I’m not going to finish my full Cannonball Run, but I think I’ve done pretty well for the first time. I’ve read 38 books this year, which is the highest number I’ve read since I was like 12. I’ve only done 23 reviews so far, but I will try to push out some over the break, maybe. Next year I might be more strategic in the types of books I read. I tend toward the long and dense. More YA might need to be in my future.
My parents introduced me to the Dresden Novels by Jim Butcher about a year ago. I was looking for easy and fun novels to read during the summer vacation. They had just finished reading the entire series together (AW! Yes, it is sickly sweet, but the family that reads together!) and thought I would enjoy it. So, I’ve been making my way through the novels since then. I definitely wouldn’t be able to read these one after another like the rents. They are, let’s say, too similar in style from one to the next for me to read them all in a row. I would seriously get bored. However, if you are looking for a quick and fun fantasy series these fit the bill nicely.
The Summer Knight is the fourth in the series. To give you a bit of background, Dresden is a perpetually down on his luck wizard turned detective who fights a bunch of fantasy realm characters on the mean streets of Chicago. But these aren’t your childhood fantasy characters, of course. There are some mean baddies. He is so down on his luck that even the people who supposedly like him, seem to, well, not really like him. And he gets beat up A LOT. I wonder sometimes if Jim Butcher takes sadistic delight in imagining his main character demoralized, tossed about, and mostly ineffective (until the end at least). Anyway, I digress.
This installment finds Dresden dealing with an emotional breakdown after the third novel (I’ll save you specifics) and trying to keep himself alive after his world has started falling apart (mostly his fault). He is hired by a queen of the Winter Faeries to figure out who killed off the Summer Knight. It is too much to explain, but basically there are Winter Faeries and Summer Faeries and they trade off control of the year. They have knights and when one gets killed there is a disturbance in the force. And all hell breaks loose. Or at least Dresden must figure out what the heck is going on.
Like I said, the Dresden novels are fun, but repetitive. I’ve love Jim Butcher’s imagination and he sets a solid scene for the reader. I don’t like how much of the novel is focused on Dresden being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting the crap beat out of him until finally he doesn’t anymore. I know the purpose is to create suspense, but I find it hard to believe half the time that this loser will accomplish anything. I’ve started skimming the middle a bit just to get to the final scene where, yes, Dresden’s awesome powers shine through, and yes, Dresden makes it all (or, well, mostly) right.
The good thing about these novels is that the main character doesn’t always set everything to right. Someone always gets killed or turned into a vampire. But again we are reading about a down on his luck wizard.
Great vacation reading. Even I can finish them in two or three days (I’m a SLOOOOW reader). Solid fantasy detective stories with a bit of the pulp.