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Old 09-06-2011, 05:36 PM
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Default I put on my robe and wizard hat: A Dresden Files thread

I started reading the series this summer and have been devouring it ever since. Well, technically, I started it last fall, but that was with Full Moon and it took me until this summer to actually give it another shot. In any case, I liked it enough to promptly go out and buy the next half-dozen books.

And going by the Watchcha Reading thread, I'm not the only one who has realized that the series is pretty fun. So why NOT make a thread dedicated to it?

I just started Proven Guilty and it has Micheal again! Which automatically makes it one of my favorite books in the series.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:44 PM
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I just started Proven Guilty and it has Micheal again! Which automatically makes it one of my favorite books in the series.
Any book with any of the Knights is a good one. I'm have a copy of Changes that I still need to read, and I need to pick up Ghost Story. Though, I'm torn between rereading the series (it's been a while), or just jumping right into Changes.

Are the short stories worth seeking out? I wouldn't mind picking them up, but I don't want to buy a book of short stories, when it's just one or two that I want to read (see also Martin's Dunk and Egg stories).

Also the pen and paper RPG is good stuff, the system looks fun, and it manages to ooze a lot of the flavor of the books (Harry's and Bob's footnotes are great).
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:04 PM
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Didn't Penny Arcade say that Dresden Files was the Ctrl+Alt+Del of urban wizard books a few years ago? Something like that? There was magical furniture in their parody?

Ham hands?
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:08 PM
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Its a series where the climax of one of the books involves a polka-powered zombie-tyrannosaur fighting a necromancers army of indian warriors.

Make of that as you will, Mr. Loki.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:23 PM
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I wouldn't say the Dresden Files are as bad in its medium as CAD is. Dresden is, at least, an enjoyable protagonist to read and the books are fun. Not necessarily intelligent fiction, but fun. And, from what I've read of the author, he's nothing like the utter douchenozzle that B^Uckley is.

If you're going to pick the series up, though, be forewarned that the second book, Fool Moon, will do everything in its power to drive you from the series. The third book also has a few headslapping moments (or, rather what I took from it, a character that I had liked making a few monumentally stupid decisions which pave the way for angst later on). Gets much better after that, though.

The books are kinda pulpy. They're short, easy to digest, and there's quite a few of them by now.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:26 PM
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The second half of Grave Peril was kind of head-slapping, sure, but all the things with the Nightmare were great.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:36 PM
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Didn't Penny Arcade say that Dresden Files was the Ctrl+Alt+Del of urban wizard books a few years ago? Something like that? There was magical furniture in their parody?
Nah. They're a lot of fun, and the author is fully aware of what he's making them. The characters are great, and the moments are fantastic (if you check out some of the spoilers you may happen upon a brief description of one especially awesome one). The author's writing improves considerably, too.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:11 PM
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If you're going to pick the series up, though, be forewarned that the second book, Fool Moon, will do everything in its power to drive you from the series.
How so? I don't remember anything terribly crazy.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:17 PM
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Any book with any of the Knights is a good one. I'm have a copy of Changes that I still need to read, and I need to pick up Ghost Story. Though, I'm torn between rereading the series (it's been a while), or just jumping right into Changes.

Are the short stories worth seeking out? I wouldn't mind picking them up, but I don't want to buy a book of short stories, when it's just one or two that I want to read (see also Martin's Dunk and Egg stories).
If you're going to do a refresher run on the series, I'd say go Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rights, Dead Beat, then Small Favor and maybe Turn Coat. Those will get you through most of the major plot points.

Short story wise, Side Jobs isn't bad, but you may want to save for after Changes since the last story in it, "Aftermath", deals with the, well, aftermath of Changes. It's mostly good, the novella with Thomas and the stories "The Warrior" "Day Off" are the top picks from it.

There's a couple of stories that didn't make it in time to be in SJ, Even Hand, which is a story from Marcone's POV, and Curses, where Harry is hired to stop the most famous curse in Chicago. Both of those are pretty good.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:19 AM
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How so? I don't remember anything terribly crazy.
Crazy, no, just terrible.

