Book Log #26: Side Jobs, by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Side Jobs is perhaps not absolutely critical reading for a fan of Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files. Most of the stories herein are ones which were previously published in various other anthologies, with the shining exception of Aftermath, the novella that takes place immediately after the novel Changes–and which was the first thing I’d ever seen Mr. Butcher write from a female point of view, at least in the Dresden Files. For that alone, and for an opportunity to see Murphy react to the way that novel ended, I was myself quite happy to snap this one up.

Fortunately, I hadn’t actually read most of these stories before, so the collection was primarily new to me. And there’s definitely some good stuff in here, taking place over quite a wide range of the Dresden timeline. Aside from Aftermath, my favorites were “Last Call” and “Love Hurts”, just because of fun mileage with McAnally’s, and again with Murphy. I certainly squeed quite a bit for the “Love Hurts” story in particular. I’d already read Warrior from the Mean Streets anthology, but that one’s a good solid story as well. And if you want to go way, way back in Harry’s timeline, “Restoration of Faith” takes place before Storm Front; that one’s available to read for free on Jim’s site, but it was good to see it here, too, and good to see the collection ranging from very early Harry to (as of the time of this collection’s release) current Harry.

Critical? No. But definitely fun, and if you’re like me–a big fan of Jim’s work but not one who normally reads anthologies or collections–you should go ahead and pick this up. But for the love of all that’s holy, do not read Aftermath unless you’ve already read Changes. Because oh my yes the spoilers. Four stars.

Book Log #30: Changes, by Jim Butcher

I am a diehard Dresden Files fan, and with each successive book, I’ve gone in expecting to be thoroughly entertained. This time around I was not.

I was absolutely mindblown.

ETA: Putting a cut tag in here because while I’m not revealing anything that isn’t revealed on Jim’s own site in the blurb for the novel or the preview chapter he posted, if you want to remain absolutely spoiler-free, you’ll want to skip this review post.

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Jim Butcher is a cliffhanger-writing BASTARD

So I just finished ‘s latest Dresden Files novel, Changes, and I have one thing to say: AUGH! *^_^*;;

This here is not a proper review post; it’s a spoiler-laden discussion thread! If you’ve also read the book and you want to talk about it, drop a comment! Gush or wail or both to your heart’s content! And needless to say, if you haven’t read it yet, stay far, far, far away from the comments until you do. You’ll thank us later.

My own reactions behind the cut!

And I totally need to get me a proper book!Harry icon, although tv!Harry will do for this purpose.

Continue reading “Jim Butcher is a cliffhanger-writing BASTARD”

Book Log #34: Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher

It’s official: Jim Butcher is still awesome. There’s very little that I can say about this book quality-wise that I haven’t said about just about all of the previous Dresden Files novels. Which is to say, Turn Coat quite heavily engaged me, and delivered in spades on all of the things I have come to expect in this series.

Plot-wise, I can say that if Jim’s stated plans for the series are holding up, we’re now at about the halfway plot of the overall plot arc–and things happen herein that very much set the stage for the second half of the series. We have some fabulous followup on Harry’s older interactions with a former foil. We have (agonizingly slow and yet absolutely correct) advancement in the relationship between Harry and Murphy. We get a look for the first time at the home base of the wizards of the world, in Edinburgh. A decently scary primary monster sets the bar very high for some creepy forefront action, while behind the scenes players maneuver events into the exact proper way to make life very, very, very difficult for Harry for several more books. The ending in particular is wrenching, and definitely takes things in a darker direction, which seems appropriate given how the stakes of the overall plot arc have now been raised.

All in all a mighty fine read, and I’ll knock off a star only because one of the bad guys was a little too obvious. Four stars.

Book Log #33: Mean Streets, by Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, Simon Green, and Thomas Sniegoski

If you’re an urban fantasy fan, you’ll want to put serious consideration into checking out the anthology Mean Streets, which brings four stories to the table, two of which are heavy hitters long familiar to my recent book buying habits.

Harry Dresden fans will first and foremost want to check out Jim Butcher’s contribution, “Warrior”–as long as you’re up to date on the series. This story is set between the novels Small Favor and Turn Coat, and there are definite spoilers for the former. Still, it’s a solid, compact Dresden adventure, distilled down to the essence of awesome that is Jim Butcher. All the involved characters are note-perfect, and in fact, the only complaint I have about the story is the lack of Murphy.

Kat Richardson’s story “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” is also excellent. No real spoilers for the Greywalker series, since Richardon’s heroine Harper Blaine is taken out of her usual locale and goes all the way down to Mexico to carry out the last wishes of a client. There’s a lot of nifty, spooky Day of the Dead mileage in this, so if that particular holiday is your thing, you’ll go for this.

Simon Green’s “The Difference a Day Makes” was harder for me to get into. I’m not familiar with the Nightside novels, so I didn’t have the advantage of familiarity to ground me with the protagonist, and that lack of context kept bumping up against said protagonist’s penchant for telling the reader in great detail about how Weird and Badassed the Nightside is. He’s even called on it by another character, and yet, he keeps doing it. Sorry, Mr. Green; I have to agree with your other character. ;) Plus, the OHNOEZ Big Reveal at the end of the story fell kind of flat for me. I’ll admit though that Mr. Green does have a vivid way with a description, so other readers may find this story works better for them.

Thomas Sniegoski’s “Noah’s Orphans” intrigued me, though. Again, I’m not familiar with the novels this story comes out of, but the concept of an angel who’s been masquerading as a private detective caught my interest, and Sniegoski does good things with utilizing Biblical mythos in setting up this story. Remy Chandler, a.k.a. the angel Remiel, is a poignant character as well in his struggle to cling to humanity he’s learned from a loved one he’s lost. I may have to go check out the Remiel books just to learn more about him–which, I daresay, makes this story a win.

All in all this is a solid volume and worth checking out. Four stars.