Not sure I would call it pacing, because when you are in the book it works fine. To me a pacing problem is either too slow, too fast, or unbalanced when part is one speed and other parts a different speed, and they don't work together.
When you are reading it is quite a ride, very compelling. Its after you finish and you think about it, and see the same thing in 2-3 books that it becomes increasingly impossible to suspend disbelief, and to see it as anything but a rut (formula).
August 23rd, 2007, 10:36 AM
I love this series. I cannot wait until the new ones come out. I find them very entertaining. I love the fast pace of the novels. It feels like a train starting from the station and then running away as the stakes get higher.
Harry evolves as the story arc progresses, and he has become darker and more of a bully, yes. But considering the event that happened at the end of Death Masks, it is easy to see why he would get darker and more of a bully. Plus, with all that he has been through, like with Susan, how could he not get darker?
I do miss Mister the cat, but I like that it isn't the same batch of characters each time. People come and go from Harry's life. Murphy takes a vacation; Johnny Marcone isn't involved in all of Harry's affairs. Michael tends to his family, and Susan is off doing her own thing. It gives the feeling that the supporting characters have lives of their own. They are not just devices to provide tension with Harry. It gives depth and feel to his world.
White Night was a good book, but I was disappointed by one thing at the end. It was a major plot arc that ended too quickly for me. I think Harry is also going overboard on the its my fault kick. He blames himself for everything, and this can get a bit tedious. However, this is a small complaint for the hours of enjoyment the Dresden Files have brought me.
This is the best detective fantasy novel series that I have read. (I am in the process of reading Mr. Glen Cook's Garrett series, which is great, also.) It beats Hamilton's sex novels by leaps and bounds, and I recommend this series to all my friends. It evolves and doesn't follow a detective formula of plotting. It is a fun, entertaining series that provides a nice break from the heavy handed dictionaries that Fantasy novels have become.
August 23rd, 2007, 02:30 PM
It's good popcorn fiction, funny in the right places, not too long or complex. Admittedly it gets fairly ridiculous at times, but it never takes itself too seriously. So as long as you're not expecting a dark or grim magical world its enjoyable
August 23rd, 2007, 03:12 PM
Well I think there are parts that are violent and grim, but Harry's depreciating humour tends to counterbalance it a little.
I've got through 10 of the 12 TV episodes. It's OK - I can see lots of stuff going for it, but the books are better.
September 3rd, 2008, 11:34 AM
I bought and watched the series out of curiosity and enjoyed it thoruoughly for the depth of the plot and superb CGI and then read the first two books which were also very good. in my opinion it is a rare concept that works well as either a book or a television programme.
September 3rd, 2008, 04:42 PM
I've only read the first two books, but I am definately going to read more.
I like this series. It's good entertainment, without being really spectacular in any area. I wasn't expecting them to be particulary dark or gritty, and they certainly aren't, but if I had been expecting that then I might have been disappointed.
Some time ago I probably wouldn't have cared to pick up this series, primarily because it's written in first person. I've usually seen this style as too much of a reassurance that the protagonist is going to survive, and because I tend to prefer multiple protagonists and POVs. However, some really good books changed my views, and particularly my enjoyment of Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt books, which I absolutely loved and which I keep comparing to the Dresden Files, made me give this series a chance.
September 6th, 2008, 02:24 PM
Wow, how could I've missed this thread before, stupid me. :(
I think FicusFan more or less stated everything I'd had to say about Mr Butcher's writing, just something from European point of view.
- The series is clearly for American readers only: he uses abbreviations, brand names and 'famous person' instead of describing them. As if I knew them or cared.
- If you don't watch TV often or stopped completely you'll just wonder what a line supposed to mean, then just to discover that it was from a tv-series. How funny.
- I think the books are supposed to be read with a TV on, maybe with NFL on it, because he will yell-in-your-face everything you need to know. And that includes that grass is green and heck, water is wet. No sh*t.
And as someone said it already it's no-brainer. Don't even try to start thinking, because you could end throwing a book through a room.
You know how the narrative tell us hat Harry is genuine wizard who knows things and he's strong as only few in whole country. And then Mr Butcher delivers a line like that:
"... By now my voice was coming out in a high, panicky tone. I pressed as close to the monitors as I could, yelling, excited." P168, Fool Moon.
That's the same super wizard seeing, on screen, a werewolf doing his job. Bollocks.