As I said in the other thread, it kind of comes across like Jim Butcher wanted to do a werewolf story, but couldn't think of anything good, so he just gave up and ended up throwing in more and more werewolves.
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  #11  
Old 09-07-2011, 04:20 AM
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How so? I don't remember anything terribly crazy.
Mostly the sheer number of red herrings, from what I remember. You probably could've cut nearly half of the book out entirely and had a much shorter, and even more interesting, story.

Like Octo said, MORE werewolves! MORE OF THEM!
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:26 AM
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I can't really blame them (and I do mean them -- the extent of the summarizing is almost certainly publisher/editor driven) for that; with a series this long but still this popular, there's little option but to make it so the acquisition chute can start anywhere.

I have a different perspective on Fool Moon. I think Butcher wanted to introduce a particular group of werewolves into the long term story, and was having a hard time figuring out how to do it in a way he liked, and Fool Moon is the result.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:56 PM
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Someone should run the Dresden Files RPG...
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:01 PM
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Someone should run the Dresden Files RPG...
Man, I want to one of these days, but getting past all of the FATE jargon is such a pain for me. Maybe I'll give it a shot later this year...
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:38 PM
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Someone should run the Dresden Files RPG...
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Man, I want to one of these days, but getting past all of the FATE jargon is such a pain for me. Maybe I'll give it a shot later this year...
I've actually just come off a year-long campaign of it. The system's pretty solid as moderately-trad-RPG systems go, but I made a couple of big mistakes in campaign construction that bit me in the ass as it came to a close. Specifically, I didn't give the PCs a clear reason for working together or a clear goal to pursue right from square one, and I wasn't nearly careful enough about policing concepts or skill lists for playability.

Plus, the game was cursed. Even on an alternating-weeks schedule, we had real trouble getting two games in a row.

As for the Dresden Files books themselves, they're not my favorites in the world, but I'll rabidly defend them against any accusations that they have anything in common with CAD. CAD is a steaming turd of utter failure of vision and execution. Dresden Files is merely brainless, pulpy urban-magic-fantasy fun times.

Just skip Fool Moon. You'll thank yourself later.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:56 PM
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I'm trying to remember why everyone doesn't like Fool Moon. Then I recalled how annoying/dumb Connie/everyone was in the book. Oh yeah.

Also I don't get the CAD comparisons.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:15 PM
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Man, I want to one of these days, but getting past all of the FATE jargon is such a pain for me. Maybe I'll give it a shot later this year...
That's my main problem.

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I'm trying to remember why everyone doesn't like Fool Moon. Then I recalled how annoying/dumb Connie/everyone was in the book.
I just read the book and I have no clue who Connie is.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:44 PM
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I just read the book and I have no clue who Connie is.
Murphy. I could've sworn her name was changed to Connie in both the TV series and the books because her original name Karen was too similar to a real police woman with that name in the Chicago Police Department but Wikipedia tells me it was only changed in the TV show so maybe her name was changed back in the books and I can't find my copy of which book I thought her name was changed. *shrugs*
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:18 PM
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Ctrl+Alt+Del of urban wizard books
pretty much!
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:58 AM
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Murphy. I could've sworn her name was changed to Connie in both the TV series and the books because her original name Karen was too similar to a real police woman with that name in the Chicago Police Department but Wikipedia tells me it was only changed in the TV show so maybe her name was changed back in the books and I can't find my copy of which book I thought her name was changed. *shrugs*
It was only in the TV show (which, I've heard, is awful), it was never changed in the books.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:51 AM
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Someone sell me on this thing in a non-spoilery way.
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Old 09-08-2011, 05:48 AM
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Someone sell me on this thing in a non-spoilery way.
Supernatural pulp-detective series with an immensely likeable narrator and supporting cast.
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:22 AM
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I've only read the first few chapters of the first Dresden Files book in a bookstore. I put it down because I found it repellent: it just seemed super misogynistic to me. I've seen other people on the internet say that, too. Was I imagining things? Does it get better?
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Old 09-08-2011, 10:39 AM
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I've only read the first few chapters of the first Dresden Files book in a bookstore. I put it down because I found it repellent: it just seemed super misogynistic to me. I've seen other people on the internet say that, too. Was I imagining things? Does it get better?
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He doesn't understand girls. He acts like a deferential and gesturally-prone gentlemen toward them, but within about 25 pages, he opines about how "witches" are capable of being more evil, emotional and damaging than wizards. It's exactly the sort of paternalistic misogyny that extenuates from a mind unable to cope with human beings possessing different agendas — one that thus assigns them a courtly role, whereupon they can be incorporated within a ritualized context that precludes their being people and instead makes them moveable pieces within a graphical human framework. Men are, like, Y, but women... they're the X factor. And bitchy.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:05 AM
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I've only read the first few chapters of the first Dresden Files book in a bookstore. I put it down because I found it repellent: it just seemed super misogynistic to me. I've seen other people on the internet say that, too. Was I imagining things? Does it get better?
The first two books? Very much so, though it's hard to tell if it's an author or a PoV character thing.

