The Dresden Files #1
by Jim Butcher
read by James Marsters
My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Paranormal mystery
Harry Dresden is the only professional wizard available for hire in Chicago and is sometimes called on by the police to help solve crimes where magic is involved. He also takes other cases, and when he’s asked to track down a missing person while also working on a murder case for the local PD, Harry is relieved that he might just be able to pay his rent this month. However, tracking down someone who kills with magic, which is not just illegal but also forbidden in the magical realm, requires more than a little investigating. And the missing person’s case turns out to be more involved than he’d thought or hoped, too. Suddenly, Harry has a lot more to be worried about than whether or not he’ll be evicted.
I am so glad I finally decided to give this book series a chance. I enjoyed so much about it and was interested from start to finish. The author drops the reader right into the middle of this magical world, which feels very real, due to the way Butcher mostly explains some of the magical mechanics almost off-handedly, rather than as a big info dump. It almost felt like I’d jumped into the middle of an ongoing series, even though this is book #1, but not in a bad way that made me feel like I was struggling to understand. I did have some confusion early on, but not enough to lessen my enjoyment.
The mystery/detective side of the story was interesting in its own right, but add in the vampires, fairies, and demons, and it was more of a thrill ride. I also really appreciated the wit throughout the story, which I picked up on in the first few chapters. And I have a feeling that Bob could become a favorite of mine.
I knew what I was getting into, as far as content goes, but for anyone who doesn’t really know—there is quite a bit of sexual content, though nothing gratuitous. Even when Dresden spends a decent stretch of time naked, the reader isn’t reminded of it constantly, and in fact, I forgot a few times that he was naked. There’s also some language, but not actually as much as I anticipated. And there’s certainly some violence, but again, it’s not gratuitous. All of these content issues together aren’t enough to discourage me from continuing the series (and my tolerance is fairly low, especially compared to the average reader).
I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Marsters, which I’ll admit went a long way to pushing me to finally start this series. I highly recommend the book in general, and his narration specifically. If you’re a fan of mystery and detective noir novels, and enjoy or at least can tolerate the addition of supernatural elements (and the content warning I gave), you should give this book a read.
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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!