Thursday, November 16, 2006

Book-A-Day #123 (11/16): Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

I didn't read an edition with this very serious, brooding cover you see over to your left -- I still had a bound galley from last year kicking around my office (bound in a springlike light pinkish-tan), and that's what I read. But the picture to your left is certainly more eye-catching, and doesn't involve me fiddling around with a scanner.

If I actually felt any guilt about liking them, I'd say that the "Dresden Files" books are my current favorite guilty pleasure. They're contemporary fantasy in which all the supernatural stuff -- faeries,vampires, werewolves, and so on -- is real, and feature a tough-but-tender central character. Maybe if that protagonist was female (like most of the series in that category these days), I'd feel more guilt -- but Harry Dresden is very much like the Chandleresque PIs of all the mystery novels I used to devour, so these books fall in line with all the Lawrence Block and James Lee Burke novels on my shelves.

This is book #8, and it stands pretty well on its own, if anyone wanted to start the series here. (Though they're all in print, so starting at the beginning, with Storm Front, is a better idea and just as easy.) Butcher has a story that's continuing through multiple books while still having each book tell a complete story -- something he (and his urban fantasy compatriots) have picked up from the mystery world, and I wish that they could teach the epic fantasy crowd. (That's not entirely fair -- some epic fantasists do tell complete stories in one volume, and, on the other hand, epic fantasies is usually structured deliberately not to be complete in one volume. So it's a feature, in a way.)

Butcher does still use the sentence, "If I don't {foo}, then people will get hurt" far too often for my liking -- I tend to think "hurt" severely understates the various kinds of potential magical apocalypse flying around in these books -- but I do accept that I'm oversensitive on this point. Otherwise, this is a great series, and I'm hoping to get to the next book (the upcoming one) over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

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1 comment:

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I need to start reading these with the tv show beginning this winter.

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