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Humble Asskicker

Dresden Files

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Changes is epically awesome. That one book is the epic orgasmic climax that the previous 11 books were building up to. The follow up, Ghost Story, fell a bit flat for me. But perhaps Butcher is simply laying the groundwork to blow my mind again at book 24.

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Guest Raidne

Okay, so I finally read this series last fall, and I have some things to say about it. To the OP, I will just say right off that I'm pretty sure all the shit that currently annoys you will continue to annoy you.

Is Harry dark? Yes and no. And I don't know why people are leaving this to Changes, because Harry makes some pretty dark choices before then, you know? Ultimately, the thing is this - Harry is a living ethical dilemma. He generally wants to do "the right thing." At first, he does this unquestioningly. He's a true Kantian. Then, he starts thinking about how many people get hurt for the sake of his self-righteousness when he does "the right thing." So, Harry starts trying to think about "the greater good." Harry, then, becomes that guy who will do the bad thing for the sake of the greater good. And then, eventually, Harry gets to a point where he'll do the bad thing when there is no greater good at stake. This is maybe his own mental process, and maybe due to other factors. It's hard to say.

Jim has a very light writing style that makes people gloss over his deeper themes, IMO (this is the opposite of Bakker, who has a very complex writing style that obscures the fact that he's not fucking saying anything). On top of that, every character you meet, you don't. You meet Harry's impression of that character. And Harry is not a very complicated guy when it comes to his understanding of other people. I think this is hard to realize without reading the short stories from other character POVs in side jobs.

For my part, I also find Michael and Charity a little insufferable. And I wasn't a huge fan of Murphy's either, although she grows on me. But the characterization absolutely gets better as the books go on. New characters start off a little stronger than the earliest ones did. And the books are formulaic. This is intentional. It's noir. Noir is formulaic.

For my part, I love these books. Butcher's world is a world I like to visit. I admit that I get a little caught up in the story and setting and tend to gloss over some of the clues about the happenings in the larger world. I need to do a reread, probably.

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Cold Days is supposed to hit some time in Nov from my understanding. Jim decided to take a few months off to recharge his batteries. Mainly because he was putting out two books a year for the last 5 years I think.

Also for anyone who says Ghost Story is a little flat, you pretty much missed the huge ethical dilemma that is the core of the story. I would put it together for you but frankly thats more like work than I want to think about right now.

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Kouran,

Ghost Story like A Dance with Dragons really requires a reread to appreciate.

Raidne,

You should read the short story "Even Hand" that is from Marcone's perspective. It gives a great deal of light on Harry's skewed view of some of the Characters he interacts with. I can understand why you might find Michael and Charity "insufferable". However, I think they are Butcher's attempt to portray people who are sincere in their religious beliefs.

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I can understand why you might find Michael and Charity "insufferable". However, I think they are Butcher's attempt to portray people who are sincere in their religious beliefs.

That might be true of Michael but I don't think that's really the driving force behind Charity's character. Charity seems to be very much driven by her concern for her family.

Having read most of the Dresden Files books in a short space of time it's odd having to wait this long for the next one, not really that long compared to the wait for some books though I suppose.

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I think the thing about Ghost Story is that, in many ways, it's a companion book to Changes. In most of the books Butcher takes a little time at the end to let things settle, allow the characters to adjust and solidify any changes to the status quo, but in Changes (safety spoiler)

there's so much going on that Ghost Story is effectively a whole book of that instead of a chapter or two. It's the first book in the series that overtly focuses on the characters over plot development and action.

Even down to the ending- Changes is the only book he ended on a cliffhanger, which I think is significant.

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Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy Ghost Story, but Changes was a hard act to follow. It's like going back to driving your Porsche after driving a Ferrari for a week. Both are great cars, but the Ferrari is just better.

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Kouran,

Ghost Story like A Dance with Dragons really requires a reread to appreciate.

You need to read more closely the first time around, Scot. ;) Ghost Story was awesome the one and only time I read it.

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Yea, I really liked the Ghost Story too, except, perhaps for the very end - like the last page or so, which seemed a little too pat to me, currently. But all the rest was not only highly enjoyable, but also satisfyingly adressed some of the things that tended to bug me throughout the series.

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Love the series. Didn't think ghost story was flat, thought it opened up so much new stuff and just made me salivate for the next one.

Sure, that's fairly dark, but it doesn't change the fact that most of the books have a tone that allows

Harry to ride on the back of a fucking dinosaur

. Has butcher gotten better.. sure, but after this many books how could you not get darker?

You do know the books try to be funny, don't you? I thought that whole bit was hilarious. If you're after something totally serious, you should read another series.

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I enjoyed Ghost Story but its not my favourite of the series. My favourites are Dead Beat and Turn Coat.

As for Harry being dark I think he is a guy who tries to do the right thing, looks to the greater good and is willing to do something bad for a good reason. That said he'll never hurt a human woman or a child, Warlocks are excluded from that of course.

