5 Reasons to Read “The Dresden Files”
As many of you may already know, I am a professional vampirologist, that is, a mythologist who specializes in cross-cultural studies with a specialty in the folklore, history, and mythology of the vampire. To keep current and widen my knowledge base, I read a lot of research books. As awesome as I find my job to be, it does not leave me a lot of time to read for pleasure or fun. I know there are a great number of people who have this blessing, but sadly, I am not one of them.
Usually I read the first three or so chapters of a fiction book and if it does not engross me by then I waste no more time and toss it in the “bring to the book exchange” pile I keep in one corner of my living room. However, when I do find a book or series I truly enjoy I always make time to read it. My list of recommended authors are very small and not only does Jim Butcher top it, he holds the first two slots. I’ll break it down for you in a two-part blog giving you five reasons this month and five more next month.
See, I love this author (Jim Butcher), and his books so much that not only can I go on and on about him and them all day long, I over-blogged and went way over my word count, more so than usual. Typically, I do not digress this early in a post, but apparently I have achieved a new personal best here. So, without further delay, I give you the first five reasons in alphabetical order on why, if you have not already read the best-selling series, “The Dresden Files,” you need to click this link here and begin to do so immediately.
Action In The Dresden Files:
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, being a private detective and needing to work for a living, actually does detective work. Magic is not the answer to his problems but rather a tool he uses to solve them. Although Harry and the series have evolved to be so much more than solving a client’s case (something he has not done in many a book now) he still has to use reason and logic to get out of the current diabolical situation Jim Butcher has put him in (Jim has jokingly admitted he hates Harry and likes to torturer him, but that’s another blog). I like when Harry is mulling over his current predicament. By use of inner monologue, he breaks down the problem at hand into its bare components and spells out the problem to himself, thereby spelling it out for the reader as well. However throughout this process, Butcher manages to accomplish this in such a way it does not seem contrived. This method allows me inside Harry’s head to experience the thought process with him. It is amazing to witness the weaving of an idea and Jim Butcher is hypnotic when he does it.
The Dresden Files Audio Books:
If you are into the whole audio book phenomenon which is sweeping the nation, and frankly who isn’t, then this is the series for you. James Marsters is the narrator to this series and quite frankly, I have yet to listen to an audio book narrator who is half as gifted as he. James is a rare talent, blessed with the genius of a wide range of vocalization enabling him to create a unique and distinct voice for each member of the cast of characters; and, he does so seamlessly. James is the voice of the “The Dresden Files” audiobooks, accept no substitutes. Although John Glover narrated “The Dresden Files” number thirteen, “Ghost Story” and did a fairly good job he was no James; only Marsters can do Harry’s heavy sighs, Murphy’s snorts, Toot-Toot’s voice, and Thomas’ tonality.
Death In The Dresden Files:
Although as a fan I hate to see a character die I am loving the fact Butcher is not afraid to kill off a character. And by “kill off” I don’t necessarily mean the character moved to a new town, I am talking about spraying grey matter on the wall and holding a wake for a cold corpse. There are far too many authors who will keep a character in play long after they have outlived their usefulness for fear of upsetting their fan base. These folks think they are giving the fans what they want but in truth these are the same fans who will point out when the series turns south because of a lingering cast of cast-offs being forced into the story line. Character death is necessary in good story telling because without change there can be no growth, without pain there can be no development. Killing off a character allows the reader to feel the illusion of the ‘verse being real; it shows how actions breed consequences. Character death impacts the reader and embeds them in the story, giving them a commonality to share with the hero or point of view character. And the more beloved the character that dies the more impact it has in the verse. Jim Butcher knows this little trick and uses it well.
Harry Dresden In The Dresden Files:
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is the main character of “The Dresden Files,” it is his story being told via his own first person narrative. Harry is a detective and wizard in the city of Chicago, IL but that alone is not, in my not-so-humble opinion, what sets him apart from the rest of the world. Harry is a great guy—this is not to imply he is flawless, no, no, no, he is riddled with shortcomings, such as being a chauvinist (not a misogynist, there is a BIG freaking difference), secretive, and self-righteous. What makes the hero so great is that he is not perfect; I can relate to him, he makes mistakes and has regrets. Harry also has a lot of great characteristics, balancing his character defects, such as being a doting Doggie Daddy, a respectful and responsible mentor, a devoted friend, understanding brother, and all around proverbial white knight on a charger coming to the rescue. He has a giving heart and as his tombstone read, he’ll one day die “doing the right thing.” Additionally, Jim Butcher has done a wonderful job of creating a character rough and tumble enough to synch and click with the guys who read his book but who is also charming and emotionally wounded enough to attract a big female readership.
Humor In The Dresden Files:
Once upon a time I was able to make the claim I have never laughed out loud reading a book. After the first two chapters of “Storm Front,” if I ever said it again, I would have been a liar. The Dresden-verse is filled with smart, clever, and snarky characters, Harry leading the way. Folks not only speak movie quotes, make pop culture references, and crack wise on one another the way good friends do but there also have been a few out and out funny situations in which they have been placed. Every single book has had at least one (but typically more) scenes where I have literally laughed out loud. I don’t mean I thought to myself “that’s funny” or “lol;” I mean I actually made an audible laughing sound which reverberated through the air in such a way as others who, barring a hearing impairment, would have been able to audibly hear and recognize my amusement.
So, if I have not already tempted you into reading at least the first eight books of the series by this point, then come back and read part two of this post which will be entitled something like “5 More Reasons to Read “The Dresden Files.” I can’t say when exactly it will be up, likely next month, but check back frequently.
I know I mentioned my favorite opening line in the series (so far), but do you have one that you like better?
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