The third one swings the verdict heavily towards "PoV character thing", by making a central plot point out of the fact that Harry's "chivalry" and old-fashioned sexism gets women hurt. In this particular case, his refusal to listen to Susan and share information with her that, had he listened to her, he would know was vital to her survival results in her getting kidnapped, tortured and turned into a Red Court Vampire. It was an evil plot by the crazy vampire lady, but it was still an evil plot that exploited Harry's old-fashioned sexism. I've not read past that, but the summaries I've seen of the later books seem to indicate that this progression continues.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:08 AM
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The first two books? Very much so, though it's hard to tell if it's an author or a PoV character thing.

The third one swings the verdict heavily towards "PoV character thing", by making a central plot point out of the fact that Harry's "chivalry" and old-fashioned sexism gets women hurt. In this particular case, his refusal to listen to Susan and share information with her that, had he listened to her, he would know was vital to her survival results in her getting kidnapped, tortured and turned into a Red Court Vampire. It was an evil plot by the crazy vampire lady, but it was still an evil plot that exploited Harry's old-fashioned sexism. I've not read past that, but the summaries I've seen of the later books seem to indicate that this progression continues.
See, this right here is why I asked. this makes me more interested in checking these out from the library - thanks, Egarwaen! (though I might just start with the third book.)
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:29 AM
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Starting with the third book is The Best idea, overall I think. The general consensus so far is that the first book is 'eh' and the second is 'arghblarghblearghble'.

I don't really think that article makes a case for the series being as bad as CAD, Zodar. The writer of the article doesn't like the series, fair enough. But I was turned off from it when the first thing the writer does is try to present Butcher as a douchebag, and totally ignores one of the last lines of his quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Butcher
I wrote it to prove how much my writing teacher didn't know and learned a valuable lesson about humility as a result.
But I guess if he bolded THAT line it would've went against the tone of his rant. Oh well!

Yes Dresden is a Mary Sue, yes the series has spotty writing, yes it has a pretty bad start, but I still find it fun. I can still enjoy stuff like Dresden AND stuff like ASOIAF without really having to justify it.

But it's not CAD-bad. Let me know when Butcher starts using miscarriages for cheap drama, banning members on a forum for pointing out stuff he doesn't like, editing his wikipedia page to remove criticism, and shows his dong to an underage girl. (Well, to be fair, that one's alleged)
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:54 AM
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See, this right here is why I asked. this makes me more interested in checking these out from the library - thanks, Egarwaen! (though I might just start with the third book.)
Yeah, check out the third book. If it doesn't float your boat, skip the rest of the series.

And yeah, that article Zodar linked to... Goes on for a long time, but doesn't really say much of anything. It's a bunch of out-of-context quotes, literary criticism "Oh, I don't know why these people like fantasy fiction, isn't it so dreadful?" burbling, and general trolling and asshattery. Butcher's writing is workmanlike and unexceptional, and his books (save the first two) are enjoyable regardless. If we're going to continue abusing the food analogy, he's the middle-of-the-road locally-run grill to modern literature's Olive Garden.

Last edited by Egarwaen; 09-08-2011 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 09-08-2011, 12:28 PM
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The third book's a real downer though. The rest of the books are not that dark and depressing but it's also the first time we see Dresden get really hurt. It's also the kick off to the "main conflict" that has been a driving impetus of the plot so far.
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:04 PM
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See, this right here is why I asked. this makes me more interested in checking these out from the library - thanks, Egarwaen! (though I might just start with the third book.)
Definitely. By the middle to end of the series so far, I read many parts of them as strongly pro feminist.
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