Being a wizard is all about being prepared. Well, that and magic, obviously.
Generally, when I start a book, my question is: how much am I going to like this? (Occasionally, the question is: I'm not going to hate this, am I?) But there are a few authors that I ask a different question with: How much am I going to love this book? Jim Butcher is probably at the top of the latter list, and the answers are typically: a lot, a considerable amount, and WOW, SO, SO, SO MUCH. I make no bones about it, I don't pretend to be anything like objective. I know he's not everyone's cup of tea, and I'm not looking to convince anyone to give him another shot (but I'm willing to give it a shot if someone wants me to), but for many, many reasons, I'm an unabashed and unashamed Jim Butcher fan and Brief Cases gives several reasons why I continue to be one.
Incidentally, I started this collection assuming the answer would be "a lot." It ended up being on the other end of the spectrum of love. I'll explain that shortly.
This is not a novel (alas!), it's another collection of short stories and novellas, like Side Jobs. It's been awhile since I've read or thought about that collection much, but I believe that this is a stronger batch on the whole. I've only read "Cold Case" from Shadowed Souls before, so this was a lot of new material for me -- and I enjoyed it immensely. It was great spending a few days in the pages and world of probably my favorite ongoing series.
Five of the twelve stories here were told from the point of view of a supporting character in the series. Anastasia Luccio told "A Fistful of Warlocks” about a little adventure she had in Dodge City, which opened the collection on a fun note; we got to know "Gentleman" John Marcone a little better than we wanted to in "Even Hand," (which doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the story). Molly got to shine in "Bombshells" and the aforementioned "Cold Case." And Waldo Butters' opening lines to "Day One" -- the tale of his first adventure as a Knight -- will go down as one of my favorite opening lines of 2018. I really got a kick out of all of these -- "Bombshells" and "Day One" were probably the most effective for me, but I'm not going to complain about any of the rest. Actually, after reading "Day One," I figured I got most of my money's worth just for that one.
Which leaves us with seven others from Harry's perspective -- there are the three Bigfoot stories that were published in various collections and then in Working for Bigfoot. I've been kicking myself for a while for being too budget-conscious to get that collection when it came out, yet unable to bring myself to get the e-book. Thankfully, I have them now -- and they were great. Not worth the $80 that used copies seem to go for now, but still pretty good. I really liked the characters in these stories and would gladly see them again. “Curses,” was a lot of fun; “AAAA Wizardry,” was a good story that I'm glad I read, but I can't say it was great; and “Jury Duty” was okay, but had its moments.
Which leaves us with "Zoo Day" -- the only original piece in this anthology, a novella about Harry taking Maggie and Mouse to the Zoo. And it was great. Just great. I know I've got a healthy dose of recency bias working here, but I think in 5 years if you ask me for my favorite pieces of Butcher writing that it will be in the Top 10 -- maybe Top 5. Watching Harry try to figure out how to be a good dad, while watching Maggie try to not drive him away, while Mouse just wants the two of them to understand each other . . . it just melts your heart. Yes, there's still supernatural and dark things afoot -- many of which we've never encountered before that could really mess things up for all three of these characters (and the rest of the Dresden Files cast, come to think of it) -- and there's at least one scene that creeped me out in a serious way. But mostly? I just loved the characters interacting with each other. My "Day One" affection and excitement remain intact, but they pale compared to what I thought about this novella. My notes (again, recency bias may play a role here) read, "A little slice of perfection. I didn't know a 50 page story could make me so misty-eyed and so happy all on its own." But it did, and I feel the heart-strings being tugged again as I write this.
Simply, this was a joy for me, and I imagine most Dresden Files fans would feel the same way. If you haven't read Jim Butcher's books about a Wizard P.I. yet, and have somehow read this far into the blog post, you really, really should. This collection isn't the place to start -- but it's a great place to hurry up and get to.
Loved it, loved it, loved it.
This is a beautifully written collection of short stories that deals with side issues in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. I don't think there was a weak story in the whole collection. Some stories were more serious than other, but the whole book made for entertaining reading. Some stories are from Harry's perspective, other stories tell of events from another characters perspective, such as Molly's first assignment as Winter Maiden and Butter's first mission as a Knight. Mouse and Harry's daughter get some page time too. This anthology also includes the three BigFoot stories.
