Dresden Philes

Harry Dresden Wizard from the back cover of Summer Knight

The Dresden Files


The Dresden Files is a series of books, short stories, a graphic novel, and a TV series about Harry Dresden, a wizard living and working in modern Chicago.  The world that the Dresden Files takes place in is very similar to our own, except that magic works.  Even in the books, most people either do not believe in magic or think it is staged, even when presented with proof.

The books are written from a first-person perspective and are a combination of the private investigator and fantasy genres.  Harry Dresden is the main character and it is from his perspective that we see the world.  Harry is a deeply flawed individual who continuously tries to do the right thing, only to have it blow up in his face.  Yet he continues.

What make the Dresden Files great books is the humor, characters, and action.  Despite the main character being a private investigator Jim Butcher does not write mystery well.  Surprises are rare; you will most likely have solved “the mystery” early in the book.  This is not bad.  The books may use conventions from the detective genre, but only as background.  The mystery is not important.  The characters are important.  The way Harry interacts with his friends and enemies is what is important.

Humor abounds in all Dresden Files series.  Even in the most desperate situation, Harry will crack a joke.  His humor, fierce loyalty to his friends, and his perseverance despite bad situations makes Harry one of the most interesting characters in modern fantasy.

The Dresden Files contain nearly continuous action.  Harry gets hurt in every single book (and most of the short stories).  If he were a normal human and not a wizard, he would have died countless times.  Ok, he would have died once, the first time, but the point remains he withstands injuries that would kill most people. 

The battles are often personal, Harry versus one or two creatures or people.  Sometimes he is outnumbered.  Often his friends help, something he does not really like, because he fears being the cause of their pain.  Occasionally there is an epic battle, with multiple participants.  In either case, Jim Butcher describes the battles with care.  There is always magic involved, as such realism is impossible, but Butcher’s descriptions seem realistic.

The Dresden Files are a must read for anyone who enjoys fantasy, especially the modern setting version.  They should also appeal to people who like snarky humor, awesome battles, and deep friendships in their readings.