Jim Butcher has created a character absolutely perfect for my generation, having grown up in a time when Harry Potter exploded onto the scene it’s easy to imagine Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden as an adult Potter who works as a P.I using his magic to fight the forces of evil. Well, you would have to replace Weasly and Granger with a sex hungry, possessed talking skull and a belligerent cat.
Harry works from his office offering his service at a price, even a wizard has bills to pay. During one really tough month when business seems slow, two jobs come at once. One is a missing person case and another a more disturbing and sinister crime involving two victims with their hearts blown out. Harry must use his skills as both a P.I and wizard including potions, spells and conjuring in order to solve both cases.
“My head was throbbing, and my hands were shaking, but I went down the ladder to my workroom - and started figuring out how to rip someone's heart out of his chest from fifty miles away.
Who says I never do anything fun on a Friday night?”
Told in the first person narrative of Harry, Butcher incorporates witty humour throughout which creates a delightful read, yet when then need arises and Harry finds himself in a dire situation a more serious tone is undertaken. This gives the reader a fun ride which is also a suspenseful, urban fantasy, crime novel. The hidden paranormal world that resides along our own is given to the reader in small snippets, revealing the paranormal entities and locations slowly. Harry’s tasks take him through both worlds, not only must he question fairies and tussle with vampires and demons he also has to deal with the requests of the Chicago police department and a mob boss.
Throughout the book characters are introduced, but only fleetingly, I have no doubt these characters will be revisited in other novels and it will be nice to learn a little more of these including the paranormal world Butcher has introduced. The main reason for this is the first person narrative, and unless these details are revealed during dialogue it’s hard to gain more of a characters background other than what is known by the narrator. Butcher does overcome this in a way by giving Harry the ability to see a person’s soul when he looks into their eye’s, revealing some of their past and character. I especially liked the relationship between Harry and Murphy and the repartee between the two was entertaining.
This is a fast paced, entertaining and imaginative read. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a compelling character who is hard not to like, a gentleman with a witty humour and an experienced wizard. Someone who is troubled by his past and hounded by the White Council, a kind of supernatural police, for a crime in his past, Harry is always in danger of succumbing to the unimaginable power of dark magic. Chicago’s only openly practicing wizard for hire trying his best, against all odds to protect the weak and ensuring Chicago is a place “where trolls stay the hell under their bridges and where elves don't come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p's and q's.”
It’s easy to see why this is an award winning, bestselling series and it’s also hard to think of why people wouldn’t like this book. I’d recommend this to anyone and I know I’m going to read the rest of the series in quick succession, I’m glad I’ve only just found this series, it means I have 15 more books to go.