By Jim Butcher
This review covers the first 14 books and Side Jobs (a collection of short stories)
Complete list of books at the bottom of this review.
Harry Dresden is a professional wizard. He lives in Chicago and is listed in the phone book. Normally, business is slow, but in a world full of fairies, vampires, werewolves, and numerous other nasties - It's only a matter of time till someone needs his help.
The Dresden Files combine humor, mystery, and non-stop action with a unique obnoxious tone.
The result: Fast-paced, enjoyable reads that keep your attention from beginning to end. Constant characters and relationship development create a series as enjoyable to read as to listen to.
Content of Series as a Whole
This is an adult series and contains content unsuitable for younger readers. The content listed below varies from book to book. Some of the books are really heavy on sex and light on violence, others are heavy on Violence and light on sex, still others are heavy or light on both. See my reviews of the individual books for specifics on each story.
- Sexually charged observations & general sexual awareness
- Concurrent but non-descriptive sex
- Sex scenes (several non-descriptive and at least one graphic - total for series)
- Predatory desires for sex
- References to past orgies
- References to pain related sexual activities
- Animals mating
- Knowledge of Incest
- One case also requires Dresden to be near the set of a porn film in the making
Most of the sexual content is brief, implied, or stated in fairly non-descriptive terms but there are a few exceptions.
- Injuries (non-graphic, mildly gory, grotesque and graphic)
- Killing (non-gory, ritualistic, violent, gruesome, and otherwise)
- Bodies being ripped, torn, punctured, burned, slashed, mutilated, gorged and eaten
- Mangled corpses and graphic images of death
- Human Sacrifice
- An Execution
- Blood drinking and vampire related blood extraction
Some books are heavier on the gruesome images than others.
- Various language (including the F word and God & Jesus as profanity)
- Cracks against the Bible
- Demonic influence
- Drug use
- Teen pregnancy
It also contains some interplay between Christian and magical beliefs.
Do they have to be read in order?No and Yes. I believe that you can read books 1 through 11 in any order you so choose and find that Butcher provides enough of the essential background information for the story to make sense and be enjoyable. However, if you want to get a good grasp of the over-arching plot, I strongly recommending reading the stories in order.
As for books 12 and on: Book 12 is called Changes, and - true to its name - makes some significant changes to the story and the life of our hero. I don't recommend starting with this book or any after it because, what's the fun of changes if you don't know the way things used to be? Book 12 also provides us with the first cliff hanger ending to be seen in the Dresden Files so be sure to have Ghost Story (Book 13) on hand when you get there!
How many books will there be?According to Jim Butcher's personal website: He plans to write 20 books, plus an apocalyptic trilogy for a total of 23 Dresden Files, not including anthologies like Side Jobs.
Christianity and the Dresden Files (For my Christian Readers)The Dresden Files are not christian books, but they do contain angels, the "power of God", and people who believe in Christ (mainly Catholic in background).
The main character, Harry Dresden, is a wizard who starts out with a rather cynical view of the bible, God, etc, but as the series progresses his views begin to morph and his references to God seem to hold a level of respect.
The power welded by the angels and Christians in these books is used for specific purposes and shown at times to be significantly more powerful than magic.
Dresden File books in Chronological / Reading Order
- Book 1: Storm Front (Book Review)
- Book 2: Fool Moon (Book Review)
- Book 3: Grave Peril (Book Review)
- Book 4: Summer Knight
- Book 5: Death Masks
- Book 6: Blood Rites
- Book 7: Dead Beat
- Book 8: Proven Guilty (Plot Summary)
- Book 9: White Night (Plot Summary)
- Book 10: Small Favor
- Book 11: Turn Coat
- Book 12: Changes
- Book 12.5: Side Jobs
- Book 13: Ghost Story
- Book 13.5: Bombshells Novella (Excerpt)
- Book 14: Cold Days (Book Review) (Plot Summary)
- Book 15: Skin Game (Spoilers) Release Date Unknown
- Book 16: Untitled
- Book 17: Untitled
- Book 18: Untitled
- Book 19: Untitled
- Book 20: Untitled
- Book 21ish: Stars and Stones
- Book 22ish: Hell's Bells
- Book 23ish: Empty Night