Mapping the Terrain of Used and Rare Books
Stolen Holy Relics, Knights of the Cross wielding Russian sub-machine-guns, duals with Vampire Warlords, unlikely alliances, ancient demons stronger than anything Harry Dresden has yet seen… Just another romp around Jim Butcher’s Chicago…
In my review of the last book – “Summer Knight” – I expressed concern that the series might be on the track to getting stale and formulaic. I was wrong. And I was right. Let me use a metaphor. I worked as a cook for five or six years; I worked in some very good kitchens. The Chef would always stress consistency, consistency, consistency…. That’s why the customers kept coming back – because they liked what we served. If one of us got cocky or lazy and changed up a dish, served it to someone who has been coming to the establishment for years ordering the same meal, and he got a plate that looked and tasted totally different, we risk the chance of loosing a long-time patron. But consistency does not mean complacency or sloth, just the opposite. Each dish had to be carefully prepared and plated with love, care, and attention – It had to be top quality each and every time.
That’s how I feel – after reading “Death Masks” – about the Dresden Files series so far. We expect intrigue, action, humour, romance, and some unexpected surprises. We expect Big Baddies and the Good Guys attempting to defeat them under near impossible odds. We expect to be entertained. And Jim Butcher entertains. He damn well entertains. So when you pick up the next Harry Dresden Book you know you will be entertained, it’s a sure-fire thing – it keeps you coming back for more. If the next book were 250 pages of Harry reading sonnets about horses at an old-folks home would you say “Yeah! Butcher is finally switching things up!”, or would you say “Is this a joke? I’m done with this shit.”
So, in conclusion, there is a sort of formula to the Dresden books, but they are not formulaic. The formula keeps us coming back for more excitement, but what kind of excitement? Each novel reveals more clues into the various mysteries of Mr. Butcher’s universe, develops old characters and introduces new ones.
I for one am coming back for more.