The Double Phoenix

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Archive for the ‘Dresden Files’ Category

Side Jobs

Posted by spragujs on November 16, 2010

Side Jobs cover artJim Butcher’s collection of Dresden Files short stories, Side Jobs, was my most recent read.  They were mostly exactly what the title calls them.  One was from Thomas’s point of view and one included Michael as a focus (he’s always been one of my favorites), and they’re all spread out between the various existing novels.  Someday I’ll go back through and read everything in order.  (As I tend to have a hard time remembering what happened in what book…)   Here’s the blurb:

Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher – a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time.  The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious.  Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes.  This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago’s only professional wizard.

Most importantly for most Dresden fans, I’m sure, was the mentioned novella which happened after the end of Changes.  This one focuses on Murphy and a couple of Dresden’s other usual sidekicks and working allies.  Without trying to give things away, it’s emotionally charged, action-packed (though that seems redundant with it having been a Dresden Files story), and totally made me wish that it was April 2011 already!  I can’t freaking wait to read Ghost Story!  Though to be completely honest, I’d also like to read some more of the in between if it were available.  🙂

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Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on May 22, 2009

Proven Guilty Wizard Under FireHeh.  I waited a bit long to write this post.  Now I’ve read in the next book for two evenings and the stories are getting blurred!

In any case, Harry’s life changes a bit in this book.  (Not that it hasn’t in the past!)  His roomie moves out, he gains an apprentice, makes a couple confessions, hears a couple, makes a reconciliation, and finds out that he may have a “destiny”.

This one was another fantastic read.  I’m so glad that Harry and Murphy kinda talked over their feelings for one another.  I know in several ways it wouldn’t make sense for them to get together, but ultimately I hope they will.  Have since the first.  😉

I also love how Harry isn’t afraid to work with people.  He dreads them getting hurt, but knows ultimately that he and they will be better off with each other to watch backs.

I’m a bit (just a bit, mind!) disappointed though.  Previous to this book, Harry’s adventures were just plain old urban fantasy, and I was good with that.  The ending of this one again tied all the strings into one knot.  I complained earlier that most of Harry’s first adventures all seemed to tie together even when they started out completely separate.  Well a couple books in the middle there actually had more than one case to them, and I liked that.  Now, however, it seems that all those different stories in all (or at least most) of the previous books are now to have been precursors to some big, bad thing that’s being orchestrated by some big, bad guy.  Don’t get me wrong, I like epic fantasy, a lot, but it was nice thinking this series, however intertwined all the characters could be, might end up just being a series of adventures.  Oh well, I’m over it.  Bring on the big, bad!  ;D

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on May 15, 2009

Dead Beat Wizard at LargeAnother great one by Butcher!  So much happens in some of these books!  And the level of action is always so well maintained!  I don’t think this one became my favorite, but possibly only because of a couple of disappointments I felt for Harry.  First, I can’t figure out why he didn’t spend the year of “off” time fixing his shield bracelet.  I think if I were him I’d have spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how to make it also protect from heat (and maybe other related things I could come up with).  It’s possible that such a thing isn’t possible, but I’d have still made the attempt.  I get his fear of fire though.  I can understand that one.  Oh, and the other disappointment, which has carried over into the next book is that Harry’s still all self-righteous over Ebenezer’s betrayal.  To be honest I didn’t really agree with it in the first place (though I can understand somewhat how he’d be upset), but the longer it carries on the less sympathy I have.

This one had lots of fun stuff happening though and also lots of funny!  😀  Much of which was well blended with actions that became quite serious.

Also, it’s interesting to me how similar in some ways Harry is to Rand al’Thor in the Wheel of Time novels.  Harry’s prone to taking chivalry too far (by not wanting to hurt women, no matter how bad they are) and he’s got himself his own version of Lews Therin/Lanfear in Lasciel.  Lews Therin by her being in his head and Lanfear by her actions.  Hmm, seems like there was something else as well, but now I’ve forgotten it.  [ETA:  Ah yes, Harry basically learned the Flame and the Void.]

