Book 12: Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher

13Apr09

I’m a fairly voracious reader (though I’ve discovered not nearly as voracious as some people—DAMN, y’all), and I enjoy reading series; however, there are few that I really try to keep up with these days. I’ve mostly fallen off with all but a few of them, and then there’s that one that I’ve actually stopped reading. The Dresden Files is one of them that I do keep up with. I’ve been waiting for Turn Coat to be released for at least three months, if not longer. I’ve been counting down to it. I bought it the day it was released.

So you’d think, after pointing all of this out, that I’d be disappointed in the book once I sat down to read it. Well, you’re wrong. I loved every single page of it.

If you’re familiar with the series, you know how it goes: shit goes wrong, Harry Dresden gets involved, investigates the weirdness, figures shit out, get the ever-loving fuck beat out of him at least once, if not more than, calls on a few allies, saves the day but juuuuust barely.

I won’t pretend that the series isn’t at least somewhat formulaic at this point. We’re eleven books into a projected 20 or so (insert me jumping up and down squeeing and clapping *here*), but at this point, for me at least, there’s a certain comfort to the formula. Reading a new Dresden book for me is like catching up with an old friend, who I don’t get to see nearly enough of. They’re comfortable, the characters are all familiar and well-loved, and the settings are often familiar. I have a clear picture, for example, of Harry’s little apartment in my head. I know where Mister hangs out, I know where Mouse sleeps. I always feel bad that Harry can’t even take a hot damned shower because of being a wizard.

Not only is it familiar, but Butcher doesn’t pretend that there isn’t a certain routine to these cases. I don’t know how far ahead he’s got this thing planned, but it looks to me that he’s got more than just the next several hundred pages in mind. Part of the major problem that Harry is dealing with in this book is something that’s been building over the course of the last several. I love that– that sense that there’s more going on than just what is presented to the reader in each book. I love that there is more to this story than just what meets the eye. I keep thinking of Murder, She Wrote. Everywhere poor Jessica Fletcher went, people died, and she never thought that was weird? Harry flat out says at one point that weird shit has been going down around Chicago and the world at large over the last several years, and he wants to know what is behind it.

Jim Butcher ably handles his cast of characters. People tend to feel fleshed out at this point, including Harry himself. He’s not static; if you look back over the series thus far, you can chart an actual character arc for him, unlike certain other main characters who shall remain nameless but only seem to gain more invincibility and a more voracious and weird sexual appetite as her “adventures” continue.

I’m not going to go into much detail regarding the plot here, because I want you to read these books, and I want you to start at Storm Front, and when you’ve torn through them all, I want you to thank me profusely. I don’t even want to talk too much about some of the more recent character additions, for fear of giving something from a previous books that’s awesome away (and if you ask me, it’s all pretty fucking awesome). So, the basics are thus: Morgan (no, I’m not going to explain to you who this is) shows up at Harry’s door asking for help. Harry is the last person ANYONE would ever expect Morgan to go to, and being Harry, lets the poor half-dead guy in. Turns out, Morgan stands accused of killing one of the Senior members of the White Council of Wizards. Harry knows that Morgan is innocent, and sets out to find out who really did the deed. Sounds pretty simple, but there’s a whole helluva lot more to it than that. And I’m not going to give any of it away; sorry.

If you aren’t at least somewhat familiar with the series, I do not recommend starting with this latest book. Yeah, there’s some explanation for the uninitiated scattered throughout, but for the most part, Butcher dives right in. This is a book for the regular readers. And, shit, after eleven books, I’m glad he doesn’t spell everything out anymore–it would drive me insane.

I won’t deny that there are flaws in this series. But they’ve all been fun to read so far, and I really heart Harry at this point. So, get to reading already.

(cross-posted on my vox.)

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