Courtesy of goodreads.comSince I was terribly disappointed in that steampunk book that I reviewed last week, I thought I’d check out something that’s not part of my usual reading repertoire but which one of my all time favorite authors, Jim Butcher, spoke about at a Q&A I went to. That would be Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy.

I got myself a sample from our friendly neighborhood Amazon.com Kindle store and then I immediately bought the trilogy. Not just Mistborn, the first book, but the whole trilogy. It has the feel of a far, far dystopian future mixed with the more traditional swords & steeds fantasy.

The book revolves around two Mistborn skaa called Vin and Kelsier. Mistborn refers to people who have “supernatural” (in quotes because it isn’t really supernatural, but not everyone has these traits) abilities fueled by the burning of ingested metals (pewter for strength, tin for enhanced senses and up to 8 others). Most people only have the ability to burn one metal (pewter burners are call Thugs, tin burners Tineyes) but those who can burn more than one metal are called Mistborn.

These abilities are supposed to be relegated to the nobility, but Vin and Kelsier are, as mentioned skaa. Skaa are peasants. Well, serfs in the old Russian tradition, really. They have no rights, are worked to the bone and the nobles can take advantage of them in any way they wish. Women can be used in the most vile of ways and must be killed afterwards, lest the aforementioned Mistborn abilities get passed on to a bastard.

Not all nobles are as careful as they should be, so there are a whole slew of skaa who can burn one metal, and a few who are Mistborn. Most of these people are thieves and conmen, which sounds like a bad thing until you realize that they target mostly noble houses. And trust me, in this world, that isn’t a bad thing.

Kelsier is our lead Mistborn and he recruits a bunch of single metal burners (I think there’s a term for these folks, but I can’t remember what it is) and Vin to pull a job. They’re going to bring down the Lord Ruler, the despot who have ruled over them for around a thousand years.

This is a long game, a year or more in the making. Kelsier has a definite plan but it’s also clear that he’s keeping a good portion of that from his fellow thieves. Kelsier gets his fellows to quietly raise a skaa army from those who aren’t already beaten into submission from a thousand years of grueling and intensive labor. It’s a small army.

He himself manages to start a war between the noble houses by using his Mistborn abilities to attack them in their keeps. Since only nobles are supposed to be Mistborn, they all think that the others are attacking them. Its almost beautiful how well Kelsier plays them.

While doing that, he trains Vin, who had been a young and female street urchin who was just trying to survive and not be raped. Vin transforms from a suspicious, rather mousy kid to a suspicious, talented Mistborn who can act well enough to infiltrate the nobility as a part of their long term plan.

This book was really, really good. I’m not usually one for the more traditional sort of fantasy. I like my Harry Dresdens and my Jane Yellowrocks with their screw you attitudes, cars and destructive tendencies. 😀 That said, this book was amazing and I will definitely be reading the other two books. I’ll have to take a break in between however because as good as this book is, it is a long and chewy read.

I can’t recommend this enough, especially because I didn’t see the ending a mile away as I tend to do with a lot of books and movies. I like a writer who can keep me guessing, or who can at least write well enough so that if I do see the end coming, I’ll still be happy I read the book.

Sanderson does a great job with the characters, showing them grow and change over the time of the book. His world building could have been a little better, but I think that in the context of the book (meaning the Lord Ruler essentially writing history), it works well. I’ll be interested to see where the next two books go. Rating: A+

The Palace Job

The Palace Job by Patrick WeekesSo I rarely go for straight up fantasy novels. I really prefer urban fantasy as my addiction of choice. I like to see how writers like Jim Butcher, Richard Kadrey and Simon R. Green mix the fantastical with the ‘real’ world. That being said, I really enjoyed this book The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes. It is pretty straight up fantasy but I did question whether it was some really far future, post-apocalypse thing as French was at one point referred to as an ‘old language’. To be fair, French is a fairly old language by even our standards but the way it was referred to in the book made me the old as in a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away rather than Middle Ages sort of old.