I hope Harry finds someone to carry Shiro’s sword soon!  Seems important to have the third Knight of the Cross running around at this point.  Then again, you wouldn’t want to choose hastily and poorly either.  (I think we’re warming up to Butter’s getting the position myself.)  😉  It’s nice to know that Harry’s now got a steady paying job though.  LOL!

Also, this was the second book in the omnibus I was reading (as was Death Masks which I think was my favorite so far), and it got me addicted so that I decided to read more Harry instead of taking a brief break like I’d intended.  😉

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Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on May 2, 2009

Blood Rites Wizard at Large

I just finished Blood Rites in the SFBC omnibus, Wizard at Large, by Jim Butcher.  This one wasn’t quite as good as Death Masks for me.  I think maybe the different characters or something tend to help.  I really like Michael for example.  Then again, this one had Thomas show up again, and even if he’s technically a “bad guy” I still like him!  And now he’s Harry’s brother, and they’re going to live together for a while.  You have to know that’s going to turn out to be a disaster.  😉  Aww, and the temple guard dog, he’s so cute, and Harry’s so naive to have believed the puppy would be a small breed!  LOL!

I love how Butcher leaves threads that can be brought back from previous books.  In this one Thomas and Mavra show back up.  (Can’t Harry get away from vampires ever?!)  😉  Granted, Thomas has been around quite a lot, but he was a bigger part this time.  And the book ends with several new contacts/bad guys left for Harry to encounter in the future.  I kinda hope these books go on forever.  There are so many stories Butcher can tell with this world and characters!  Woot!

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Death Masks by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on April 24, 2009

Death Masks Wizard by Trade

Wednesday night I stayed up late finishing Death Masks by Jim Butcher.  As per usual, I read it in the SFBC omnibus, Wizard by Trade.  I have to say, this one was by far my favorite.  That’s not to say that the others were bad, this one was just that good!  To think that Harry’s duel with a hundreds year old vampire is only the secondary storyline!

This one includes Susan, Bob, Murphy, Thomas (a vampire of the White Court who helped Harry out previously), the Archive who contains all human knowledge, Denarians (fallen angels who are allowed to futz with the world of mortals), the Shroud of Turin, Marcone, and a whole bunch of other stuff!  All fairly well woven together this time (rather than feeling a tad contrived in coming together).  Or maybe that’s part of why I preferred it, there were two story lines in truth this time, two that did not eventually connect, that is.  Harry is apparently quite good at time management!  I wonder how he manages to make it to all his various appointments in Chicago’s traffic though…  Maybe that’s just the thing that would truly make these fantasy novels.  ;D

And in conclusion, Ebenezar got to bomb some Red Court vamps with Asteroid Dresden (LMAO), and now I really want to know who Harry chooses…  well, I can’t figure out a way to describe what he chooses this person for without giving too much away.  That’s what I’m really left with!  Glad he buried the coin, though it’s not as good as if he’d just handed it over to the proper authorities…  Well, now I’m reading Blood Rites, in spite of the fact that my normal pattern would have me read something else in between omnibuses.  This one just kept my curiosity up too much!  Woooo!  (Dangit, now I wish I were at home reading!)

Couple other things I can’t let go without commenting on…  Kevlar and Bob banging his skull against the wall at Harry.  *giggles*

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Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on April 18, 2009

Summer KnightWizard by Trade

I finished Summer Knight, 4th book in the  Dresden Files, in the omnibus edition from SFBC, Wizard by Trade, Thursday night.  (Yeesh, ugly sentence!)  😉  In any case, this one led Harry up against the White Council again for basically starting a war against the Red Court of vampires at the end of the last book.  But more importantly, Harry is chosen by the Queen of the Winter Sidhe to figure out who killed the Summer court’s Knight ’cause she (the Queen) didn’t do it and is being blamed for it.  The outcome of Harry’s investigation can stop a war between the two courts and basically save the earth.  No pressure!

Some cool stuff?  Harry tells Murphy everything, and she helps him defeat some Sidhe creatures with a chainsaw!  *giggle*  Harry’s werewolf buddies help him make his way to the end through a battle so he can stop the war.  Harry’s dragged out of a depression he’d let himself into by blaming himself for what happened to Susan at the end of the last book.  And interestingly, Harry finds out that he didn’t kill the first love of his life (she’d have been collateral damage), and that she hadn’t chosen to betray him, which may have healed some of the pain he’s been carrying with him since he was 16!

