of her own. She warns Harry that the Red Court vampires do not want the duel to happen because it will end the war between the Re... Read More
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
“The building was on fire and it wasn’t my fault,” says Harry in the opening line of Blood Rites. This has to be one of my favorite DRESDEN FILES books, and the very first line is quite possibly one of the most memorable in the series. Harry has been asked for a favor by his pseudo-friend and White Court Vampire, Thomas Raith: he is to investigate a possible death curse at an independent adult film studio. As with all Dresden stories, not everything is as it appears to be. Harry finds himself in multiple perilous situations, all of which are over his head. Jim Butcher masterfully weaves the reader through the chaotic mess that is Harry’s life, all culminating in a dramatic finale that deserves a standing ovation.
There are so many great moments in Blood Rites, from demon mon... Read More
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden never knew his mother Margaret. He knows that she was a wizard, that she used the last name LaFey, and that before she married Harry’s father she hung out with some shady characters. In Blood Rites, he discovers something about Margaret that changes everything he believes about himself.
In the sixth Dresden Files novel, Jim Butcher shakes up Harry’s world. In addition to shocking new information about his mother, Harry has to deal with a revelation about Ebenezar, the White Council wizard who was his guardian. While he is absorbing those shocks to his life, Harry is waging a battle with the Black Court vampires and trying to protect a charming porno-movie director from a potent curse. Yes, I used “potent” intentionally there.
Blood Rites develops the third and strangest vamp... Read More
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Mavra, Queen of the Black Vampires, is after “The Word of Kemmler,” the ultimate how-to on being an all-powerful necromancer. Mavra wants it, and is blackmailing Harry into getting it for her. Harry must find this book, while dodging a whole collection of black wizards who are also seeking the tome.
Jim Butcher’s Dead Beat is another one of the “middle” Dresden books that I love so much. Just about the time when most series start getting stale, The Dresden Files gets better.
Dead Beat continues the tradition of one-upping the action from the previous novel. Harry seriously gets to unload on the bad guys, and the battles take place around some of the most iconic Chicago landmarks. While I was at a Jim Butcher book signi... Read More
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
How does a pragmatic Chicago wizard take on one of the most powerful Fallen angels? It is this question which drives the action-packed Small Favor, the continuing adventures of Harry Dresden, modern wizard, and his host of friends as they take on the evil forces of Nicodemus and his wife Tessa. Forced by Queen Mab to fulfill one of the favors he owes her, Dresden comes up against the very creatures that have nearly killed him before, namely, the Fallen. Meantime, Titania, Queen of Summer, has ordered a hit on Harry, and her agents keep showing up at the most inopportune times.
Harry is a sardonic character, usually shooting his mouth off when he is in danger. But it seems to work for him as he escapes one trap after another. Although the marketing people have called The Dresden Files a fantasy/mystery blend this particular novel ... Read More
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
I like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. I like the idea of a wizard-detective in novel-noir Chicago, VI Warshawski with testicles and a magical staff instead of high heels. I liked the wise-crackery of the early books, I appreciated the whimsy of Harry’s potion-making, and I loved his brown leather, weatherproof, spell-laden duster, one of the coolest pieces of outerwear in fiction. With Turn Coat, the eleventh book in the series, however, Butcher has wobbled off course.
First and foremost, he cheats on the mystery. Butcher gives us a murder that ripples across the overarching multi-book plot he has been developing. A “minority member” of the wizards’ White Council has been murdered, apparently by another wizard, the Merlin’s sword arm and Harry’s nemesis, Morgan. Plainly Morgan has been framed, perhaps by... Read More
Changes by Jim Butcher
I love Harry Dresden like he’s the crazy scary magical uncle I never had. My wife (The Asian OverLord™) gets annoyed at my exclamations of “Hell’s Bells!” and my constant need to tell people that a scar on my hand came from “Hell Fire” rather than a childhood bicycle wreck. The Dresden Files have become a part of my life in a way that few stories do.
When I first learned about Changes, it frightened me. I thought to myself: if Jim Butcher “Changes” too much, I will be forced to follow him around conventions until he promises to change it back, or send him e-mails filled with frowny faces. I don't like it when the creator of something I enjoy takes drastic measures for the sake of being "fresh." Fortunately for Mr. Butcher, Changes shakes a lot of things up, bu... Read More
Changes by Jim Butcher
Some changes are wonderful and terrible at the same time.
In Changes, the twelfth Harry Dresden novel from Jim Butcher, Harry finds out on Page One that he has an eight-year-old daughter, and that she has been kidnapped by the Red Court vampires.
