I was recommended a book (series actually). And as you may remember I don’t typically read the books someone recommends. Part of the reason is an irrational fear that if my assessment differs from theirs they will be offended, the other part being I just like to find my own stuff. I broke my own rule this time for 2 reasons: #1 is that the person recommending it was SO passionate about how great it is, and told me enough to get me really interested without giving away any of the plot. #2 is that the person recommending them has such similar tastes to me that I genuinely felt that this must be great.
I was not disappointed. Storm Front (Book 1 of the Dresden Files) was incredibly interesting, and I absolutely loved the humor (which is one of the reasons it was recommended to me). On Tuesday I picked the book up at my local library… a place I haven’t been inside since I bought my Kindle (I was interested, but not committed enough to spend $10 on a recommended e-book... instead I had to spend $5 in fines on books my kids turned in late last summer *sigh*). Throughout the week I read it in spurts (5 minutes while waiting for the water to boil, 10 minutes in the car-line at school, etc). Friday evening at about 11pm I picked it up after the kids went to bed. I was about halfway done at that point; at 12:27am I closed the book. Finished. Once I really got into it there was no way I was going to be reasonable and put it down.
The tone of the book was very reminiscent of the old gunslinger westerns I used to watch on TV as a kid. You know the ones: The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Alias Smith and Jones. But in plot it reminded me more of the old black and white detective movies I watch with my mom. I kinda see Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden as mix between Lucas McCain and Sam Spade.
Dresden was supposedly named after 3 famous magicians: Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone, and David Copperfield. I must admit that the thought did cross my mind that since this book was published in 2000, just 2 years after the Battle of Hogwarts: what if “19 Years Later” never happened and instead Harry came to America, changed his last name and lied about his age? I mean, same first name is a bit suspicious. And there have been numerous people unhappy with the concluding chapter of the Harry Potter series. But honestly if you think along those routes there are a lot of things that don’t fit. Maybe Harry is just the name given to many wizards or magicians: Still… something to ponder.
I guess my one complaint about the book is that it takes all the romance out of the paranormal. And by romance I don’t mean a feeling of attraction to the opposite sex; I mean an air of mystery to a world that doesn’t exist. That is often why I read paranormal: the romantic side of me likes the mysterious, anything can happen idea. The very practical, Sam Spade side of Harry Dresden kills that completely. Wizards are very practical after all.
I could also argue that if there was controversy over Potter teaching about witchcraft there should be way more here (except that these are most definitely NOT children’s books). There are many lines of thought and assumptions that come straight from Wicca. (I knew a witch in college but she never told me anything about her beliefs... mostly what was in the books was the same stuff I’ve gleaned from the internet and movies.) Still, there is enough fantasy to disregard that aspect and treat it as pure fiction so I wouldn’t really throw it out just for that.
I’m not planning on going out and reading all the Dresden Files in a row, but I’m sure I’ll pick them back up again. Just not until I’ve had my fill of the romantic sensibilities that I love first.