Oh yeah, there are some spoilers for ya!  Hopefully they make people curious about the books and make you want to read.  😉  I’ve also been wondering what I missed when SciFi made the Dresden Files TV series.  I know there are fans (of the show) out there who loved it, but I never saw any episodes, and it was cancelled after one season.  Maybe I need to look into it!  Ooo, there’s a DVD set!

Posted in Dresden Files, Reading | 2 Comments »

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on March 23, 2009

Grave Peril

Well, I just finished Grave Peril by Jim Butcher.  This one’s the third novel in the Dresden Files (and third and final book in the A Wizard for Hire omnibus version from SFBC).

First off.  Great book!  I think it’s my favorite so far!  Things kinda fall apart for Harry in this one.  Frankly, in spite of winning the day, he does a LOT of things wrong on the way to getting there.  Thankfully, I don’t have to complain that Murphy kinda turned on him in this one, but then, she was unconscious for half of it!  I’m a bit sad I’d decided to take a break from Harry at this point (new book came out that I’m very curious about), ’cause this book sure did wind up the story for some big new happenings in the next one!  O.O

I do still have a couple of complaints.  Not about the books, but some things that have not been covered thus far that I’d really kinda like to see.  First, they’ve all been a bit too convenient in that all of Harry’s leads/contacts/etc. each time have all been part of one big picture.  I hope in the future, that Butcher will randomly throw in a side quest for Harry.  (Maybe I’ve played to many RPGs in my life or something.)  The other is that I feel like I’m missing a bit when it comes to Harry’s strengths.  Obviously he thinks well on his feet.  He’s always claimed he’s not much of a brute force type magic user, yet that seems to be the only type he gets to use in all these fast-paced, beat down type adventures he goes through.  I’d really like to see Harry’s forte, thaumaturgy, used.  There we go, now you have my wish list!

Well, for all my complaining, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. These books are terrific, fun, the characters are awesome, and so on.  I just never want to write about too much of the actual book for fear of spoiling people on what’s happened so far!  😉

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Names

Posted by spragujs on March 22, 2009

I started reading Imager by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. on Saturday.  I decided to take a break from the Dresden Files to read this since it just came out, and the excerpt on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist made me want to read it.  (See my post on upcoming book releases for details.)

After getting through 9 chapters and 54 pages, I’m struck by an interesting dichotomy between the Dresden Files and what will presumably (remember only 9 chapters so far) be a theme in the Imager Portfolio.  That is the difference in what Names mean between the two universes.

In Harry Dresden’s universe, a person’s Full Name (including how it’s pronounced and such) means You.  It’s supremely symbolic and has a power over you.  In the Imager Universe their religion’s god is the Nameless, because to them to name something is to presume you know everything about it, when you never really can.  I get the impression it’s the ultimate in taking to heart the idea of “judge not”.  

It’s certainly possible (I’d say probable) that these aren’t truly opposing ideas.  In Harry’s world (as I learned in book 3, which I just finished, post coming soon) it’s said that a human’s name changes with them (I’d guess most frequently in pronunciation based on their moods, ideals, etc., but that probably includes actual name changes like when a person takes their spouse’s name, or just plain changes theirs).  Where, by Naming something in the Imager universe, you are assumed to have judged that person as its whole when your impressions of a person can never know the whole of their being.  

Hmm, I guess, after thinking about it, that a person names themselves in Harry’s world, but a Name is given to a person by someone else in the Imager world.  Interesting.

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Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on March 14, 2009

Fool Moon

Heh heh.  The title of this one makes me giggle.  Except while reading through it Harry refers to the moon once as a fool’s moon as though it’s supposed to mean something, but I don’t know what!  In any case, this is the second book in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  I’m again technically reading it from A Wizard for Hire, omnibus of the first three Dresden Files books from SFBC.  In this one, the police call Harry in to help them on some murders that appear to be being committed by werewolves.  He and Bob make some super cool, effective potions, which of course, have their drawbacks.  Harry learns a tid bit or two about his folks.  He makes some relationship progress and gets beat up.  A WHOLE lot.

