Friday, September 2, 2011

Side Jobs

Side Jobs

Written by: Jim Butcher
Hardcover: 432pages
Publisher: Roc Hardcover
Language: English
October 2010, $25.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/The Harry Dresden Series

As Chicago's only professional wizard, Harry Dresden has had cases that have pitted him against insane necromancers, power-hungry faerie queens, enigmatic dark wizards, fallen angels—pretty much a "who's who" of hell and beyond—with the stakes in each case ranging from a lone human soul to the entire human race.

But not every adventure Harry Dresden undertakes is an epic tale of life and death in a world on the edge of annihilation.

Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher—a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre ofa llies managed to close in record time. With tales ranging from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious—including an all-new never-before-published story—this is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan.


So I have a problem for falling for fictional characters. It started with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, has continued with numerous great characters. Surprisingly enough I was and still occasionally am quite shy. I remember sitting outside with a book when I was a kid wanting to be part of Nancy Drew’s little circle of friends so I could help her fight crime and solve mysteries. I wanted to be a member of the Babysitter’s Club, fall in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy and explore Middle Earth. Oh and the characters. Sometimes I want to be their friends, or have them fall madly in love with me. Other times I want to live in their worlds or just be able to say ‘hey, I know that guy’. I kind of want all of the above with Harry Dresden. I first began reading Harry after James Marsters did the audiobooks. So of course bonus there. But I fell in love with the books. Here was Harry, reluctant hero, snarky little bad ass that quite frequently got his ass handed to him. He had a great cat, a dog I could possibly ride like a small horse but whom I would lavish tons of affection on, and was just plain cool. He had flaws (you know like starting a war with some vampires), and an inner monologue that quite frequently sounded like my own sometimes. Plus he was tall. I like tall men. It means I can still wear high heels. *smile* And did I mention the snark. Harry has it in spades. Which of course in my head equals sexy along with his self-deprecating humor.

Jim Butcher created an amazing character and an amazing world in his Dresden series. And then of course he pulled a Joss Whedon on me and pulled the rug right from under me leaving me crying with his last book. I know that sometimes a series can go on forever even past its prime, but I have not felt that way about Harry. I could read about him for quite some time. I worry that this is the end. And am petrified to pick up Ghost Story. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want the magic to end. Which is why like Phoebe from Friends have put the latest novel in my freezer so nothing can change (well not literally, but you get the point and those of you who have seen that particular Friends episode just smiled).

In an attempt to go back to the good old days, I finally decided to pick up Side Jobs which had the ‘Aftermath’ story that takes place a few hours after Changes ends. Thank goodness it was the last story of the book. I was worried. I kept avoiding the back of the book. It scared me. I will admit this is silly. Couldn’t help it. And then I started reading about Old Harry, long before his hand was scarred or he had an apprentice, and definitely before things changed. It was awesome. Still don’t know if I have the courage to read the latest, but somehow I have faith in Mr. Butcher. Gotta have faith, right?

Side Jobs is a collection of the many short stories involving Harry and his brother and even Murphy. I have read a few of them as I have a soft spot of Anthologies and there have been Harry stories in things like Blood Lite, Strange Brew, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding and more. I own a lot of them, but I am a completest when I love something, plus all of my other Harry books are Hardcover, so now this can go right next to them. There are some new ones as well that I have not read, plus the aforementioned aftermath story that is from Susan Murphy’s perspective. We have Harry before he became the wizard we all know and love, we have Harry trying to have a day off and really not succeeding and we even have a view of Harry from Thomas’s perspective.

Things I loved: I really do love Harry and I love little Anthologies/Collections especially when they involve Harry. I absolutely lobed the little notes from Butcher that tell how the story came to pass, any little tidbits, where it falls in reference to the rest of the Harry Dresden universe and more.

I love that I haven’t got bored with Harry. Even after a decade and more of books, Harry is still Harry. He’s been through a hell of a lot, but at the core he has still held onto his ideals and his morality. He is a good guy, sometimes to a fault, and even a bit chaotic good when I think about it but you love him. You can’t help it. Things have changed, but he really hasn’t which is evident from even the first Dresden story (unlike other fictional characters…cough, cough Anita Blake…cough cough who is now a supernatural porn star rather than snarky necromancer I loved).

Things I didn't love so much: I will say that normally short story collections are a good way to introduce yourself to a particular character or world. However, new fans would be pretty lost despite the chronological order of things. But true blue Harry fans such as myself will be quite pleased.

There are weak stories in this collection, which Butcher admits to, such as “Restoration of Faith” where Harry isn’t even really Harry yet. The writing is a bit poor. So it is wonderful to see how far Mr. Butcher has come not only with Harry Dresden but as an author.

Buy or Borrow: Buy if you are a Dresden completest such as myself. Borrow if you have already collected all of the other already published stories and don’t feel the need to make all the series on your shelf all hardcover or paperback.

Part of: A series.
Book One: Storm Front
Book Two: Fool Moon
Book Three: Grave Peril
Book Four: Summer Knight
Book FIve: Death Masks
Book Six: Blood Rites
Book Seven: Dead Beat
Book Eight: Proven Guilty
Book Nine: White Knight
Book Ten: Small Favor
Book Eleven: Turn Coat
Book Twelve: Changes
Book Thirteen: Ghost Story

Also Recommended: Tales from the NIghtside by Simon R Green, The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, and the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey.

3.50 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

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