Harry is a wizard in modern-day Chicago. Originally, Harry made his living as a magical private detective (he even had an ad in the Yellow pages). Over the past three years, the war between the White Council of Wizards and the Red Court vampires has taken up most of his time. Now, in the opening chapter of Changes, his life is turned upside down. Mac, the taciturn barkeep and owner of Harry’s favorite pub, has a few words for him about fatherhood:
“You’re going to find out who you are, Harry. You’re going to find out what principle... Read More
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
Writing this review is going to be impossible without spoiling some of the series for those who have not read through Changes, just a little warning. The title of this book, Ghost Story, does a pretty good job of revealing the entire premise of the story: Harry is a ghost. Like all ghosts he has a task that must be completed in order to be at peace. A lot of what was planted in Changes bears fruit in Ghost Story. Harry is now forced to deal with the horrible decisions he was forced to make while the Red Court held his daughter. To the living, Harry has been gone for six months. All hell has broken loose in Chicago without Dresden around. Harry is now dropped in the middle of all this and is practically helpless is his current state to do anything about it. Add that to the emotional turmoil of losing Harry, and w... Read More
Cold Days by Jim Butcher
If the Harry Dresden stories have ever had a problem (reflecting, I think, an issue with urban fantasy in general), it’s that they can tend to feel a little repetitive. A monster of the week shows up, and Harry goes through hell both emotionally and physically to stop him. Along the way we get the requisite number of quips, film references, attractive non-humans, old-fashioned courtesies, and cackling villains with vaguely British syntax. At the end of it all, Harry goes back to his Batcave apartment and gets to be the snarky private eye pastiche for a little bit before the credits roll.
It’s been a very successful formula for Butcher, and one that has indeed made him essentially the new crown prince of the urban fantasy subgenre (both in sales and in stylistic influence), but in book twelve, the appropriately titled Changes, he undid many hallmarks of the Dresden ... Read More
Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
Side Jobs is a collection of short stories from The Dresden Files. Some of the stories have been previously published in other collections, and some are being published for the first time. The timeline for the stories range from before Storm Front to after Changes, so aspects from every possible point in time in Harry Dresden’s life are represented.
There isn’t much of a central theme to Side Jobs, besides Harry himself. This collection is exclusively for Dresden fans — it makes no sense for anyone who hasn’t read all 13 novels to even take a peek at Side Jobs. Since it’s for fans, one of the most enjoyable parts of this collection is the opening comments by Butcher prior to each story. He provides some personal insight into the ma... Read More
Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher
CLASSIFICATION: If you’re a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, or the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter comic books, then The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle will be perfect for you. Like those, Welcome to the Jungle boasts a fun mix of fast-paced supernatural action, humor and a dash of mystery/thrills. This graphic novel in particular is pretty tame in the violence/language department and is suitable for teen readers and above.
FORMAT/INFO: Welcome to the Jungle is 160 pages long and since it collects the entire 4-issue miniseries, the graphic novel is broken up into four Chapters. The graphic novel also includes an introduction by Jim Butcher, a Cover Gallery show... Read More
The Codex Alera — (2004-2009) Publisher: In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies — elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal — fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos — when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies — Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.
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Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
I read Furies of Calderon while waiting for Jim Butcher's next DRESDEN FILES novel. Butcher's little blurb at the end of his books had convinced me to give it a whirl.
Let it be known, this is not to the caliber of THE DRESDEN FILES. It is a good book nonetheless. The story follows several characters in the world of Alera who find themselves intertwined together in a land on the brink of war. Furies of Calderon is a book of themes. Bravery, honor, love, family and sacrifice are all themes predominately displayed through out the story.
Alera itself is not described in much detail so the reader is left mostly to context to piece together what the world is like. The main characters are likable, but not easy to identify with. What I liked most about Furies of Calderon is its... Read More
This story is a pretty straight-up very long boy-with-a-destiny-and-friends-must-defend-the-keep-from-the-evil-enemy-horde kind of epic fantasy that doesn’t stand out. There are a lot of the usual tropes which made it impossible for me to forget I was reading an epic fantasy novel (rather than becoming absorbed in the story). At first it’s hard to really like any of the characters but by the end I liked them better and I thought the plot was heading in a more interesting direction (away from the evil enemy horde). The romances are very thin but the occasional dry humor is appealing. I’m willing to read the next book, but mostly because I already have it on my shelf. ~Kat
Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher
Academ’s Fury is the second book in Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA series. It takes place two years after the events in book 1, Furies of Calderon. Tavi, who feels like a “freak” because he’s the only Aleran who doesn’t have any magical connections with the elemental spirits called Furies that inhabit his land, is now at school in the capital city under the patronage of the First Lord. In return, he acts as the First Lord’s page and accidentally becomes involved in Aleran politics.
And there’s a lot going on in Alera. The First Lord is dealing with tensions throughout the realm — unnatural weather, crops in danger, Cursors being murdered, icemen coming over the wall, women’s issues in the senate, a slave alliance, a demanding trade consortium, delegations from neighboring lands, conspiracies against the crown, and worst of all, no heir and no clear line of succes... Read More
Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher
After having dealt with the Vord horde in Academ’s Fury, there are new worries in Cursor’s Fury, the third novel in Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA saga. The rebel uprising has gained strength and the aging and heirless First Lord of Alera is in danger of being overthrown. Those who are loyal, including Tavi and his friends and relatives, are targets. While Bernard, Amara, and Isana make some dubious alliances to try to counter the rebels, Tavi, who is now a Cursor, has been sent as a spy to a newly formed army legion. Clearly Tavi is being protected (ah, but for what purpose?) because nobody expects this remote legion to see any action.... but everybody is wrong and Tavi ends up commanding an ill-prepared military force.