[Vague and possibly not so vague spoilers in this paragraph.]  My first thought as reading through was, “Man, I really want to love Murphy (Dresden’s contact on the Police force), and frequently I do, but man does she have the worst timing when deciding to doubt Harry.  Then I kinda have to start hating her at least a little.  :-  Nice touch that her previously super-skeptical partner actually started believing in Harry.  I should have known that’d be a bad omen.  :-  And man!  I thought Harry got beat up last time?!  Don’t mind me while I go laugh at my naivete!  😉  

Anyway, it was again a good story!  Lots of people died this time, though not (directly) at Harry’s hands.  He, of course blamed, himself for it all, even though there were only a handful of deaths I’d be inclined to say he was even vaguely involved with.  It seems that many, if not most, of Harry’s problems are from lack of communication skills.  And frankly, this time, in my opinion, they weren’t because Harry was holding back on things.  If, in the beginning, for example, Kim Delaney had told him what she needed the circle for, Harry might have been more inclined to help her, or he might have done the job for her, and that would have eliminated the whole need for this book and all its deaths (well, it would have gone a long way toward that goal anyway)!

In any case, I can’t wait to start reading Grave Peril to see what comes up for Harry next!  I just hope he gets to rest up and heal first!  😉  I do have to say I hope it doesn’t go the way of Harry having crippled his wizardry (however temporarily).  Feels like that’d be too cliche, but then maybe Butcher can pull it off if that’s what happens anyway.

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Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Posted by spragujs on March 8, 2009

Storm Front

I finished the first book of the Dresden Files, Storm Front, by Jim Butcher last night.  Luckily it was Saturday and not that late when I started reading, ’cause I couldn’t find a place where I wanted to stop when it was usually my bedtime!  This book (well, series really) was recommended by a friend of mine a little while back.  And I was not disappointed!

Harry Dresden is a wizard.  A real live one practicing as a magic PI of sorts in Chicago.  He’ll find lost things for you or something similar, and he sometimes even helps out the police when they find incidents that aren’t explained by the stuff they’re used to seeing.  

The book starts out with Harry reading a book ’cause business has been a little slow lately.  Matter of fact, it’s been so slow that he’s been having trouble making rent.  Well, that’s not a problem for him after the first day of the book.  He gets a call from a lady who’s husband has gone missing.  She’d like Harry to find him for her.  Before Harry can meet with her though, he gets a call from his contact at the police department, who also needs him to help with a murder case.  Hijinks ensue!  (I have to admit that it wasn’t a secret to me that the cases would eventually link up.  Then again, it probably wasn’t really supposed to be a secret!)

Harry has a worse life at times than Jack Bauer, I swear!  Jack’s bad days only last for 24 hrs where poor Harry in this case was going on full bore for more like 4 days.  Oy!  I have to say, I hope that some of the future novels are a tad bit more forgiving for Harry than this one.  I’m not sure I can take the stress of reading about a character not eating or sleeping for a couple days at a time!  😉

On the plus side (spoiler alert!) Harry did at least get to solve one of his overall problems with this story.  In saving the day at the end (oh come on, you had to see that coming!), he got to have the Doom lifted from him that was placed there by the White Council when he had to kill his prior mentor using magic (which is strictly forbidden).  Since he claimed self defense and there were no witnesses to dispute that claim, the Doom was his sentence.  Basically, he was watched at all times to make sure killing people wasn’t something he did on a regular basis.  His warden, Morgan, who while highly suspicious of Harry, saw the end of the book go down and had to report to the Council that Harry wasn’t misusing magic.  (However much Morgan would have liked to report otherwise, it just wasn’t in his nature to do so.)  The Council then lifted the Doom and at the beginning of this next book Harry is at least free from that weight.  However, Morgan and his faction on the Council, still think Harry is someone they need to watch out for, so I suspect Harry will still be under suspicion, even if it isn’t official anymore.

Anyway, on to the next book:  Fool Moon!  *giggles*

Also, the Science Fiction Book Club has 4 omnibus books of the first 9 books of the Dresden Files.  I’m actually reading A Wizard for Hire which has the first three books in it:  Storm Front, Fool Moon, and Grave Peril.

Posted in Dresden Files, Reading | 2 Comments »