Review of SIDE JOBS by Jim Butcher
STORIES FROM THE DRESDEN FILES
Roc, October 2010
Wizard Harry Dresden confronts various monsters, rescues children, trains his apprentice, and tries to make a little bit of a difference in a world where evil cannot be defeated, but where--sometimes--what one man does can save a child or a honeymoon.
SIDE JOBS is a collection of short stories written by Jim Butcher (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Butcher) and set in the Dresden Files universe. Butcher is an excellent author, and the stories are, for the most part, well constructed and engaging. It was interesting to see the first Harry Dresden story, "A Restoration of Faith." Already, Dresden's complex and self-absorbed character is largely developed. Many of the other stories are light-weight, as Butcher combined his Dresden Files characters with the needs of a variety of fantasy anthologies in which they originally appeared. I enjoyed seeing the ever-intriguing character of Gard fighting alongside Dresden in "Heorot" (inspired by that high-school standby Beowulf), Dresden's half-brother Thomas got the protagonist role in "Backup," and I especially liked Murphy coping with a world without Dresden in "Aftermath."
For the most part, I think SIDE JOBS will appeal to fans of the Dresden Files series. You'll want to have seen Harry in action in Butcher's Dresden Files novels before grabbing this one. Fans, though, will certainly want to add SIDE JOBS to their reading list. It's solid Jim Butcher writing, plenty of Harry Dresden quips and bad Latin, and an assortment of recurring characters from Harry's world.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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