Thursday, July 12, 2007

"The Dresden Files" series

by Jim Butcher

No contemporary Occult fiction collection would be complete without Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files” novels. This series is so popular with dark urban fantasy fans that a television show, “The Dresden Files,” has been created from the concept.

So far Butcher has written nine novels in the series, and I hear he envisions twelve more. Certainly good news for Occult fiction fans!

Harry Dresden is a Wizard, the only one in Chicago who advertises his services, working from a sparsely furnished office, the level of disarray always dependent upon whether his latest visitor was human or not. He scrambles to pay the rent every month, since his cases rarely turn out the way he imagines. This is due partly to a steady stream of questionable clients, but mostly to Harry’s heart, which shimmers with gold and never considers the current state of his wallet.

Harry lives in a basement apartment with no electricity. He uses candles for light and suffers through cold showers, since electrical appliances tend to misbehave in the presence of a Wizard’s energy field. Harry’s “lab” sits beneath the apartment, stocked with hundreds of items used for spellcasting. Here you’ll find Bob, an ancient air spirit who inhabits a dusty human skull and is the source for most of Harry’s spells. Besides being a virtual encyclopedia of magick, Bob possesses a wry wit, providing the perfect touch of reality and humor to Harry’s chaotic days.

Butcher has succeeded in creating a cast of delightfully complex characters, yet each scene in these novels flows as smoothly as city water from the tap. I cannot say enough about his talent as a novelist. Butcher wrote the first book in this series while he was still in school. It was awful. But he continued to tweak the story for several years until it reached the high level of craftsmanship fans of Occult fiction demand. And the rest is publishing history.

Any reader who values expertly written dark urban fantasy, dazzling magick, a fast-paced plot, and hilarious characters should definitely consider Jim Butcher’s “The Dresden Files” series as an essential part of their Occult fiction collection. I know I do.


Laura Stamps is an award-winning novelist and poet, as well as a Wiccan and a feral cat rescuer. The recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination and seven Pushcart Award nominations, she is the author more than thirty-five books, including "The Witchery Series, " a popular series of magickal urban fantasy novels published by Kittyfeather Press at .

Special Note: I would like to thank everyone who left such warm and welcoming comments in response to my first review. I'm glad you are enjoying my reviews, and I am happy to be a part of this lovely and vital blog.


Funda-mentor said...

The privilege is all ours Laura. The book you have introduced here seems to be a light hearted one>? Or is it dark? And what is ur opinion on Harry Potter series - simply bcos it deals with witchcraft, magic and sorcery.

Laura Stamps said...

Hi, Funda-mentor--
Thanks for the comments! This series of novels is classified as dark urban fantasy because there are vamps, weres, ghouls, magic, wizards, etc., in it. And there is some gore, but it is handled well. However, the main character, Harry Dresden, has a quirky sense of humor, which keeps the tone light, even though the plots of these novels deal with dark themes.

Actually, I may be one of the few people in the world who has not read the Harry Potter series, so I can't express an opinion on it. I did see one of the movies, but it just didn't click for me, so I haven't pursued the novels or the movies yet. I have a very long TBR list of dark urban fantasy novels I am working through at the moment. When I finish reading all those novels, I will probably try a Potter book.

Laura Stamps
"Magickal Urban Fantasy Novelist"