Thursday, January 03, 2013

Book 43: Side Jobs

This was actually one of the first books I read for Cannonball IV last year.  I'm not really sure why I didn't review it once I was done, other than that maybe I didn't really have too much to say.  Also, I'm not generally big on short stories, but I picked this one up since they were all related to Harry Dresden, so it's not as if I would get interested in a character only to move to another story.  Basically, the stories are a bunch of side adventures and chronicle some of Dresden's smaller cases that couldn't have filled an entire novel.  One thing that I actually quite appreciate about Butcher and the Dresden Files is that it is one of those rares long running series that seems to improve rather than get super formulaic and repetitive.  The novels may all follow a certain formula, it is true, but Butcher still keeps it interesting (although certain cliches and attitudes are starting to get to the point of overuse at 14 books in).  I think part of that is due to the fact that the reader can actually watch Butcher mature as a writer as the series goes.  The first novel was a bit rough for me, and it wasn't until novel three or four that I was really hooked on the series.  Similarly, reading through these short stories reminded me of how much he has grown.  The first story has a similar roughness to the first novel, and the second story included in the book is less of a story and more of an introduction to the series for new readers that he wrote for an advertisement of some sort.  After that, however, the stories start to really take off.
I would basically recommend this to anyone that is a fan of the Dresden series, although I'm sure most of them have already acquired it.  If they are hesitating due to the short story aspect of the collection, it is worth overcoming.  The last piece is written from Murphy's perspective and while I like the idea in theory, I don't feel like her voice is quite what I would have imagined.  Other than that, it was a fun collection.

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