At any rate, we start off the book with our main characters Loch and her trusty sidekick Kail (I think that was how it was spelled, though it would be funny if it were spelled like the veggie) locked up in the most impossible to escape prison of the time. Its Alcatraz, you could say. This prison is located directly beneath the floating city of Heaven’s Spire and it is, in fact, the job of the prisoners to clean the crystals that keep the city afloat.

Loch and Kail ended up there for illegally attempting to enter Heaven’s Spire (for a sort of reference, Heaven’s Spire is a bit like Elysium, only the wealthiest get to live there and visiting is damn near impossible). They were set up to get arrested and Loch is only trying to regain something that rightfully belongs to her, an Elven scroll that will allow her and Kail to live comfortably. They had fought in a war (for the winning side) and had been declared killed in action. Rather hard to hold down a job when you’re dead.

Loch plans a brilliant escape with the help of Kail and another inmate. Once that is done, Loch continues to plot the heist she had originally planned on, with new people that she could trust. Of course, being escaped convicts, they do get the law coming down after them. Justicar Pyvic is considered a very neutral and trustworthy Justicar (my take on Justicars is that they’re rather like Judge Dredd, sort of a police/judge rolled into one but I could be wrong). Unfortunately. he has the bungling warden of the prison along for the ride and the man just keeps letting their quarry escape.

There is quite a bit of Simon R. Green-esque dry humor in this book, which I love but there is also just some upfront ‘blue’ language. Kail, in particular, is a fan of the your mom jokes. He knows at least one in every language and absolutely must taunt his opponent with one before engaging. There’s a ‘unicorn’ who continually tries to hook up with virgins (once she’s had them and they’re no longer virgins, she’s no longer interested).  This is like Ocean’s 11 meets fairy tales. It is quite entertaining and there’s another book coming out in a month or two. 🙂 I think this wouldn’t be for everyone, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. Rating: solid B.

Interview with the Vampire

Well why don’t we start with the classics eh? When I was in junior high, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice was made into a movie. I had not read the book at this point but I wanted to see the movie so bad that my folks ended up renting it for me. On VHS. Man I’m old. 🙂 At any rate, I loved it so much that as soon as I finished it, I watched it again. And then I went out and found the book.

Oh man. What a book. This is probably the quintessential modern vampire book. This book has been the jumping off point for so many fans and writers and I’m just one of them. I always thought that the mark of a truly great writer is someone who, when you read their work, can make you picture what’s going on with such clarity that you feel like you are right there alongside their characters. Anne Rice has this gift as well as some of my other favorite authors like Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher and J.K. Rowling.

The first book in a series, Interview with the Vampire focuses on Louis, a Louisiana plantation owner who lost a wife and baby in birth. It starts in modern San Francisco where Louis finders himself followed by a reporter and decides to speak with the boy. Instead of killing him since the boy seemed to notice something unusual about Louis, he decides to give the reporter his rather long life’s story.

We switch from modern era to colonial times. Depressed from the deaths of his wife and child, Louis tries his damnedest to get his himself killed either with drink or another vice that would lead to violence (gambling, prostitution etc). Lestat is the vampire who sees this and decides that he wants this man, this highly emotional man, as a companion through the centuries. Lestat changes him into a vampire. Louis does not deal well with this.

He tries to live his life as he had before but being unable to go out in the sun really puts a damper on things. The slaves become suspicious of the pair of them. Louis does noting to allay their fears and essentially ends up throwing away his life because of what I can only put as survivors’ guilt. He is still alive, will be for centuries, and his beloved wife and child will never have that chance. Seeing that his companion’s self destructive streak is far from over , Lestat essentially tries to bully him into killing humans. Louis has been feeding on animals up to this point. This plan backfires and makes Louis feel even guiltier, especially when he happens upon young Claudia.

Claudia’s mother dies in a plague that sweeps New Orleans. Louis finds Claudia with the body. Lestat comes upon them and fearing that Louis is set to leave him, turns Claudia into a vampire. Into their daughter. Louis is horrified but simply can’t leave Claudia in the hands of Lestat, despite the fact that she is almost a miniature version of him. She takes to killing appallingly easy.

