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Transplanted to Miami, FL, from Iowa City, IA. Trying to find a balance between reading, knitting, playing mom taxi, and enjoying the sun and sand in Miami.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Dresden Files books 8 - 12 and Side Jobs

Happy Holidays!
I got caught up reading more of the Dresden Files books. I read the remaining ones in the series back to back, including Side Jobs, the short story collection. So, let me see, I read Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Turn Coat, and Changes. I don’t think I’m going to go into very much depth about each book, but I’ll talk about the second half of this series as a whole. Really, Dresden Files is a fairly epic story. Even from the first book (Storm Front) it appears that things have been more than they appeared. It seems there is an underlying dark force, Harry Dresden has termed it the Black Council that may be behind the increase in craziness that has been causing Harry grief all this time. 
Proven Guilty has Harry facing off against movie monsters. There is a scary movie festival in town, but the monsters from the screen seem to be coming to life, and the death toll of real people is piling up. 
White Night pits Harry against someone who is kidnapping and killing magic practitioners, but only those who aren’t strong enough to be part of the White Council. There is no advocate for them, until Harry gets involved. Of course, Harry can never just have one problem at a time, so things get dicey when Harry gets involved with the White Court vampires. 
Small Favor has Harry doing another favor for Mab, Faery Queen of the Winter Court. I know, there are a lot of courts and councils. Any favor for Mab can never be as simple as it seems, and this is no exception. Harry faces off against the billy goats Gruff, and has to deal with John Marcone, again. 
Turn Coat forces Harry to try to protect Warden Morgan, the guy who has wanted him dead since he turned sixteen. Not only does Harry have to protect him, but he has to prove him innocent of wrongdoing. Harry has a strong sense of justice and it is severely tested in this book. There appears to be a traitor in the White Council, and he or she seems to be very highly placed.
Changes. I don’t even know what to say about this one. This one is so amazing, and starts with such a jaw dropping surprise, that I hate to say anything, except that the title says it all. The series will never be the same after this latest installment. 
Side Jobs is a collection of short stories, most of them have been published in other anthologies alongside stories by other authors. This collects them all into one place. They tend to not be quite so solve this case, save the world as the novels. But they are fun to read. One story is told from Thomas’ point of view, which is a fun twist. One is told from Karrin Murphy’s point of view, it was fascinating to get more insight into how Murphy ticks. 
I have been fascinated with the way Jim Butcher has unfolded Harry Dresden’s story. The excitement has pretty much built and built with each book. Changes completely blew me away. 
Harry Dresden is such a complex character. He really tries to live by that old credo: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Harry knows he may be easily turned to the dark side, and cookies or not, he really doesn’t want to go there. More and more though, Harry sees the world in shades of grey. 
       Some of the things that happen with the Knights of the Cross in these books are pretty earth-shattering too. Harry gets an apprentice, and maybe a little karmic payback.  Murphy finds herself just as tested as Harry in many of these books. Can the mundane police really be expected to police the supernatural? Can Murphy really keep the city safe by the police force book? 
I think the relationship between Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy is an important part of the series. I like that their relationship is messy and complicated. They are definitely friends, they both see the appeal of being more, but they both have a strong moral compass. Not to mention, sex tends to ruin friendships. On the other hand, I don’t think either Harry or Murphy has another person that they trust as implicitly as they trust each other. Once upon a time Harry promised Murphy that the things he could tell her, he wouldn’t lie about, and he really has stuck with that promise, even though at times that truth has caused both of them a lot of trouble. 
I am completely taken with the Dresden Files and have recommended it to everyone I know who enjoys reading. I like the humor and the action and the characters feel real. Otherwise I wouldn’t be so upset that I didn’t wait until the day before book 13 comes out to read book 12. 
I am going to give Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Turn Coat, Changes, and Side Jobs each 1 bookmark. Jim Butcher is an amazing author, and I can’t wait to read the next one!