Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series has been on my radar for years, so when the first book in the series popped up as a Kindle Daily Deal I pounced. A pandemic seemed like a great time for an overdue dive into a highly rated series that ticks so many of my boxes – fantasy, crime, humour, and many more to look forward to.
I’m sorry to say I was not impressed.
What ticked me off the most was the gender politics. Maybe it was so ironic a hat tip to noir tropes that it sailed right over my head, or maybe it was just plain sexist. Sure looked like the latter to me. While there were plenty of female characters, competent female characters even, the focus rarely budged from their hotness, even those who weren’t sex workers. And don’t get me started on the telegraphed from orbit accidental consumption of a love potion by a journalist. A hot journalist. Did I mention she was hot?
So apart from the sexism, was it entertaining? Meh. The mystery wasn’t particularly mysterious. The magical setting offered nothing new or interesting. The writing wasn’t memorable. A formulaic forgettable genre mashup.
If you’ve read these books, do they get better? Does the skill level of the execution pick up and the milieu get more interesting as you learn more about it? Do Harry Dresden and the authorial voice start to see women as fully realised people? Or do you have to love it from the start to bother reading on?
CBR12bingo: White whale – wanted to read this for a long time. Believed the hype.