After many years together however, Claudia comes to the realization that she will never be anything physically other than a six year old girl no matter how much she changes mentally. She figures out that Lestat changed her and it makes her mad. Mad enough to kill him. Well, attempt to at any rate. Lestat survives the initial attempt and comes back for revenge. Louis sets light to their apartments and escapes with Claudia. At this point, they believe Lestat to be truly dead. (spoiler: he isn’t)

The twosome travel to Europe looking for more of their kind as they never found them in America. Initially, they are disappointed because they find vampires that are little more than blood drinking zombies. Its in Paris that they find others much more like them, the Theatre de Vampires. These vampires are actors. They pretend to be humans who are pretending to be vampires and feed on humans in live plays. The humans who attend the plays to be frightened and entertained appear to be none the wiser as there are no pitchforks or torches.

The leader of the Theatre des Vampires is a quietly charming, auburn haired vampire named Armand. Armand is also looking for a companion with a bit more depth of character than his coven of actors. He is immediately attracted to Louis (not sexually really but intellectually). Armand is 400 years old and at this point in the series, he is the oldest vampire that Louis and Claudia have ever met.

Claudia, of course, sees that Louis and Armand get along like a house on fire (no pun intended). She believes, like Lestat once did, that Louis will leave her. She wants a companion of her own, someone to care for her, but she is unable to change someone. She’s either too young or too small to do so. So she forces Louis to change a woman she met, Madeleine, who lost a daughter some time ago, which he does under protest.

Here is where the book differs quite a bit from the movie. In the movie, Lestat does not come back at the end of the movie but here, with the Theatre des Vampires. He survived the fire and went to Armand, making accusations against Louis and Claudia. Armand himself doesn’t do anything but the other vampires abduct the newly minted threesome of vampires. They seal Louis in a coffin to starve for centuries and they set Madeleine and Claudia where they cannot escape the sun. Armand releases Louis the day after Claudia and Madeleine die and he is broken.

Louis takes his revenge by killing the Theatre des Vampires. Armand escapes with Louis and they travel for a while but Louis clearly resents him. They drift apart. From then until sometime in the 20th century, Louis survives on his own until he runs into the boy. Even after all this time, Louis is still hurting and wants to share with someone, anyone, that immortality is not what its cracked up to be. The boy, of course, doesn’t get this and begs to be made a vampire. Louis refuses, going to far as to try and scare the notion out of him with a show of how utterly inhuman vampires are. It doesn’t work and the boy (later we find out that his name is Daniel) tries to find Lestat. He eventually ends up with Armand but that is another story.

Wow, probably my longest review so far. I loved this book. It was the book that got me into fantasy books. If you haven’t, for some reason, read this book you really should. Like right now. Later books in the Vampire Diaries series kind of jump the shark but the first few are well worth the read. Rating: A+


Aisling by Carole Cummings is one of the books I picked up off of my Amazon recommendations list. I’ve found a bunch of good books like this and I’ve found a bunch of meh books like this.  This one was more on the meh side I feel. This had potential but I felt like she started in the middle of a story and it just suddenly ended. Apparently she intended to make at least three of these Aisling books but it just. Stopped. It didn’t come to any sort of satisfactory conclusion. Just one character coming to an epiphany and going “oh shit”. It sort of did a Sopranos on us.

I felt like Cummings had this whole world planned out in her head. And it is an interesting world. She just didn’t do enough exposition to introduce use to this world. She just started talking as if we should all know what was happening and who was who. Perhaps there was a book in this world before this one that I’m unfamiliar with. Still, normally when a book is a second or later in the series, the writer will do a little recap at some point, which didn’t happen here.

Aisling is about a young oracle type man who is on the run from what he sees as a terrible destiny. He’s been lied to and abused since he was a child and all he wants to be is himself. He has no name but he steals someone’s identity papers and calls himself Wilfred Calder or Wil. His running eventually gets him in contact with a constable named Brayden Dallin who is, apparently, a part of his destiny.

