Some have suggested that maybe Butcher's first venture into the world of the science-fiction/fantasy novelist is original but as I began to read his ninth Harry Dresden book I suddenly realised that he is not actually writing anything new. While the world of Harry Dresden may be Jim Butcher's own, the concept and the setting itself is no. In fact urban fantasy has been around for quite a while, with one of the most familiar being this:
though this is the rulebook that one uses when one is playing a magician:
who happen to be quite a lot more powerful than any of the wizards that appear in the Harry Dresden novels as they have the ability to mess around with reality (though they have to watch out for something called backlash which, I believe – it has been a while since I have played it – means that if you try to do something too unbelievable then the effect comes back and bites you).
Anyway, this book was okay but the stories don't really seem to be going all that far at the moment, and the fact that I am up to book nine in what seems to be a never ending serial that reminds me of a soap opera, I am starting to realise why I ended up moving away from the modern science-fiction/fantasy scene. In fact this is just another episode in the life of Harry Dresden and another case that he gets involved in that involves the dark and supernatural world. Okay, the overall story arc does move forward, but as I have suggested, there does not seem to be any big end point, just another movement along the Harry Dresden timeline. Hey, in reality there is nothing really all that wrong with that, especially if you like these types of books, and I must admit Jim Butcher does do a better job at it than other authors do because, in a way, the books are separate and stand alone, yet, what I have discovered, at least here, is that by book nine you begin to forget which character is which, and who all these other random characters that seem to pop up are (or the minor characters at least because there are a number, such as Mouse, who I do recognise).
I have also noticed that it seems that the further along the series you go the thicker the books become, which is also interesting because in the older days many of the books (and I am thinking of the Enid Blyton books here) were all generally the same length. However, these days it seems like the first book starts off slim, and they get thicker and thicker (Harry Potter and Robert Jordan are a case in point). Maybe it is because the earlier books are just there to test the waters, and if they succeed, then the authors end up going out and writing much, much more.