Monday, April 8, 2013

How I Managed To Get Caught In The Rain: A Review Of The Dresden Files.

First, allow me to lay a brief foundation for you. Sort of set the scene if you will.

I have always been a voracious reader, especially when I was younger. I used to read constantly almost any chance I had, and the only thing that was anathema for me was the idea that I might run out of things worth reading. Even by the time I was in college and working I always made sure to have a book or at the very least two with me. Whenever I had a break or a lunch I would turn to a book(or a notebook to be fair) so that I could give my mind something else to do.

Honestly, I caught a lot grief and quite a few questions over my odd habits(as many coworkers referred to them). I would get to work early routinely to avoid being late or unprepared and settle myself to read a bit first. It was like my little bit of 'me time' I could relish. But as I got older and found myself disabled my habits changed. I still read, don't get me wrong but some days my time is filled with my children and other things. So I have recently found myself with a rather long backlog of books in the 'to read' category.

Which brings me to my current ironic situation; a great friend decided to ask me if I had ever ready any of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. Sadly I admitted that I had not while completely forgetting that I had a folder full of them that I had been meaning to try out a few years back. He insured me they were worth checking out and that he was certain I would enjoy them. I politely promised to try and get around to them eventually, thanked him and that was the end of it.

Curiosity though has never been very kind to me though and later that evening I found myself looking over a Wikipedia article about the series just to get a feel for it, to see if it might really appeal to me. In it I noticed there was a series based on the books that oddly enough was available through Hulu. So I told myself I would just try out the first episode, see if it was any good at all. I figured I might satisfy my curiosity and then it might be the end of it.

I should have known better.

Next thing I know, one episode led to another, and then another. Soon I was telling myself enough was enough and I was cracking open the first book. After the first chapter I was politely asking my wife to give the first chapter a try and I already knew I had inadvertently pushed everything else in the reading agenda aside.

The first book is titled 'Storm Front' and is written from the point of view of the main character - Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, who narrates his own tale in a style reminiscent of a classic detective film noir. It really is quite fitting and I almost instantly found the character endearing to me. He is a powerful wizard in his own right but greatly lacking in fine control. He, in a way is best described as a middle class hero. While he has some great talents and ability he doesn't have the high society clout or privilege. No, our hero works for a living and struggles with the day to day grind of trying to keep up on the rent.

Harry is a good guy to the core but he is also one with his share of demons. A weight still hangs on his shoulders from the past and with it comes a burden of distrust among others in the magical community. Basically, he's the local go to guy for them to blame when just about anything bad happens.

In short we have a good guy, who is a wizard, has terrible luck, is a scape goat for the magical authorities and did I forget to mention is a consultant for the local police as well in matters of strange cases? Yeah, and that last bit, it could never cause issues for him... But when the chips are down, and something nasty howls in the night you have to call someone. So give Harry a call, he's in the book. Only listing under Wizard.

I could praise this book for hours but all I will say is this(and it should be more than sufficient); it's elegant and simple. The story is fun and pulls you in, the characters are fun and witty enough to keep you interested. And if nothing else, the beginning and ending alone have beautiful symmetry. If you give this book a chance I can guarantee you will not only enjoy it, but others will hear you giggle to yourself at times as you find yourself amused at Harry.

I never planned to be reading it yet, and I can honestly say I never expected to already have finished the first book. But I can say I am charging straight into the second and don't foresee me stopping anytime soon.

Join me, won't you?