So off runs Wil at haste to a little podunk town where the people chasing him finally catch up. They’re hell bent on killing him…but no one ever explains why. It’s some sort of religious zealotry but Cummings doesn’t give much detail at all on why these guys want to kill Wil. So Wil is a sympathetic character to a point but you still kind of want to smack him around when he’s being an arse and you’re not sitting there going “Oh no! Don’t kill Wil!”. It’s more of a “Huh, I wonder what that’s all about?” feeling.

So it was interesting. To a point. But I doubt I’ll be getting the other two. I think I’d have to be really desperate to pick up the next two books. So final Rating: C/C-. Maybe its because it was pretty much straight fantasy and not urban fantasy but I just could not get behind the characters at all.

Black Magic

Normally I am not one for the sword-and-horse type of fantasy novel. I prefer urban fantasy but I’ve been tearing through books recently and the urban fantasy series that I’m reading are all waiting for new releases later on this year. So I picked out Black Magic by Megan Derr.

Black Magic is a very interesting story but I feel I should warn that this is a homosexual romantic fantasy novel. There is explicit male on male sex but oddly enough, not as much sex as I’ve seen in some hetero-romantic fantasy novels (I’m looking at you Anita Blake. You can put plot in with your porn you know). I don’t feel that this detracts from the story at all but it is not everyone’s cup of tea so be warned.

In this book, there are several classes of magic users: Paladins, Necromancers, Priests, Alchemists and Demons. There are non magic users as well but this is a fantasy novel so the magic users are the focus. Each class has what one might call ‘regulars’ (that is, averagely powered members) and ‘high’ (above averagely powered members).  Each of these classes except Alchemists have some sort of connection with a figure they refer to as the Goddess. She is the string puller of the tale.

High Paladin Sorin has discovered his the body of his cousin, a priest, in his chambers. Upset but needing to investigate, he goes to consult with the High Priest Angelos. High Priests are the ones most likely to have steady and clearer communication with the Goddess. They’ll get words and directions from her and not just feelings. Sorin should expect the arrival of someone “dark” to aid him in his quest to find his cousin’s killer.

Enter Necromancer Koray. Necromancers are feared and mistreated by the rest of society. They are badly misunderstood. What they do is put the dead (that is ghosts) to rest after battles and such. It costs them dearly in personal energy and not to mention the possibility of death from their fellow humans and demons. Koray has no trust for anyone, let alone Paladins of any stature.

Sorin stumbles upon Koray in the middle of the woods outside of the royal castle and convinces the Necromancer to come back with him (read, forces him). The Goddess has made it painfully clear (quite literally) to Sorin that Koray is the person he needs to solve the crime. She also makes it clear to Sorin that she is less than pleased with the way that he has been treating Necromancers who are merely doing her bidding…just like him.

Sorin and Koray show the people that Necromancers can be trusted even if Koray himself finds it hard to trust Sorin in return. They find the killer eventually (no spoilers on who) but not before he kills the High Priest. In the midst of this, we learn that Sorin’s second in command Emel is in love with a Demon. Demon’s ‘eat’ the energy (and sometimes the bodies) of other magic users but this demon is not the typical brainless, vicious demon. This demon loves Emel, can restrain himself from eating people and wants to be with his lover in peace.

At this point, Derr cuts to an exiled prince’s story in the neighboring kingdom. This kingdom has no Priests, Necromancers or Paladins. They have Alchemists who trap energy in vessels (commonly jewels) and who are property. (A lot of social commentary in this book if you haven’t noticed). Cerant is the exiled prince of the kingdom that Sorin serves. For months he has been suffering debilitating headaches without a clue as to why.

