Of all the Fantasy books featuring orphaned wizards named Harry who practice magic in our regular world unseen by mortals, The Dresden Files series is one of my top two favorites! Butcher has managed to capture the gritty, noir feel of any of the old hard boiled mystery novels in his Chicago and he’s also brought the essence of a great adventure fantasy story with plenty of magical and otherworldly creatures. Harry Dresden is a Private Investigator and the only professional wizard listed in the phone book. He’s got a sharp wit and a knack for getting himself in trouble while trying to help his clients out of it.
In this first novel, business has been very slow for Harry and money is getting tight. Harry gets a call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt. Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit that makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Two corpses are found with their chests burst open from the inside and Harry quickly deduces not only that these murders must have been caused by magic, but that someone has broken the sacred first law of Magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. What makes matters worse (see, I told you it was about to get worse) is that the White Council, the governing body of wizards, suspects that Harry may be the one responsible for the murders. After all, he is the only practicing wizard in Chicago, right?
This is my favorite series of Fantasy books (the 12th book, Changes, was recently released) because they just keep getting better and better! With each subsequent book Harry’s world gets a little more defined, we get to know him better, and there are hints that some of the seemingly disparate acts of supernatural evil afoot may, in fact, be related. One of my other favorite aspects of these books is that the cast of supporting characters gradually grows and Butcher weaves them in and out of Harry’s life, just as happens in real life. The Dresden Files series is quite popular – probably for many of the same reasons that the books featuring that other magical orphan named Harry are: they are full of humor, the magical aspects take place within our own world, and they blend several different genres together. My wife will often catch me literally laughing out loud over something that Harry said in the books and I’ll stop to share it with her. In fact, that’s probably how I got her hooked on these highly entertaining books too – and she is definitely not a “Sci-Fi & Fantasy” reader.
If you want a good urban fantasy / mystery / humorous character with great writing – trust me, read these books!
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