Book – Grave Peril
Author – Jim Butcher
Year – 2001
Genre – Fantasy Detective
The Jim Butcher Dresden Files series is becoming a little bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I am not one hundred percent certain of its relative artistic merit compared to, say, Dickens, Austen or even modern writers such as King or McEwan, but they are so enjoyable, that it is difficult to say anything bad about them.
The basic premise is that Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire in modern day Chicago. Unfortunatley, most people don’t believe in magic, despite the number of warewolves, vampires and demons that are running amuck. In this, the third book in the series, Dresden must face two of the above three, and as ever, things do not run particularly smoothly.
One reason that the books are so good is the amazing characterisaton of our lead. Dresden is a true good guy through and through – chivalrous, intelligent, and always does the right thing. However, he is also moody, swears a lot and is constantly depressed about the fact that he knows he is going to help everyone as much as he can, even if it means his almost certain death. The line that summed it up best for me was “I thought that my neck must have broken. Then, in the corner of my vision, I saw my fingers twitch, and thought with a flash of depression, that I wasn’t out of the fight yet”.
The Dresden Files may not be quite for everyone, but if you like your fantasy novels with a modern and comical twist without them becoming cartoony, then this is the place to go.