Review: The Dresden Files

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files offers up a unique blend of urban fantasy and action-packed detective fiction. Butcher effortlessly rolls humor, excitement, and heart wrenching emotion into every book and always leaves you wanting more. The series chronicles the adventures of wizard and private investigator Harry Dresden and his endless efforts to protect his friends and the innocents of Chicago against the supernatural. From vigilante werewolves to pissed-off skinwalkers to lecherous spirits, the Dresden Files has it all, and then some.

The series starts off to an exciting, albeit shallow, beginning in Storm Front. But if you were left vaguely unsatisfied, fear not. As you delve further into the Dresden Files the story expands and deepens, becoming a complex and engrossing world. The Dresden Files comes equipped with a cast full of engaging characters and the bonds they share (both good and ill). My favorite of these is the bond shared between Harry and Police Sergeant Karrin Murphy. Murphy quickly proves that she can play with big dogs and, after a brief period of misunderstandings, takes up a irreplaceable role in Harry’s corner.

The Dresden Files has some of the best character development I’ve ever encountered. They change and grow with time and experiences, they learn from their mistakes, and they carry the scars from past battles. The events from previous books aren’t ignored in subsequent volumes. Harry starts out ill-prepared and naive. After getting quite a bit more than his fair share of being sucker punched by bad guys, betrayed by allies, and let down by friends, Harry evolves. Don’t get me wrong, he still ends up ass deep in alligators every day of the week. But point being, the plots, although entertaining, are not what carry this series. Hands down, that honor goes to the characters you come to love.

I give this series a 10 out of 10. It rapidly became one of my all time favorites and I am eagerly awaiting the newest release.

Ready to get started? Here is a list of all the published Dresden Files books in order:

  1. Storm Front
  2. Fool Moon
  3. Grave Peril
  4. Summer Knight
  5. Death Masks
  6. Blood Rites
  7. Dead Beat
  8. Proven Guilty
  9. White Night
  10. Small Favor
  11. Turn Coat
  12. Changes (To read Double Alias’ review of Changes, click here)

Side Jobs, a collection of short stories from the Dresden universe is due out October of this year (2010) and book number 13, entitled Ghost Story, is slated for release in March of 2011. If you’re a real fan, you might also want to look into the graphic novels, Welcome to the Jungle and Storm Front. I wouldn’t say they were a must read, but they are an entertaining addition to the series.

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can check out the television series titled The Dresden Files, which aired briefly on the Sci-Fi channel. You can watch all twelve episodes for free on Hulu.

If you have already devoured all the books in this series and are looking for a fix to stave off the withdraw process, you should check out Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series or Simon Green’s Nightside series. In my opinion, neither quite live up to Dresden, but they can hold you over until the next book comes out.

“Paranoid? Probably. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.” – Harry Dresden, Storm Front


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