Sunday, January 18, 2009


By: Jim Butcher
Illustrated By: Mike Mignola
Hardcover: 72 pages
Publisher: Subterranean
Language: English
October 2008, $19.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Dresden Files

Let's get something clear right up front. I'm not Harry Dresden. Harry's a wizard. A genuine, honest-to-goodness wizard. He's Gandalf on crack and an IV of Red Bull, with a big leather coat and a .44 revolver in his pocket. He'll spit in the eye of gods and demons alike if he thinks it needs to be done, and to hell with the consequences--and yet somehow my little brother manages to remain a decent human being.

I'll be damned if I know how. But then, I'll be damned regardless.

My name is Thomas Raith, and I'm a monster.

So begins "Backup," a twelve thousand word novelette set in Jim Butcher s ultra-popular Dresden Files series. This time Harry's in trouble he knows nothing about, and it's up to his big brother Thomas to track him down and solve those little life-threatening difficulties without his little brother even noticing.


The Dresden series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. They’re fun, snarky and have enough action and mystery to keep me entertained. Plus, how can you not like Harry? When I first heard about Backup I was excited. Not only was about Thomas, Harry’s brother but had illustrations by Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame. How could I be disappointed?

Well, the main questions are: Was it good? And was it worth the money? I would have to say it depends. If you’re a fan of the series, this belongs right there with the rest of your collection. However, it wasn’t one of the best. In fact it felt rushed, the writing wasn’t what I have to expect of Butcher and Thomas sounded far too much like Harry for me.

I love Thomas. He’s a great character and though he shares some similarities with Harry. He is not Harry and the description of the book tells you that. And yet his voice was Harry’s voice. Yes, Thomas is snarky just like Harry is, but it feels different in the Dresden Files. I feel like he is his own little hot snarkfest that can kill you and you will beg for him to do it. But there’s more to him. He may be a killer, but he has levels. He has a vulnerability about him and I never quite saw that. We did learn some new stuff, but not as much as I was expecting. I wanted to know more about the Oblivion War. I wanted to know more about Thomas in general really. I wanted to learn more about him and get a better feeling of him than I already have and know from the Harry books. I know Butcher can do it because I have gotten that from some of the Harry novellas about Harry. In fact I think I got more new perspectives on Harry such as the pokes at Harry being a neat freak or even about Bob than I did Thomas.

I understand why this wasn’t in an anthology due to Mignola’s illustrations which are top notch. And I did like parts of it. It just wasn’t what I expected and not what I hoped it would be. It just needed more depth, more characterization, more….more. If you are new to the series, I wouldn’t recommend starting here as there are far more worthy outings. And yet, as I said, if you are a Dresden fan it is worth the read, but more of a see if you can borrow it from a friend or grab it on loan from the library.

2.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review let me know and I will post it.


Hagelrat said...

I enjoyed it, not as fab as the dresden books themselves, but entertaining and a nice dip into the dresden world.

thebonebreaker said...

This sounds awesome!

I enjoyed the show when it was on Sci-Fi [I don't know what ever happened to it - like most good shows, they simply seem to just fade away]

I think that I definitely need to read the books!