Monday, April 19, 2010

Changes by Jim Butcher

The new novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series.

Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry's not fighting to save the world...

He's fighting to save his child.

I'm going to try to not going into an over the top rant-a-palooza about why I love this book so much, but we'll see how that goes. I apologize now if this whole thing becomes ridiculous. It's just that I can't help it because this book was SO GOOD. I've read the whole series of course, and enjoyed it along the way, but Butcher is just coming out with more and more in each successive release and his series is an outstanding example of what makes urban fantasy compelling and pretty much irresistible to readers.

It's not just the fantasy elements, it's not just the juxtaposition of the familiar contemporary landscape with the paranormal boogeymen of your childhood - it's the reality of a challenged hero that continues to draw people back. Harry is undeniably a hero; he fights continuously to help the little guy, to get some kind of justice for people who have been forgotten or ignored by the White Council. Book after book he walks out into the world with a new case, a new fight, that he feels honor bound to champion because of his own life experiences and what he feels should happen. What I'm seeing in more in Butcher's releases is Harry's growth in the face of incredibly hard choices. When each decision's consequences are more about the grey area then black and white, what's a hero to do? How is a man like Harry Dresden going to be able to keep himself afloat in a world that's more and more willing to cheat?

He's going to have to be willing to cheat a little bit to.

In the world of urban fantasy the easy road to the happily ever after rarely exists. There are too many of the moral grey areas that make up our world in the book to allow that to happen. Harry stands out as such a compelling representative of this genre because he's willing to make the effort for the good fight as long as he's able to do it. No matter what else, the death of a child, of his child, is wrong. Focusing on that truth, helps him recognize his path but also puts him in the position to have to make some very touch decisions - about what can be done in the short term, how decisions will affect his ability to function in the long term, how he will be able to protect his friends in a world that is increasingly breaking under the strain of magic and betrayal. IT'S ALL SO EPIC! Epic and incredibly touching and understandable, as Harry is shown again and again that there are no easy choices, that sometimes to do the right thing a person is forced to do the almost wrong.

Ok, so I know this has turned into a rant, but I feel like this book more than deserves it. Butcher has created a stand alone epic fantasy tale that will remain in my favorites forever. I might dislike him greatly for the horribly cliff hanger ending, but the story itself is unparalleled in its depiction of character building and an evolving world that is at times both familiar yet very, very strange.

Overall Feeling - THUMBS FREAKING UP! So good you must stop everything you're doing (seriously leave work now) and read this book.

Series - ......10) Small Favor 11) Turn Coat 12) Changes
**The rest of the list can be found on Butcher's website, here.