Friday, June 22, 2007

GRAVE PERIL: Smoking!



I've read three of the Dresden Files novel so far, and each one gets better. No kidding. One was kicking. Two was ripping. Three is burning down the house! I loved this book.

Yes, it's a page-turner deluxe! I like fast, crazy reads that don't aim to be "litrahchur", but solid, speculative entertainment. So sue me, as Harry would say. Things just get worse and worse and worse. But Butcher is a mad demon plotter, and how he fits it all together, if slightly predictable in spots, is also full of fun twists you may not see coming (I didn't) and just flat out socks-knocking-off fabulous fun.

One other really cool thing: This one has an honest-to-God Christian character who isn't a joke or a fool or a parody. He's a genuinely virtuous good guy champion. The Fist of God. (Okay, that still makes me chuckle.) A real knight in shining chain mail. And he loves his wife and trusts in God and has a nice relationship with his pal the priest and he won't bend his moral core to suit a situation. And he's likable. And he's nifty. And Harry likes and trusts him. Wow.

Good on you, Jim Butcher. I could smooch you.

Book one featured a seriously whacked sorcerer. Book two featured scary as heck werewolves. This one is chock full of tortured ghosts and vengeful vampires.

To the CSF crowd: Buy it. You may not see another Christian character portrayed with such heroism and sympathy in contemporary secular fantasy again for a long time.

7 comments:

Josh said...

Aha. You have met Michael. One of the best characters in the Dresden series. I too was impressed at how Butcher portrayed him. You'll be happy to know we see plenty more of him (and family) in further reads (I don't think that's much of a spoiler to mention).

Mirtika said...

Michael is the sort of fictional champion every red-blooded Christian women will absolutely want to marry and have half a dozen kids with.

Sigh.

Mir

Julie D. said...

You also will be pleased with some of Harry's realizations about God and how He works later on in the series. It is not prominent but it is definitely there.

Mirtika said...

Great to know..and look forward to. Thanks, Julie!

Mir

Scriptorius Rex said...

I'm sure this was a great post but since I'm still reading Fool Moon I had to skip over it and save it for later.

Rae said...

I started reading The Dresden Files series a couple of months ago, and am up to #7. Count me as a convert.

I have been trying to figure out the source of the popularity of The Dresden Files, for myself and others. The cliffhanging chapters, the plots, the characters, certainly all these play a part. Characters probably more than anything, but also I am in awe of how the convoluted plots all come together at the end of each book.

One strong factor for me is Harry's concern for doing the right thing, including discussions with himself and with his allies about moral responsibility. Heck, he even talks about morality with his enemies.

I read in an interview that Jim Butcher was quite involved in Youth for Christ as a teenager. Is he still practicing the Faith? I am particularly curious because I am working with the Daughters of St. Paul to expand the fiction offerings in their Book and Media Centers across the country. We've been discussing the relationship between acknowledged belief in Christianity on an author's part, and his or her work. We're using Flanner O'Connor as an example of a consciously Catholic author who never writes about Catholics or Catholicism. I'm wondering if Jim Butcher would be offended to be called a "Christian writer" (not CBA, but one writing in the secular markets). Anyone have a clue?

Mirtika said...

Rae, I honestly don't have a clue about Mr. Butcher's religious status/orientation, but I also love the fact that his character is not perfect, but really tries hard and courageously to help people and save others, at his own peril. That's HEROIC, and I like heroes.

The addictive appeal is definitely the quadruple whammy of killer plotting, ridiculously rising tension, likable protagonists, and intriguing magical villains.

Someone give Butcher a case of Red Bull, cause he needs to write faster. :D

Mir