Jim Butcher,
The Dresden Files
#12: Changes

(Roc, 2010)

I first met Jim Butcher at Conestoga in Tulsa. He was selling his new book, Storm Front. Being both a sucker for a handsome guy with a winsome face and hopeful that someday someone will buy my book under similar circumstance, I asked him what the book was about.

"It's essentially an Anita Blake ripoff," he said. "Only my character's a wizard."

Well, he was right and he was wrong.

I quit reading Anita Blake long ago when her series devolved to the point that I couldn't find anything to cheer for. On the other hand, I look forward to every Harry Dresden novel and short story, and I even own the DVDs of the television series.

I sound like a broken record here, but Changes is my favorite Harry Dresden novel so far. The story begins with a phone call -- from the last woman Harry ever expects to hear from, his old lover Susan. They have a daughter and the Red Court's taken the 7-year-old girl hostage.

Harry never expected to be a dad, but his paternal instincts kick in at a World Cup level. There's nothing he wouldn't do to save his little girl's life -- and coincidentally, probably save the world from the Red Court at the same time.

As usual, I read the story at a breakneck pace while wishing it wouldn't end. What higher praise could I offer? No spoilers here, but the end was hard, and friends and I who have read the book are still talking about it. The good news is there are more Dresden Files novels planned and in October, a short story collection's coming out with a tale narrated by Murphy that will follow up right after Changes.

I've never regretted the brief meeting with Jim Butcher. He's gained a devoted fan and, well, I've gotten some of the most fun I've had reading urban fantasy.

book review by
Becky Kyle

24 July 2010

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