Monday, April 19, 2010

Ed's Mini Book Review - Changes by Jim Butcher

Cover of "Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12...Cover of Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12)

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge fan of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series so this review my ba a bit on the biased side.

Risking to sound none too professional like I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!

This is what an action/dark fantasy book should be like, if you dig those genres. Even if you don't, this one has it all, especially if you are a follower of the series. The one slight knock on the series so far was the lack of resolution of many of the hanging threads so to speak. There were too many plot points that were not getting resolved and just passed on and on where I can see many readers not remembering the particulars original plot point when they did finally get resolved and I did find that happening at times in this book. The good thing however was that they were finally getting addressed.

Now if you aren't a fan of The Dresden Files already, go out and start becoming one. I'll give you the basic storyline of the series. Harry Dresden is a Chicago P.I. who advertises in the Yellow Pages as a 'wizard'. Most people think this a gimmick to get work but Harry is the bona fide thing. Patterned a bit after Spider-Man, Harry finds himself dealing with all sorts of threats from the supernatural and mundane world alike. Now, there are more fantasy books like the Dresden Files than I can shake a stick at but what separates Dresden from the rest is the writing. In the first few books, you get a feel of a writer that is growing and grow and improves he does as the series progresses. You get a great menagerie of characters and what I think really drives this series, good mysteries.

Changes is the first Dresden Files book with a one word title, all other books having two word titles, and that goes to the theme of the book, which of course is the title. There are lots of changes in store for Harry in this book and here is where we get to many of the long standing pot points getting resolved. A good many get resolved or at least forwarded to the next step, all of which, combined with some shocking developments, all lead to drastic changes in the Dresden-verse.

Obviously this is a must read for fans of the series and a true game changer (I always hated that term but felt compelled to use it). For the casual reader, you may need some background reading before you get to this one but Butcher does do a serviceable job of making the book readable if you've read none of the other books.

My Biased Grade: A

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading List - April

Book collectionImage by Ian Wilson via Flickr

Some stuff I keep pushing back but some highly anticipated new ones as well including the new book in the Dresden Files series.

Changes by Jim Butcher
Fables vol. 5 by Bill Winningham
Dark Half by Stephen King
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ed's Mini Book Review - Sleepless by Charlie Huston

Cover of "Sleepless: A Novel"Cover of Sleepless: A Novel

I'll start by saying that Charlie Huston is one of my favorite writers so I may be a little biased in this review. Having long been a fan of the Joe Pitt casebooks as well as his Henry Thompson books, needless to say I was rather stoked at a new Huston book and this time a stand alone like The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death.

While reading Sleepless, I couldn't help but feel like I was reading something with just a ton if different influences, many of which I have an interest in as well. We have a look into the online MMO gamer world (i.e. World of Warcraft and the like) and I am sure the research for that must have been a lot of fun. Just plug yourself down in front of the computer and game til your eyeballs dry out, get some more Mountatin Dew and get right back at it. Huston also treats the reader to something that has been a bit on our minds, in a collective sub-conscious and that is the whole 'viral thriller' trope with the spread of a disease that has no cure. As an aside, this has been something that I have been reading a lot of lately though more into the zombie virus theme but I think that this is something that our collective society has had on the brain (mmmm, more brains!!!) with the fear of chemical weapons and such. This might explain the popularity of zombies again with best sellers such as World War Z. Eh, just my two cents.

We also get some typical Huston good ol' crime fiction as the story centers around an idealistic undercover narcotics officer as he investigates the possible underground distribution of a drug that can possibly cure the Sleepless virus that has spread around the world. And what a world Huston paints for us. We get a dystopian future not unlike the Escape from New York film or even yet, Strange Days, where private security protects the rich from a world with little order due to the spread of the Sleepless virus.

Weaving all of these elements may seem a bit ambitious but more and more, with every book, Huston is proving himself a master of his craft. Tight, suspenseful and ultimately heart wrenching, Sleepless is a book I can't recommend enough and it will leave you just that, sleepless, as you won't want to put it down.


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Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter eggsImage by StSaling via Flickr

Happy Easter to all you Christians out there. I just got back from Spring Break and some time with the family in the Tampa/St. Pete area.

Finished up a couple of books and I am stoked for the new Dresden Files book coming out tomorrow.

Will post some reviews shortly.

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