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
I had a great time with this book. I knew that this was going to be a book that I would need to read as soon as I saw it. I have been a fan of The Dresden Files for quite some time so spending a bit of time with Harry Dresden and company was something that I was quite eager to do. I went into this book with pretty high expectations simply because I have come to expect great things from this series. I am happy to say that this book met every one of those expectations.
Of the 12 stories included in this collection, 11 have been previously published. I was lucky enough to have missed all but one of the stories so almost everything was new to me. The one story that I had read previously was one that I really enjoyed the first time so I decided to go ahead and read it again and ended up enjoying it just as much the second time around.
I loved how varied and original each of the stories were while giving me the taste of much loved series that I was looking for. Some of the stories feature Harry as the lead character but we do get the chance to see other characters take that role including Molly, Butters, Maggie and Mouse, and Warden Luccio. I loved getting the chance to see these other characters take the lead and enjoyed spending a moment hearing some of their thoughts.
When I pick up a collection of stories, I have discovered that I will probably like some of the stories more than others. I usually come across a few that I don't really care for as well but that didn't happen with this book. I really liked all of the stories pretty equally and can honestly say that every story in the group is solid and if rated individually, I would give them all either 4 or 5 stars.
I would highly recommend this book to others. These stories take place at various spots within the series but I think readers new to the series would appreciate this book. Fans that are up to date with the series will enjoy seeing favorite characters as we remember them. I can't wait to read more from this amazing series!
I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.
I enjoyed this book of stories. Even though most of the stories in this collection have been previously published, I had only read one of them prior to picking up this book. I liked that there was a short introduction from the author before each story to set everything up. It was great to spend some time with Harry, Molly, Butters, Maggie, and the rest of the gang.
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
I liked this book but I didn't love it. I have had a copy of this book for years and finally decided to dust it off and give it a try. There were some things about the book that I really enjoyed and other things that made me question why things happened the way that they did. This was a pretty fast listen for me and I did enjoy the overall story.
I liked the overall premise of the story. Jace is an FBI profiler that is pulled into an alternate reality to help solve a crime. The alternate reality is filled with vampires, shifters, and other interesting beings with humans as a small minority. The paranormal beings in this reality are not prone to mental illness but there is a killer on the loose targeting the paranormal population that happens to be human so Jace has been enlisted to help.
The population of these realities are so different but I was amazed by how much everything looked like our world. Language was mostly the same. Cars developed in the same manner. There were some difference but I really would have thought that there would be a whole lot more since these really were different worlds. According to the story, the worlds became different when guns were invented in our world and not used in theirs. It just seemed strange to me.
I did think that the story was exciting. The murders were quite interesting and I was really interesting in learning who was responsible. There were several surprises along the way that I did not see coming. I liked the characters in the book well enough. Jace was tough and smart but I kept thinking that she adjusted to everything a whole lot faster than could be expected. I really liked Charlie, her golem assistant, and thought that many of the other secondary characters were equally well done.
One of the reasons that I decided to pick up this audiobook was Johanna Parker's narration. I am someone that listens to audiobooks at regular speed and don't like to speed things up. I immediately felt this book was going really fast so I check to see if I had changed a setting on my device since the narrator seemed to be talking really fast. I decreased the speed of the narration and was able to enjoy the story much more from that point forward. I did like the range of voices that she used in this book although I did have a bit of trouble keeping everyone straight for a time.
I would encourage anyone interested in the series to give it a try. I thought that it had a lot of unique points and found it to be rather entertaining. I am not sure if I will continue on with the series at this point but I am glad I gave this one a shot.
I liked this book but I didn't love it. I listen to audiobooks at 1x speed and almost never make any changes. Shortly after starting this book, I had to check to see if I had changed the setting because the narrator was talking so fast. I ended up slowing things down a bit and it worked much better for me after that. I have listened to and enjoyed Johanna Parker quite a bit in the past so that was a bit of a surprise. I did have a bit of trouble keeping track of all of the characters in this book but eventually got things figured out. I thought it was strange that this alternate world that was different in some ways could be so similar in most others. There was quite a bit of excitement and I was really curious about how things would work out. It seemed to me that Jace took the way things ended way too easily which just seemed odd.
Book source: Audible purchase