I've got a few authors on my to buy book list that I've not read before hence the load of questions on here of late :)
Well Jim Butcher, the Dresden Files. Does anyone have any comments about this series? Is it long winded, is there a lot of magic in the plot or is it more a historical fantasy?
September 12th, 2003, 03:39 PM
Here's my opinion on the first one as of one month ago:
"For starters, this is a wonderful premise. A wizard/P.I. investigating both the normal and the paranormal in modern day, and getting into trouble on both ends. As someone who writes and loves both mysteries and fantasy, I'm pissed that I didn't think of this first.
The book didn't start out too well. I liked the opening scene, but the first hundred pages didn't exactly hook me. I know, it's only a hundred pages. But in hard-boiled mysteries, which is what this really is (it just has fantastic elements thrown in, for good measure), you need a quick start. The reader should begin guessing the who-done-its and what-ifs within a couple of chapters. Butcher tried to do this, but he didn't do as well as lot of other mystery authors.
That being said, once I got over the initial hump, I plowed through the rest.
The main character, Harry Dresden, is a good one. He is by no means perfect. At times, he's a jerk. In other instances, he makes some crummy decisions. But he is believable, and by the end of the book, his flaws are part of what made him a likeable guy.
The side character, though, was lacking. Murphy was pretty cliched and not entirely believable. She was too wishy-washy for someone of her profession. For a police officer who investigates the paranormal, she should have had a little more faith in the things that can't be seen or easily understood. But she was the only character I had a major gripe with. The others were quirky and enjoyable.
The fantasy aspects of the plot were good, IMO. They were fleshed out and didn't seem out of place with the tale. Butcher did a really good job of seaming the magical and mundane aspects of the real world.
The mystery bits were a little shoddy, though. At times, it felt like Butcher bit off more than he could chew. There was plenty of danger in the book, but at times, he went a little overboard. Almost felt like he was trying a little too hard. Also, his actual plot points were a little loose, making some of the revelations not nearly as effective as they could have been. It wasn't bad in this respect, but it could have been better.
But even though I had my gripes, the book was a page-turner. I genuinely wanted to see how it would turn out, and once I got past the slow beginning, I had trouble putting it down. This is also (from what I gather) Butcher's debut, and from the reviews I read earlier today, his series improves dramatically with each book. So label me a fan, because I'm gonna go out and hunt down the rest of the series now."
Direct answers to your questions: there's a good amount of magic in them, it's not long-winded and it's not historical in the slightest. And I can say, he improves after the first one. I'd reccomend these. Good fun.
September 13th, 2003, 05:08 AM
Thanks for much for your thoughts, they were just what I needed :).
I like to get a good feel for a book that sometimes story descriptions dont give me.
I liked the sound of the wizard detective too, it was something different :)
When I get back from my hols I'll have to grab me this book :)
September 13th, 2003, 12:26 PM
Hey rune, there was a fairly lengthy discussion on these books earlier in the summer, check it out:
A series no one has mentioned (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6067&highlight=Dresden)
September 14th, 2003, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the link Fitz, I couldnt find that discussion through searching :)
November 2nd, 2003, 04:51 AM
I wanted to thank those that give me some tips on this series and the link to the other thread.
I'm so pleased I got Storm Front, bk 1 of the Dresden Files. It was such an enjoyable book. I had it read in a couple of days :)
I'm definately hooked and will be buying the others.
November 2nd, 2003, 09:23 PM
Glad you liked it. The series gets better with each installment (I'm on number three).
November 4th, 2003, 01:36 PM
I've got some catching up to do :)
November 5th, 2003, 12:09 AM
Butcher has created a rather light and fun series of books. I've enjoyed them all.
I tend to like books of that include detective/myseries in them, but strangely enough, not books specifically written in that genre.
Any recommendation on books like this? If it helps, I liked Russo's Carlucci book and Vitola's Moon books.
May 23rd, 2004, 08:09 AM
Just for info, Blood Rites is to be released in the UK, August 04 :D
I've still got a couple of books to read of this series before then though.