I didn't care for Charity at first but that was because of her hate-on for Harry. Once she accepted him I started to like her, mainly because she gave them kevlar bodyplates. Michael however I liked immediately, just wish he was still in it as a Knight of the Cross.

The best characters are Nicodemus, Bob the Skull, Thomas Raith and John Marcone.

LotN

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I think you both need to break out the spoiler tags. This topic isn't spoiler marked and was started by someone who isn't anywhere near some of the things you're mentioning.

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I'm kind of going through Dresden withdrawal, I read all the books last year, and I never had to wait in between. Now Cold Days seems so far away.

It's especially hard because Dresden is pretty much the only Urban Fantasy I read. Granted, I haven't tried many, but that's because each time I do they seem targeted at women. Even Daniel Abraham's urban fantasy offering really felt like chick lit (not trying to be offensive, can't think of a more PC term that accurately describes it). Most Urban fantasy seems to have a girl in a halter top and tight jeans with a shotgun or a sword or something on the cover. The Dresden files from what I've seen are a pretty unique corner of the SF&F market.

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I think you both need to break out the spoiler tags. This topic isn't spoiler marked and was started by someone who isn't anywhere near some of the things you're mentioning.

I agree... I have a few books to go, and really want to just discuss the generals of the story if you don't mind.

I actually lost count on where I was in the series. I just finished book 7 today. Dead Beat so far is my favorite of the series. It starts to give us more of an understanding of the "graying" of Harry Dresden. I am really enjoying the inner conflicts that have Harry wondering if there is a real difference between him and the monsters he is fighting.

Raidne said it upthread earlier, but Butcher is tackling some very deep subjects in a way that still lends itself to light hearted reading. It is not a small accomplishment. The deeper I get in this story, the more I like it.

Scott….

Perfect tease… Thanks for the Sue reference. I spent the last four books waiting to see if any of the female characters would be named Sue, only to find out that she is a several million year old dead T-Rex…

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It's especially hard because Dresden is pretty much the only Urban Fantasy I read. Granted, I haven't tried many, but that's because each time I do they seem targeted at women. Even Daniel Abraham's urban fantasy offering really felt like chick lit (not trying to be offensive, can't think of a more PC term that accurately describes it). Most Urban fantasy seems to have a girl in a halter top and tight jeans with a shotgun or a sword or something on the cover. The Dresden files from what I've seen are a pretty unique corner of the SF&F market.

I'm a girl, but I also prefer more "manly" UF. IMNSHO, you should try:

the Felix Castor series -- Mike Carey

the Joe Pitt series -- Charlie Huston (very dark -- only if you like noir)

the Cal Leandros series -- Rob Thurman (this one is a female author -- Robyn -- but the series is not at all PNR)

the Sandman Slim series -- Richard Kadrey

and if you want something less dark -- more wholesome and less morally complicated -- you might try the Jesse James Dawson series by KA Stewart (another female author, also not PNR)

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I'm a girl, but I also prefer more "manly" UF. IMNSHO, you should try:

the Felix Castor series -- Mike Carey

the Joe Pitt series -- Charlie Huston (very dark -- only if you like noir)

the Cal Leandros series -- Rob Thurman (this one is a female author -- Robyn -- but the series is not at all PNR)

the Sandman Slim series -- Richard Kadrey

and if you want something less dark -- more wholesome and less morally complicated -- you might try the Jesse James Dawson series by KA Stewart (another female author, also not PNR)

Hmm, The Rob Thurman books look interesting, actually. I might give them a try, if I can get past those awful covers. E-book is the way to go maybe. :P

I think one of the reasons Dresden is so great for me and most Urban isn't (beside the reason I already mentioned), is that I'm not so big on the occultic side of things. It just does nothing for me. Dresden is more...mythological, I guess? It's more fairytales and myths and religious legends and such, not unlike epic fantasy, which is my preference. But then Dresden's whole "Catholic church vs the forces of Darkness" storyline bothers some people in this thread, so you can't please everybody.

Thanks for the recs.

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If you like the fairy tales and myths and so on, then also take a look at the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. They are lighter than the others on my list, quite humorous at times. Many people compare them to Dresden, but IMHO they are not nearly as good. But they're kinda fun, nonetheless, and they are very popular right now.

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Even Daniel Abraham's urban fantasy offering really felt like chick lit (not trying to be offensive, can't think of a more PC term that accurately describes it).

How far have you made it in The Black Sun's Daughter? Because the first one definitely had a bit of PNR feel to it, but it has improved greatly, and the forth book was just fucking awesome.

I would also second the Charlie Huston rec, if you haven't already read him. Yeah, there are vampires, but it's not really occult type vampires. And you might also check out Tim Pratt's Marla Mason books; I read the first one, Blood Engines, a couple of years ago and it was pretty good and I don't recall it being too occulty.

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