His has a would be lover and Alchemist, Neikirk, in his employ. Technically, Neikirk is Cerant’s property even if Cerant himself doesn’t think of Neikirk that way. Cerant keeps his hands to himself for a decade (I love it. I love that he could take advantage of the situation but doesn’t). At the end of the contract time, Neikirk finally finagles himself into Cerant’s bed due to mutual love and so of course, bad news comes.

The Goddess and events have conspired to bring Cerant out of exile. He travels back with Neikirk and get attacked by a new and very odd brand of demon. These demons are pure white or gray, marking them as sickly but no less dangerous. Cerant makes it back to the royal castle and thereupon finds himself marked as high priest with a new mystery to solve. What is behind these odd white demons and how can they be stopped?

Black Magic is a good book even if it is a bit oddly named. No one seemed to have done anything that might be considered as really black magic until the end of the book. And even then, there wasn’t a scene showing people working black magic. I would actually love to see a follow up to this, or several. I found the characters compelling and I really loved the acerbic Koray. Rating: A. I am actually sorely tempted to go right back and re-read it tomorrow. 🙂

500 Kingdoms-The Fairy Godmother

And I’m back! Its been a while, I know but  its been busy, busy so far this year! Both good and bad I guess. 🙂 At any rate, I just plowed through Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms novels recently. Normally I don’t go for the sort of pure fantasy novels. I prefer urban fantasy with guns and cars and pop culture jokes. Shallow of me perhaps but there you are. But I could not put these books down! These six books are new retellings of classic fairy tales that we all grew up with such as the Snow Queen and Sleeping Beauty.

Each book can be read on its own, which his nice, but they all tie together as well. The 500 Kingdoms are affected by a force called the Tradition. The Tradition is basically what happens when a story gets told and retold so often that it starts affecting the lives of people. Little girls with a nasty stepmother and two nasty stepsisters will find herself in a Cinderella type situation. Unfortunately, the Tradition isn’t perfect and doesn’t really care what the people themselves want. Sometimes the potential Cinderella will be a young lady who lives in a kingdom with an infant prince. She can’t have a happily ever after like that so what happens then? Why the Fairy godmothers of course! Godmothers are just very powerfully magic human women (though there are some real fairies in these tales) who are Tradition scholars and can manipulate it into a happy ending. They can transform a Cinderella into a Sleeping Beauty if that’s what it takes to get a happy ending.

The first book is The Fairy Godmother and it starts out with a sort of traditional Cinderella tale. The main character Elena Klovis has the nasty, wasteful stepmother (think Baroness de Ghent in Ever After) and the two nasty stepsisters and the deceased father. And, as hinted above, the prince in her kingdom is an infant. But Elena is far from helpless. She’s smart and determined to escape her currently life and make a better one for herself. She gets her chance when the stepmother decides to run from her creditors with her two daughters and try to marry them to quality in another kingdom.

Once the stepmother leaves and the creditors ransack the house, Elena goes to the town square to try and set herself up as a housekeeper. Everyone in town knows that Elena can clean, cook and mend and yet at the end of the day not one of them offers her a job. Just as you start feeling sorry for Elena, the ubiquitous ‘mysterious woman’ comes along and snatches her up. Of course, this woman is the Fairy Godmother for Elena’s kingdom. Since Elena was in a failed Cinderella story, the Tradition forced so much magic into her trying to make her fit a set path that Elena has the opportunity to become a Godmother and not just a mere servant. So the woman takes Elena to train

There is quite a bit of cliche in these books but I suppose one can only do so much to refresh well known fairy tales. Most of us could probably recent at least the gist of these stories in our sleep by the time we reach adulthood. Lackey keeps it from being a really yawner by throwing in a bunch of monkey wrenches at once to the newly minted Godmother Elena.  At this point you’re wondering if Elena will keep her cool and fix things or break down like so many typical female characters in a variety of stories and media. Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

I think this is definitely aimed more towards women than men. Not that there isn’t good fighting and puzzles but really, it’s fairy tales. I’m pretty sure my husband would find these stories dreadfully dull. 🙂  All in all, I’d rate this book a B+ and I really think that they get better from here, since this book really had to lay out the whole world Lackey created.