Oh (s)well, I'm glad about the experience but I vowed never to touch anything by Mr Butcher again.
October 10th, 2008, 04:41 AM
I've just finished Grave Peril. I like this series. It feels like a TV series, and it's not really that deep, but I find myself really enjoying it anyway. There are some interesting things in the series, but I also think there are many things in that simply don't make sense. In Grave Peril, Harry talked about the dangers of people finding out about the supernatural, but it seems like he's using his magic in public rather often. It doesn't really make much sense to me that he'd be that careless and that no one ever seems to notice.
And then there's the soulgaze thing, which also seems pretty far fetched to me. Why hasn't this been triggered accidently more often?
After Fool Moon It wasn't sure whether I'd continue reading. I wasn't bad, but I noticed those odd little thing a bit too much. But then I picked up Grave Peril anyway, and despite my negative view of some of the things, I think it's really good and laid back entertainment. I can't help but get sucked into the story and plow through more pages than I had planned, whenever I pick up these books. The chapters often end in a way that makes me start on the next one, so I really read these books quickly, and I know that I'll pick up the next one.
October 11th, 2008, 11:39 AM
I had some problems with Fool Moon too. I think Butcher tried to stuff a little too much into the thriller mystery format with that one, maybe, and so it kind of sags. But a lot of the battle scenes in that one are quite good -- emotional, dramatic, well played out, and very relevant to the series and its themes. I did like the heavy involvement of the cops in Fool Moon too.
I don't have a problem with Harry being a "sensitive" sort of wizard. While he's powerful, he has limits and he hasn't had as much training as other wizards because of his history. Mostly he's terrified of his powers, because having lost control of them once or twice and having used black magic and to kill, made a pact with a fairy, etc., it makes him like a drug addict, and he knows he can slip off the wagon into it again, which for him is worse than dying. He cares about people, which we're shown is a bad idea for a wizard. So for Harry, it's always a question of how far he can go, how far into gray territory, and how he's going to leap back. This issue really comes to the fore in Grave Peril.
Butcher has Harry tell you the grass is green and water is wet sometimes for specific stylistic reasons -- it's the noir detective style, especially in the most commonly used first person. It's an overlay of 1930's patter that shows Harry is disjointed in time, as does his scuffed up desk in his dingy office and his various little rituals. Harry is clinging to an old, idealized image that is very American and very familiar to us, to keep himself stable and morally grounded. I'm sure that it is annoying to some, but I'm so used to it in mysteries with cops and private detectives that for me, it's like a particular kind of music. It's part of the language rhythm of U.S. detective fiction, of which Dresden Files is a member.
What is also a part of that tradition is to set such stories very firmly in a setting, to make the setting a major part of the story, and Butcher does this with Harry too, so yeah, not too big on the globalization. But I don't see that as a detriment. I think British authors should be able to be very British and Chinese ones very Chinese, if they like, and if I don't get every reference, I'm at least getting a sense of the culture, or the romanticized view of the culture.
The main theme of the series is that Harry is always trying to prove himself -- to himself, to others, to the wizards who watch him, and to those in his past. He's a guy who is stuck, whose potential has not been realized and that may be a good thing because his potential is dangerous, but also for him attractive. Now, that might not be a very deep or interesting idea for some, but it's kept me reading the series for several books because I'm curious to see how Butcher plays it out.
Whether I'll keep on with the series, I'm not sure. I could do with less convolutions in the plots, and better concentration on the scenes that Butcher does very well. I enjoy the touches of humor and like Mr. Talking Skull. I find the Wizard Council folk annoying, but of course, you're supposed to find them annoying. But I do think Butcher roots his series very effectively in the idea of a man who was traumatized young, sits on the edge of an abyss and tries to find his way out of the mess. With these types of stories -- mystery thrillers -- it's always about the character voice, and Butcher I do think really did well with Harry's voice.
October 11th, 2008, 12:49 PM
Agreed, and well said. Harry's voice is very appealing, it drew me in to the story of his life from page one. And the fact that he is not amongst the most powerful of wizards or beings at this time is also a bonus as seeing certain people from his perspective invokes a sense of awe in me as the reader as well.
I like that it is very American as well, and I'm not an American myself. That said I find it a major selling point of the series that Butcher is drawing in more and more mythological figures as the show goes on, I love that sort of stuff, like a High Magic version of American Gods, with Fallen Angels, a Merlin, Archangels, various sorts of councils, Faerie courts etc.