Saturday, July 16, 2011

From a Storm Front to a Ghost Story






In t-minus ten days, Ghost Story, the new Dresden Files novel, finally releases in America. As you all know, I'm a huge fan of this hilarious urban fantasy series by author Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files begin with Storm Front, in which we are introduced to a down on his luck Chicago wizard named Harry Dresden. Harry is just trying to cover the rent on his place, and perhaps afford another cold ale, but he ends up involved in a crime spree that may very well involve some nasty dark magic.

The novel introduces Karrin Murphy (one of my top-5 favorite cop characters), and begins to flesh out the intricate paranormal world that makes Mr. Butcher's work feel so expansive. Oh, and snark, there is plenty of snark. Like Josh Whedon and Sam Raimi, Mr. Butcher always seems to know when to toss in a few jokes. Harry isn't an oppressively serious mage like Gandalf, but he's just about as good with a staff.

If you're interested in trying the series out, you'll want to start at the beginning. Here is a list of the Dresden Series novels in order:
  1. Storm Front
  2. Fool Moon
  3. Grave Peril
  4. Summer Knight
  5. Death Masks
  6. Blood Rites
  7. Dead Beat
  8. Proven Guilty
  9. White Night
  10. Small Favor
  11. Turn Coat
  12. Changes
  13. Ghost Story (Releasing July 26th)
The novels evolve from thier simple monster-of-the-book premise (books 1-3), into a series of stories taking place during a paranormal world war. I think that by White Knight, most readers are as surprised as Harry at how big of a player he has become. Through a mix of stubbornness and guile, he becomes a true force for change. But this shift is not without consequences. Once the major baddies start taking Harry seriously, the stakes rise sky high for both his friends and family.

Harry is constantly forced to balance his strong sense of morality with real earthly needs and desires. In works like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, these moral decisions remain rather clear cut. No one really wants to be on Sauron's team...but what happens when everyone is a scumbag?

For a while, Harry manages to overcome these difficulties with an incredible mix of ingenuity and raw power, but we are left wondering when his prideful morals will finally meet their match. Harry's challenges keep growing in scale, and his foes keep getting smarter, Mr. Butcher does pull a few punches in the first eleven installments, but he overcomes this deficit in spades during Changes, and the gradual build to this personal cataclysm is well worth it.

Ghost Story presents the aftermath. That's why now is the perfect time to start reading.


Questions for discussion:

What's your favorite Dresden Novel?

Mine remains Proven Guilty, with White Night a close second.

Who is your favorite Dresden Character?


Who is your favorite Dresden Villain?


Your favorite one liner?

" amount of training or forethought can prepare you for the sight of an angry dinosaur coming to eat your ass." - Dead Beat


Bookblogger said...

I am actually not at all familiar with this series, but I will stop by the local used bookstore and see if I can find Storm Front to check it out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

B. Justin Shier said...

Be honest, you saw the T-rex and had to investigate : )

Bookblogger said...

The T-Rex was an attention grabber for sure. I just checked my local used bookstore and got Turn Coat. Think I'll be ok if I start at the end or should I wait to find book 1?

John VV said...

Favorite book: White Night or Changes
Character: Dresden...too easy though. Mouse or Thomas
Villain: Marcone or Lara Raith
One liner: Might have to re-read some of the books

Question, why does Dresden have a hat on in all of the books covers but the book never mentions him wearing a hat?

B. Justin Shier said...

I would try and snag book one first. You won't be lost or anything, but there are some spoilers.

B. Justin Shier said...


Send complaints here:

Or for a better answer, back at a signing I went to , Mr. B himself said the hat was his publisher's call. In the Dresden comic book series the hat is noticeably absent.


Anonymous said...

I'm a huge Dresden Files Fan!
But, man was I annoyed when the guys at Orbit changed the great, simplistic manila folder covers to the dark, hat-wearing-Harry covers of Roc during Changes.
Now I got eleven pastel covered books of the same size, and two dark covered ones of a completely different size right next to them! It may sound like nitpicking, but I really did like the view in my bookshelf before. That's why I collected the Orbit versions, not the Roc versions.

Btw.: If you happen to like Butcher's, Gaiman's, Huston's and Hearne's works, have you heared of Mike Carey's Felix-Castor-novels? (Starting with 'The Devil You Know') They are by far my favourite series in the urban fantasy genre and a definite must-read.

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