I've just finished reading Jim Butcher's newest book in his Dresden Files series Cold Days. This is the kind of storytelling that just works so well. Butcher's Dresden continues to impress with each adventure, and Harry meeting up with his fantastic cast is just some of my favorite material I think I've ever read.
For those of you who aren't familiar; Harry Dresden is a practicing Wizard in the city of Chicago. As in Chicago of 2012. The Dresden series is the 'go to' for Urban Fantastists. Other folks might match him...but I haven't read anything that's done Urban Fantasy better. He faces off with Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, psychic monsters, ghosts, things from outside the universe, the fae, oh and the original demons... all manner of baddies.
You'd think someone who goes up against these kinds of foes must have some serious advantages...and on occasion? You'd be right, but most of the time Harry's still trying to figure out what they're up to before he can take advantage of his many tricks. He gets beat up. A lot. It's actually kinda funny, Butcher typically comments on how much he makes Harry suffer through. And I suppose that's the thing that I like about Harry most. He gets THROUGH it. He takes it and keeps on going. There are times when I'd really appreciate having those qualities in myself. Probably what makes Harry such a good protagonist.
Anyhow, this latest entry in the Files is basically to familiarise everybody with the new groundwork in Chicago, supernaturally speaking, since Harry's absence and those things he did in Changes that rocked the face of the 'Dresden'verse'. We start outside of reality in the Fae realms and Harry is finding out just how bad things are going to get with Winter (the Court, not the weather) when he gets his first job. And it's a doozy. So back to reality he goes.
Then it's a series of amusing events as Harry meets up with his old crew once again and finds out all kinds of secrets 'man was not meant to know'. Then again, that's what Wizards do. That's why they're Wizards.
Harry getting set with his new dynamic with Molly his apprentice is touching and there's a little bit of a spark there that Butcher's been flaming for a while. The reunion with Thomas is hysterical and leads to some great little insult-wars between the pair of them. I'm fairly convinced Butcher was watching Supernatural for inspiration at one point. Harry meeting with Mouse is all kinds of adorable, but the one everybody was waiting for was Karrin Murphy. I mean folks have been hoping for Harry and Murph to get together and have spell-flinging ninja babies since the first trilogy finished, so Butcher had a LOT to live up to.
And he managed to pull it off. The conversations between the characters felt REAL even if some of the stuff they talked about was fantastic. The emotions and the relationships that were so important. The people that they were? Those couldn't have been more genuine. And that's one of the big highlights of the Dresden Books. The Characters all HAVE it. Character I mean. They're interesting and complicated and lovable and... I know I'd hate being in the same room as Thomas because of the jealousy I'd feel, but I still think he'd be awesome to have a beer with. Harry too, especially if we could manage it at Mac's Pub.
I digress... well I do that a lot, but anyhow back to the point.
Changes was necessary to be the big shake up point for the stories, and Ghost Story, while interesting was basically just filler to get Harry back with everything else going on in his life. But Cold Days along with Summer Knight has just gone up as one of my FAVORITE Dresden tales.
They may not be for everybody. But I sure love 'em.