Thursday, November 18, 2010

Side Jobs - Jim Butcher

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 the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher--a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies 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. 

Title: Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Adult Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Laura from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 5/5

Side Jobs encapsulates the short stories and novellas taken throughout Harry Dresden's career. Most of the short stories have been released in other anthologies, or are available on Butcher's website, however it does include one gem that hasn't been published before. Many fans will jump at the chance to read this new story as it is set a few hours after the finale of Changes. 
I'll break down this review into short segments for each story. 

A Restoration of Faith: This is the first story with Harry, and it is a little rough around the edges, but having read this one, and having read the series throughout, it is nice to see how Butcher's writing has evolved. I quite enjoyed this story, and loved the sneak peek we get of Harry, and Murphy. A Restoration of Faith was previously released on Jim's website

Vignette: This is a short piece that showcases a discussion between Harry and Bob. It takes place between Death Masks and Blood Rites, and was also previously released on Jim's website. It was a quick read. I loved the fact that Bob was showcased in this one. 

Something Borrowed: This one was previously released in the anthology, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding. It takes place between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty. Georgia and Billy  play a central role, however Harry's help is needed when the unexpected happens. It is classic Dresden, and I thoroughly enjoyed the re-read.

It's My Birthday, Too: This story was released in the anthology, Many Bloody Returns. It takes place between White Night and Small Favor. I enjoyed this story as it brought together several of my favourite characters, Harry, Thomas, and Molly, in a birthday celebration that I don't think they'll be forgetting anytime soon. 

Heorot: As with most of the others, this one was included in the anthology, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon. It also takes place between White Night and Small Favor. When fire extinguishers, mead, virgins, and the supernatural collide, you know you are in for a treat. It is interesting to see what dilemma Harry has gotten himself into this time. 

Day Off: Also included in an anthology is this light-hearted story. First published in Blood Lite, and taking place between Small Favor and Turn Coat; hilarity ensues when Harry actually has a day off, and ends up juggling more than his share of work-related chaos. 

Backup: Previously released as a novelette, this story is told from Thomas' perspective. While I enjoy the stories told from Harry's point of view, I do like that Thomas played the lead in this one. We get to see another side to the vampire world, and consequently, Harry. Backup also takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.

The Warrior: This one is my absolute favourite in this anthology. I absolutely love Michael's character, and love reading this story. It was previously published in Mean Streets, and it also takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat. I love the idea of the law of unintended consequences, and really enjoy reading, and re-reading The Warrior. It gives us a few gems of wisdom as well, and is overall, brilliant. 

Last Call: This one was previously published in the anthology Strange Brew. It also, like its predecessors, takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat. Mac returns in this one, and Harry is involved in the case when he realizes that Mac's business has been sabotaged. Full of fun, this is a quick and humorous read. 

Love Hurts: This one is taken from the anthology Songs of Love and Death, and it takes place between Turn Coat and Changes. This may be the only anthology that I don't own from all of those listed. When Harry and Murphy are working on a case where love spells abound, things are bound to get amorous. I mean, it's only a matter of time. A fun, light read that brings about the best of the two as they work together. 

Aftermath: The novella that everyone has been anticipating since the stunning conclusion of Changes. It takes place a few hours after the end of Changes. In an effort not to give anything away, all I'm going to say is that fans of The Dresden Files are going to want to read this original novella. Some questions are answered, but there is still a lot left in the open. It is a bittersweet tale that showcases Butcher's phenomenal talent. 

Overall, I think that this anthology was superb. I know I was ecstatic when I learned that all of Butcher's short stories were going to be published in one anthology. It is definitely a must have for those wanting to round out their collection. With tales ranging from bittersweet to serious, and intense to tongue firmly planted in cheek, there is something for everyone. Butcher shows us exactly why he is a master of the urban fantasy genre. 

1 comment:

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'll have to let my dad know about this one. He loved the first book and I think he'd love a lot of little novellas all together. Nice anthology!