Saturday, April 3, 2010 | |

Changes by Jim Butcher (guest review by Darren Dayton)

    So, this being my first review, I wish to introduce myself. I am Darren, Bryce's younger brother, and we tend to have the same tastes in reading, so I was a natural extension of the reviews on his site.

    Today, we will be talking about Changes, the latest book in the Dresden Files series by author Jim Butcher, and a book (and series) I highly recommend. He has not been mentioned on the site thus far, but it was not due to lack of interest or appreciation, but rather time constraints. His latest (and one of his best in my opinion) books starts out like every other one of his books: an important, yet hilarious beginning scene that introduces well the main conflict of the story, and lends to the entertainment aspect of literature quite well. I am impressed, because this time the beginning was even more of a home-run than previous books, and I wasn't sure that was possible. It is, however, twelve books into the series, so I suggest starting with book one, Storm Front.

    On to the actual review, then, eh?

    The characters as always are completely alive, and to rate the immersion: I sometimes forget I'm reading a book. This book is no different than any of the others in the series... well, not quite. The title, Changes, is quite appropriate, in that we see some changes in characters, and things going in ways we never thought (or hoped, or dreaded) they could go.

    As to the quality of the work, I literally just read it in about 8 hours straight, in one sitting. I have not stopped for food, water, various toiletries; heck, I started reading it while I was at work this morning, and only stopped for the ten minutes it took me to get home. Mr. Butcher puts on an excellent performance, so to speak, and it is masterfully entertaining, while also being involved and absorbing on a level I, as an avid Fantasy fan since close after birth, have seen.

    The characters and plot left me emotionally invested enough that I have not only read 12 books about them, but I literally feel joy and sadness with them, live and die; without any spoilers I tell you that as I sit here writing this, I am still in an emotional stupor over the events at the end of the book, and that just doesn't happen to me folks.

    Quick non-spoiler plot summary:
        Harry, main character and resident wizard in Chicago, has just learned from an old girlfriend that the Red Court of vampires has taken a little girl, and intends to... well, they don't know what yet, but it obviously can't be good. I mean, vampires, right? Someone is destabilizing the power of the White Council of wizards, and Harry also has to try to find out what's going on there before full-on war breaks out anew between the Court and the Council (but that's nothing new, really. Read the last few books.) Anyway, things go wrong in a spectacular fashion, as is usual, and it's up to Harry to stop them from either destroying the world or killing millions of people.

    If that seems generic to you, it's because the plot is so involved I cannot say a single word different without giving things away. Suffice to say, like Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher weaves plot upon plot, twist upon twist, until no reader can say for sure what the outcome will be until the end of the book.

    Overall rating: 10/10.

    Fantastic work, Mr. Butcher, and while I had qualms with almost everything that happened (plot, character changes, building/car demolitions) know that you got a 10 out of 10 because all that points to just how good the writing is, and just how much of a vested interest I had in this book, and the series in general. I hope you continue to keep 'em coming, 'cause I will read them until they nail shut my coffin. Thank you for the wonderful time I had reading this, and I hope all the readers of this review will go out and get started by reading Storm Front, because this series is well worth it.

Great review Darren. I simply want to add that Changes is a very apt title for this particular book. Almost everything that we know about the Dresden Files gets turned on its head, and things are definitely headed in a new direction. I'm confident, though, that future volumes will still be excellent. This is, so far, my MUST BUY book of 2010.


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