A 15 book (with spinoffs and additional material) journey from Average to Awesome
The first book of the Dresden files was written to prove a point. That the author couldn't write. Thankfully, it failed. The first book is decent, purposefully troperiffic, the second is an improvement, with greater character development. The 3rd (Grave Peril
) and 4th (Summer Knight
) kick the series into a higher gear.
character of Lieutenant becomes more human and more relaxed, getting a bucket load of Character Development
and the main love interest suffers a fate that means she would be better off dead, shattering the Status Quo
. This, naturally, is a recurring, and very important plot point, until book 12 (Changes
). Dresden gets a lot darker and more ruthless, gaining a greater degree of control over his growing raw power and increasing his bag of tricks, both magical and mundane.
The Summer Knight
begins to explore the Black Council plot line that runs through the entire series and, as with its predecessor, the events of it cause a massive ripple effect that visibly affects the world onwards, while solidifying Dresden's reputation as a badass both in-universe and in reality. The rest of the series continues in this vein, steadily getting better and unfolding a vast and complex universe, with detailed relationships, subtle callbacks and Chekhovs Guns
galore. New character appear, old characters recur and are developed far further than one would believe possible (Thomas, for instance, has a fascinating character arc). Secrets are revealed, mysteries are solved and all new questions are left open for both Dresden and the reader to mull over. And all of this comes with a very liberal helping of snark.
Dresden is among the funniest
characters in fiction, but the humour is never overused and never overwhelms the darker, more serious and sadder scenes.
Yes, the first two books are rightly called on their use of slightly sexist tropes and Dresden's anachronistic chivalry, but these are tropes that are intentionally invoked and Dresden's chivalry repeatedly comes back to bite him, and by Small Favor
(book 10) he is well and truly past it.
Despite its faults, or even because of them, this series is a triumphant example of Urban fantasy, with a depth, humour and complexity that occasionally rivals Doctor Who