Sherlock Revisited

So I’ve been on this total Sherlock Holmes and Great Britain kick lately. I’m a total Anglophile, though not so bad that I stayed up for the royal wedding a few months ago. 🙂 At any rate, I got started on this by watching BBC’s new Sherlock series. If you haven’t watched it, Netflix it. Now. I’ll wait.

Done? Fantastic! And so is that show. So sad I don’t get BBC America, but I digress. I’m here to pick up an anthology called The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This was a collection of short stories featuring the worlds greatest detective as written by fantasy authors. There are well known authors such as Steven King and Neil Gaiman, as well as a bunch of folks I hadn’t heard of.

Arthur Conan Doyle was a spiritualist and as such, he worked some of his beliefs into his Holmes stories, such as The Hound of the Baskervilles, which featured the mystery of a demonic hound. Holmes himself wasn’t a spiritualist and indeed proved the hound to be nothing more than a violently trained dog covered in a phosphoric substance. Inevitably in the Holmes stories, there is always a reasonable and logical explanation.

This anthology was based on the premise: What if there wasn’t a logical explanation? What if some of the things Holmes investigated turned out to be truly inexplicable? Or what if the world Holmes lived in featured the supernatural in every day life. This was a chance to go to town with Holmes.

The book started out promisingly enough with a short by Stephen King. Normally I’m not a Stephen King fan. An ex-boyfriend of mine gave me a collection of King’s short stories, telling me that they were creepy and horrifying. I used them to get to sleep at night. It wasn’t that I didn’t get what King was going for. I did. I just found his writing a bit too trite and predictable for me. I’m the type of person who figured out that Bruce Willis was ghost half way through The Sixth Sense, so the short Trucks didn’t do it for me.

At any rate, Stephen King wrote a refreshingly subtle and original Holmes short. It wasn’t too different than something that Doyle would write I feel (and yes, I have read the original Holmes. All of them. I love them) but with just a little bit of a spiritual twist.  I was a feeling better about having spent 15 bucks on the book.

The next story (or perhaps the third, can’t remember the order at the moment) featured a mirror universe. Being a Trek fan, I know that alternate or mirror universes are often used in sci-fi/fantasy stories. I like them because you can see the what if but you can get the original that you love back.  Haven’t you ever wondered with an evil Holmes or a good Moriarty would be like? Well, read the book! 😀

I was a little disappointed however by some of the later stories. Some of them didn’t really seem to have anything to do with science fiction or fantasy at all. That’s not to say that they weren’t entertaining or well written, but I was expecting a bit more fantasy in a book I found in the fantasy section of the book store.

All in all it was worth the read. The writing was very well done (B/B+). However, I have to give it an overall rating of C+ simply because there could have been much more fantasy involved in some of these stories. And man, they should have let Jim Butcher have a crack at one of those stories!

Hawk and Fisher

It’s been a while since I posted a review but it was somewhat unavoidable. I followed up a visit with by the parental units with a nice week long or so cold.  At any rate, I’m back and typing with some Simon R. Green.

Simon R. Green is one of my all time favorite authors. I really love his snarkiness and his creativity.  The very first books I ever read were his Hawk and Fisher novels.  After that I was hooked.  At that point and time, the six novels had been turned into two omnibus books.

The Hawk and Fisher novels are not set in modern times, but neither are they exactly historical.  I suppose if I had to say it was set in a particular time period, I would call it medieval times.  This is a place where magic is an every day thing and non-human creatures are around.

The books are all set in a town called Haven, a misnomer if there ever was one.  Haven is a town almost like the Nightside, where you can buy or sell anything up to and including your soul.  They even have their own Street of the Gods.

Hawk and Fischer are Watch commanders (policemen) in Haven.  They patrol the worst area of the city (of course) and generally get the worst cases to go along with it.  They’re the only members of the Watch who can’t be bought or bullied and that generally pisses off most people in Haven, even their commanders.  Or especially their commanders.

