Let me tell you, hypothetical cave person, about the Dresden Files. The Dresden Files is a series of books following the adventures of Harry Dresden, professional wizard and private investigator. He solves crime and wrangles monsters.
It is awesome.
OK, the first couple of books were decent, but not brilliant. They had a simple structure circling around the central case Dresden was on, and not much beyond that. From the third one though, it started growing into something more. The greater hidden world of wizards and faeries and monsters became more defined and arcs began to develop that spanned several books, like the war between the wizards and the vampires. There were still individual cases for each book, but they all began to tie together, as the contours of a magical conspiracy began to emerge. I can’t say too much on the subject, for fear of spoiling, but the story that runs across the whole series is shaping up to be really, really good.
I really enjoy the blend of hard-boiled detective story and fantasy. I have this idea that I don’t really like detective fiction, but since I did enjoy this, and also love the Watch books in Discworld, perhaps I ought to try some plain vanilla detective fiction to see if I’m wrong. Even so, though, it is the fantasy elements that I think really shine. The secret wizard society (which really does in no way resemble the one found in Harry Potter), the vampire courts, and the faeries. The depiction of faeries and their society in particular is inspired.
Harry Dresden himself is also a really good character, the kind of stubborn idiot who insists on doing the right thing, at times from sheer bloody-mindedness, for fear of what he might end up doing if he did not. It echoes the same conflict in Vimes of Discworld, but is handled differently enough that I only thought of the parallel now, while writing that sentence. I really enjoy reading about him, and hope there will be many more books before the climactic showdown. Yeah, it’s a series so good, I don’t want it to end.
Some of the books I listened to as audiobooks; these were very well done, with James Marsters nailing the voice of Dresden and his world.
I watched a few episodes of the TV adaptation once I was a few books into the series, but I found that disappointing. They had made many changes which seemed quite nonsensical – changing up the best part of the universe, the magical society. The White Council of wizards had become the High Council of vague authority over everything, it was just weird. And a real shame, I think this could have made for a great series.
What am I saying, it has made for a great series – of books! Go read them!