As usual, this installment of CODEX ALERA is full of action and intrigue. A lot of the plot is pretty implausible — especially the parts dealing with... Read More
Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher
Warning: Contains spoilers for previous books, though probably nothing you didn’t already guess.
Captain’s Fury, the fourth book in Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA series, takes place two years after the events we read about in Cursor’s Fury. Tavi is still the captain of the Alera’s First Legion which is still fighting a war with the Canim who have sailed to Alera and burned their ships behind them. While Senator Arnos, who has arrived to take command of the war, wants to destroy the Canim, Tavi hopes to negotiate a peace. The Senator and Lady Aquitaine, his ally-of-the-moment, want to get rid of Tavi, too, and they’ve got a variety of plans for that.
Isana knows it’s time to tell Tavi who he really is: Gaius Octavian, son of Princeps Gaius Septimus, who died the day Tavi was born. She worries that Tavi will be angry when he finds out how she de... Read More
Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher
Tavi and his companions are escorting the Canim back to their home across the sea. When they arrive they find that the Canim’s land has been invaded by the Vord. Back home in Alera, unbeknownst to Tavi, his countrymen are also being overrun by the Vord and Amara, Isana, Bernard, and the First Lord are on the front lines. Will the Vord conquer both Alera and Canim, or can Tavi and Isana negotiate alliances with a couple of Alera’s enemies so they can fight the Vord horde together?
Princeps' Fury is the fifth book in Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA series. For the most part I’ve thought that this traditional epic fantasy was diverting but ultimately forgettable, though the fourth book, Captain’s Fury, actually elevated CODEX ALERA into the “enjoyable” category. It was better than the first three books — the writing was better, the action was more exciting, and it ... Read More
The First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher
Grab your helms, shields and swords, fantasy fans. In The First Lord’s Fury, Jim Butcher is taking you to war! In the 6th and final book in the CODEX ALERA series, Butcher not only takes you to war, but makes you laugh and cry along the way. The First Lord’s Fury is a very suitable ending to what I found to be a most enjoyable fantasy series. The CODEX ALERA series takes place several thousand years after a lost Roman legion found its way to another world and rebuilt a society. The novels’ setting, the realm of Alera, is therefore loosely based on ancient Roman culture. The story follows a young man named Tavi through his eventful life and The First Lord’s Fury is the ultimate conclusion of Tavi’s story. In the previous books, Tavi finds himself in impo... Read More
Strange Brew by P.N. Elrod (ed)
The theme of Strange Brew is witchcraft. This anthology features nine well-known urban fantasy authors, each with their own spin on the theme. Some of these stories feature well-known characters. Others focus on characters who are secondary in the author's series, or characters who are entirely new. Glancing at the table of contents and doing a little mental math, most of the stories are around 40 pages, give or take a few. (The longest is Karen Chance's at just under 60.) As is always the case with anthologies, I had my favorites and my less-favorites, but if you like urban fantasy, there will probably be something here for you.
"Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs: A werewolf enlists the help of a blind witch to help him find his brother who has been kidnapped by a sinister coven. The wit... Read More
Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying Earth, Songs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.
Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to Read More
Songs of Love and Death by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (editors)
George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have collected a nice batch of all-new stories from an all-star cast in Songs of Love and Death. The theme is “star-crossed lovers,” and as you might guess from the title, each tale is a love story, and many are death stories, too. Some are sad, some are sexy, and one or two are slightly sappy. Overall, I enjoyed the collection. Here’s what you’ll find in Songs of Love and Death:
“Love Hurts” by Jim Butcher may be the story Harry Dresden’s fans have been waiting for because it looks like Harry and Murphy will finally get together... or will they?
In “The Marrying Maid,” historical romance author Jo Beverley provides a Regency romanc... Read More
We're pleased to welcome today one of the defining authors of epic and urban fantasy. Jim Butcher has thrilled fans for a decade and Beth and her husband Gert were happy to chat with him about his work. Mr. Butcher recently published the final volume of his high-fantasy series CODEX ALERA. The twelfth volume of THE DRESDEN FILES, entitled Changes, comes out today! So, two lucky commenters on this post will win a copy of Changes!
Beth & Gert: Now that you've finished CODEX ALERA (and what a finish, too), the question that springs to mind first is, what's next? And have you thought about going back to Alera at some point?
Jim Butcher: I’m not quite sure what will be next. I’ll be making that decision after I finish writing the thirteenth book of THE DRESDEN FILES, sometime this summer.
B & G: How did you come up with the original idea fo... Read More