The Dresden Files Series (Books, not TV)

I’m reading these again, starting over from the beginning because I can’t remember any of it, just as mentioned earlier in the thread.

If you’re interested, I heartily recommend checking out the new Dresden RPG, which I heard about on the Atomic Array podcast featuring it. Very interesting system, focusing more on collaborative settings and characters.

I’d LOVE to buy the Dresden RPG, but not for $70 or whatever high price. I’m waiting for a sale.

It’s $50 for the Book+PDF from the official source, but I highly recommend you also pick up “Vol. 2” as well, which details the settings and fauna of the Dresden universe (and is filled with spoilers if you haven’t read up to about book 11 yet). I’m waiting for a bundled sale, as well. Hopefully they’ll throw in a set of those funky -/+ dice.

Oh, $50 now? Last I saw it was more expensive. But yeah, I’ll wait for a bundled sale. :)

Short story collection coming out at the end of the month.

Yup, already have it pre-ordered. It’ll have a new story focusing on Murphy that takes place 45 minutes after the end of “Changes,” which you definitely SHOULD NOT read if you’ve not read “Changes”.

Did read Changes.

You’ll be fine then. ;-) I’d love to talk about the ending but that’d be suuuuuuper spoilery.

I read very little fiction. However, after enjoying the TV show on Hulu a while back, I thought I would try out the books as well. In something like 2 weeks, I had all 12 read. Obviously, they must be doing something right.

I think the appeal is how relate-able and likable the main character is, the interesting blend of mythology and classical fiction in a modern world, Butcher’s ability to seem like he has everything planned out ahead of time and slowly answer questions from several books back (on the same level as Order of the Stick), only limited romance, and a healthy lack of made up words.

My least favorite was Fool Moon, but Changes is probably my favorite. The emotional stakes were so much higher throughout the book. And the final lines of the penultimate chapter are just a great example of “nothing else to say.”

That spoilery bit you posted STILL gives me chills every time I read it.

I fell off the Dresden Files train partway through Dead Beat. It was ok stuff, but the writing isn’t great and Butcher’s obvious Mary Sue-ism and need to constantly repeat himself and describe every female character in a pervy “I don’t know how pervy I am” style is pretty grating after awhile. His mythology is pretty good, though, and I really enjoyed Summer Knight because it had a lot of that. Death Masks was pretty awful though, and Blood Rites was only slightly better. Dead Beat was shaping up to be about as bad, and I now officially care little enough about the Dresden Files that I read about the ending of Changes on Wikipedia just now, and shrugged. Seems pretty soap opera-y.

I too will shrug and say to each their own. :)

I have to agree on the Mary Sue stuff. His magic powers tend to remind me of Spider-Man, who can lift anything in the comics/animated series, if he just really motivates himself. The same thing happens to Dresden, from the first three books I read.

This is Psych and I believe it still airs on USA.

This is relatively central theme of the series: Dresden is one of the most talented wizards, in terms of raw power. He just happens to have a lot of emotional baggage and control issues. The slow reveal of why he has so much mojo is part of story.

Butcher addresses this repeatedly, including having Dresden consistently beaten by less rawly-talented, but more disciplined magic-users. To me, it ain’t Mary Sue-ish specifically because he has so many hang-ups. Raw power just doesn’t happen to be one of them.

Butcher also tends to rein Dresden in by focusing his powers on a couple of specialties and showing that he just plain sucks at certain disciplines. Rather, Dresden tries to get around it by creative uses of the things he is good at.

If anything, the later Dresden books tend to get him into a very Buffy-esque Scooby gang thing: Dresden is consistently outgunned by the big bads, without the help of his multi-talented friends. Personally, I feel that Butcher has set up those friends well enough that their assistance doesn’t become too much of a deux ex machina.

I swear we’re not reading the same books because I can’t figure out for the life of me WTF you’re talking about with the pervy thing. Most innuendo I can think of is mostly in passing. And it’s not like he doesn’t flesh out the visual plus/minus of male characters either, like Thomas or some of the other regular male characters.

I certainly get it if the books fall flat, but the complaints you mention are about the last thing I’d think of as major issues.

If Dresden is pervy, clearly you haven’t read much fiction… Because it’s really fucking tame.

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed about the books is that for the most part the increasingly-vast cast of super-powered buddies are left to lie fallow for a couple books at a time; when Butcher re-introduces them they have typically grown a bit and might have new (or at least changed) motivations.

The only down-side to this approach is when there is an obvious need for those characters that Dresden doesn’t see or doesn’t rationalize away. You find yourself thinking “why doesn’t he call his werewolf buddy?” or “this would be a good time to order a pizza and whip up some faerie assistance.” To butcher’s credit, I don’t think these moments are particularly common, and sometimes Dresden asks and answers these same questions with pretty decent excuses.

Much as I like the series, I suppose my complaints would be:

  • He’s always exhausted, yet manages to dig deep and pull some super action
  • the “24”-ish feeling that he’s always RUNNING OUT OF TIME!
  • the fate of the entire world rests on his shoulders…again

But, it’s basically an action movie in book form, so I can forgive a lot of that for the same reasons I can forgive a lot of silly things in action movies. The books aren’t high literature, I much prefer his Alera books for a more gripping series, but the Dresden books are a lot of fun for me. And he does try to build in some character development over the, what, 12 books now? He cranks stuff out, which gives me something to look forward to each year…unlike some of my other favorite authors who take half-decades to create a book.

Ok, to each his own and all, but seriously? Every time a female character shows up, we get “the dress did interesting things to the shape of her legs” and “the tips* of her breasts strained against the fabric of her blouse” and “if the entire world weren’t in mortal danger, I would have been tempted to blah blah blah.” He breaks whatever action is going on at the time to do this; in Blood Rites, some lady actually crashes through a window or something, and Butcher sees fit to pause this action-packed scene to spend like a page and a half talking about her tips.* It doesn’t help matters that the first two are the way he phrases those literally every time he says them.

*I could have sworn I used to know a real word for the things at the ends of breasts, but professional author Jim Butcher calls them exclusively by the name “tips,” so I guess that’s what they’re called.