These books are now only available in two omnibus editions I believe: Swords of Haven and Guards of Haven.  The individual stories are:

  • Hawk&Fischer (No Haven for the Guilty)
  • Winner Take All
  • The God Killer
  • Wolf in the Fold
  • Guard Against Dishonor
  • The Bones of Haven (Two Kings in Haven)

They are a great blend of a police procedural and a fantasy novel.  Green brings in his usual dry English wit along with his amazing imagination into each story.  You don’t have to read them in order to enjoy them.  There is a sort of follow up story that wraps up Blue Moon Rising and the Hawk&Fischer stories called Beyond the Blue Moon.  It starts up in Haven and ends in the Forest Kingdom arc.

These were the stories that got me hooked on Simon R. Green. I highly recommend them. A+

The Dresden Files

Since reviews of the books I’ve read will take a while, I decided to get the ball rolling with some recommendation blog posts.

First up is Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series.  I LOVE this series!  I used to hate books that were written in first person, but I’ve come to enjoy them thanks to this awesome series.  Butcher starts out with book one, Storm Front and just gets better from there.  I highly, highly recommend this series.  Harry Dresden is talented, irreverent and has a chip on his shoulder the size of Chicago.  On the whole I give the series an A+. It hooks you and reels you in so that you just can’t wait for the next book (trust me, right now I am lamenting the fact that the next Dresden novel doesn’t come out until March 2011).

The nice thing about the series is, you don’t necessarily to have to read the books in order to understand what happens in them.  It’s easier if you do, true, but Butcher does a good job of briefly recapping the previous bits of story line in each successive novel.

  • Storm Front: This is the first novel of the series and it’s pretty solid, even with introducing the main characters.  It isn’t quite as excellent as the later books, but I think that’s to be expected for a first novel. Magic, fairies and warlocks oh my! Overall, it’s a solid B novel.
  • Fool Moon: This novel focuses on werewolves and the many varieties thereof.  The series is stretching it’s wings, so to speak, and is introducing more recurring characters.  B/B+
  • Grave Peril: Introductions to Butcher’s view of vampires. Being a vampire story enthusiast, I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued by Butcher’s ideas of vampires.  Also introduces recurring character Michael Carpenter. The series really starts getting better from here. B+
  • Summer Knight: Good fairies, evil fairies and possibly evil exes (aren’t they all). A-
  • Death Masks: The Red Court returns just at the worst possible time, as the Blackened Denarians are in town.  A-
  • Blood Rites: This is one of my personal favorites in the series.  I love, love, love the character of Thomas the incubus half-brother of Harry Dresden.  A+
  • Dead Beat: Necromancy! Yay! But seriously, who doesn’t think that riding a resurrected T-Rex through Chicago is awesome? Polka will never die! A+
  • Proven Guilty: Introduction of Molly Carpenter as Harry’s plucky side kick.  Very good story, a little darker than the previous Dresden books maybe. A
  • White Night: Who’s killing off Chicago’s minor magic users? That’s what Harry wants to know! But no one wants to talk with him.  What else is new?  A-
  • Small Favor: Return of Ivy the Archive and one of my favorite characters, Kincaid. A
  • Turn Coat: Ah! A little bit of “I told you so” for Donald Morgan! Very good story. A+
  • Changes: Oh. My. God. Amazing, amazing book. But SOOOOOOOO frustrated with the end! A little spoiler: It is definitely going to leave you hanging…and not on a good note! I cannot wait for the next novel. A++
  • Short stories: Jim Butcher has an anthology of his Dresden short stories due out around October 2010. I’m definitely going to get it, but I have read some of them already from other anthologies.  As I am waiting, patiently, for this book Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files.

I recently recommended Storm Front to my father-in-law and he has gotten just as hooked as I have.  Butcher is a good, witty writer who can do a comedic scene just as well as an angsty scene or an action scene.  If anyone out there has read and enjoyed this series, I would love to hear from you on any authors/series that you would recommend along the lines of the Dresden Files.