Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Changes by Jim Butcher

I don't know if you remember this, but I reluctantly started reading the first of the Dresden Files, Storm Front, because I was turning over my new "check books out from the library instead of spending grocery money on them" phase of my life and there were 11 out before I picked up the first. I had seen the short-lived television series and liked it (Paul Blackthorn remains Harry while I read). And I think I thought...good, enjoyable, don't NEED the rest of the story but they're all there so I just might as well pick up the next one, right?

And then it got all out of hand. I caught up to Turn Coat before the paperback did. I've now read all (I think) of the short stories, even Thomas' thin volume, and while I was killing time at Barnes and Noble one afternoon, I flipped through the graphic novel.

I don't do graphic novels. I don't do urban fantasy. That's what this is categorized. Apparently vampires and werewolves are the gateway fiction to urban fantasy. And the rest of that story is, I don't care. I was #2 on the list at the library for Changes, and I have waited restlessly for it to arrive (why is the library soooo slow??). And after I put down the stupid stinking sod on Saturday, I died. And then I finished reading Changes.

I have only two complaints: too much "shambling" again. I understand how the perfect word begs to be used over and over and this is the perfect word. Unfortunately, it's a memorable word too. I was going to count the number of times I ran across it, but then I decided I had better things to do.
Second...when is the next one coming? I mean, Harry's all "mortal peril" and stuff. His apartment is gone. His office is gone. The Blue Beetle is gone. His ex is gone. His daughter is safe but gone for her own protection. Molly, Thomas, Mouse, and Mister...all away and Murphy's home, sprucing up. Harry has the worst luck but the best friends...and he makes tough decisions but with the utmost flair.

I don't want to tell you what happens, even if you never read it, because I think it's one of those "you hadda be there" things. Nobody can snark-off like Harry Dresden. And I admire that in a man...non-stop action, clever dialogue, and a solid world. It's good writing.

Here's what Amazon/Publisher's Weekly says (4 1/2 stars):
The fast-paced and compelling 12th book in Butcher's bestselling series (after 2009's Turn Coat) is aptly titled. Beginning with the revelation that wizard detective Harry Dresden has a daughter, Butcher throws one high-stakes curveball after another at his hero. Harry's ex-girlfriend, Susan Rodriguez, discloses young Maggie's existence after vampire Red Court duchess Arianna Ortega kidnaps the child. Ortega holds Harry responsible for the death of her husband and is planning to offer Maggie as a human sacrifice. With a fragile peace in place between the Red Court and the White Council of wizards, Harry is unable to count on them for support in his rescue mission, and he must compromise almost everything he believes in to save his daughter. Butcher is deft at relieving some of the tension and grimness with bursts of gallows humor that keep readers coming back for more.
Gallows humor...now I know what to call that. I believe I have gallows humor. And if you haven't watched the short-lived television series (why, oh, why won't someone make these into movies?? Why?), it's available now on Netflix to watch instantly. And the series is different than the books...books=much better as long as you imagine Paul Blackthorn as Harry in your mind (No Dresden story is complete without Mouse, the Foo temple dog. Or Mister the cat.)

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