Rec a Series is a monthly post highlighting one of my favorite series, past or present. This month, I’m stepping away from romance and into straight urban fantasy. The setting is present day with all the good and bad that entails. The main character? Well, he just happens to be the only wizard listed in the yellow pages.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
This series is almost a requirement for fans of urban fantasy. The Dresden Files tells the story of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, an honest-to-goodness wizard practicing in Chicago. Most people consider him a joke. A wizard? In modern-day Chicago? Yeah, right.
The problem is, he really is a wizard. He gets by on the stray case and a shaky relationship as a consultant with the police department. As things spiral ever further out of control, Harry makes many (sometimes—often—unthinking) choices and learns the consequences of those choices. Those choices and their consequences are sometimes amusing, sometimes depression, and sometimes down-right heart-wrenching.
The huge cast of characters is also delightful. Karrin Murphy is a bad-ass police officer who tolerates Harry on a good day. Bob the Skull is a disembodied spirit of knowledge with a penchant for steamy novels and strip clubs. Michael Carpenter is the real deal—a good and pious man. And last but not least (okay, yes, he is least), Toot-Toot, the pixie who leads a very tiny army and helps Harry for pizza. All are unique, with their own voices, personalities, and histories, and all grow throughout the series in ways both good and bad.
But where Butcher shines is in the world building. Yes, the base geography was easy being that he set it in the modern world, but the magic rules, the fae worlds, the mythology—all of those are deep and rich and full of nuance. It’s amazing to watch unfold.
There are a ton of pros to this series. Harry goes through a lot of growth, though at times he continues to have his blind-spots, and it’s wonderful to see. He starts considering his actions before he does something stupid. He doesn’t necessarily avoid the stupid thing, but he does think about the possible results. His loyalty to his friends cements into something rock-solid. Sanya, the agnostic Knight of the Cross. Mouse and Mister. ’Nuff said.
The cons are those I didn’t notice at first (hurrah privilege!), but they crept in and then I couldn’t not notice. There are few people of color in the series. A few secondary characters come from all corners of the world, but all of the primary characters are white. They’re also straight. I can’t remember any LGBTQ+ characters. The entire city of Chicago and not a single one is gay? Somehow, I doubt that.
Now, here’s my favorites:
- Book – A pair, actually: Changes & Ghost Story. They’re not happy books, one is a punch to the gut and the other stabs your bleeding heart and twists the knife, but they’re amazing. So, so amazing.
- Character – Besides Harry? Probably a cross between Mouse and Carlos Ramirez. Yes, Karrin is awesome. Yes, Bob is hilarious. Yes, Thomas is…*swoon* But Mouse is a great character and Ramirez is just lovely. All of the supporting characters are great, but those two just make my little heart happy. Okay, I’ll confess…I’ll add Toot-Toot.
- Quotes –
“I may have had good reasons. I may have had the best of intentions.
But intentions aren’t enough, no matter how good they are. Intentions can lead you to a place where you’re able to make a choice.
It’s the choice that counts.”
― Jim Butcher, Ghost Story
“Parkour,” I panted. “Bitch.”
― Jim Butcher, Skin Game
“I think I need help,” I heard myself whisper, voice little more than a rasp. “I think I’m lost.”
― Jim Butcher, Skin Game
The Dresden Files –
Number of Books: Fifteen
- Storm Front
- Fool Moon
- Grave Peril
- Summer Knight
- Death Masks
- Blood Rites
- Dead Beat
- Proven Guilty
- White Night
- Small Favor
- Turn Coat
- Ghost Story
- Cold Days
- Skin Game
Number of Extras: Tons
- Restoration of Faith – a free prequel on Butcher’s website
- Vignette – a free short, used as promo material
- Working for Bigfoot – an illustrated short (not a graphic novel)
- Side Jobs – an anthology of shorts
- Cold Case – a short in the Shadowed Souls anthology
- Curses – a short in the Naked City anthology
- B is for Bigfoot – a short in the Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron anthology (this is 3rd in the Bigfoot series)
- Jury Duty – a short in the Unbound anthology
- Even Hand – a short in the Dark and Stormy Knights and Beyond the Pale anthologies
- Bigfoot on Campus – a short in the Hex Appeal anthology (this is the 2nd in the Bigfoot series)
- Last Call – a short in the Strange Brew anthology
- Day Off – a short in the Blood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories anthology
- Something Borrowed – a short in the My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding anthology
- The Warrior – a short in the Mean Streets anthology
- Heorot – a short in the My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon anthology
- I Was a Teenage Bigfoot – a short in the Blood Lite III: Aftertaste anthology (this is the 1st in the Bigfoot series)
- The Dresden Files Omnibus One – a compilation of four graphic novels (Welcome to the Jungle, Storm Front, Fool Moon, Restoration of Faith)
- Welcome to the Jungle
- Storm Front
- Fool Moon
- Ghoul, Goblin
- War Cry
- Wild Card
Complete? No. Peace Talks is number sixteen in the series and has no publication date as of this time of posting.