First Sentence: I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, "They've taken our daughter."
Seven years' ago, wizard Harry Dresden's love, Susan Rodriguez left after being turned into a half-vampire. Now she calls to tell him that his daughter Maggie, about whom he'd never known, has been kidnapped by the Duchess of the Red Court. Harry learns that Maggie is to be a blood sacrifice in an act that will destroy him and many others. Harry is determined to rescue his daughter.
I am, primarily, a mystery reader. I picked up "Storm Front," the first Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher thinking it would be interesting to see how he brings mysteries and the paranormal together. While the books are far more paranormal/fantasy than mystery, about half-way into that first book, the genre definition no longer mattered.
Harry Dresden is not the stuff of fairy tales--at least, not the Disney versions--Grimm was, after all, rather grim--but the stuff of nightmares with a wickedly good sense of humor. It is definitely a series to be read in order.
Boy, does Butcher know how to tell a story. He touches every emotion while making us face the monsters in the closet. I thoroughly enjoyed the references to movie, television, literature which have become part of our popular culture.
The world and characters created by Butcher are vividly drawn and often very unpleasant. Much of that is offset by the strong human characters, excellent dialogue and wonderful humor. There is a delightful bit where Harry "said firmly, "I don't do hats." This is a jab to the fact that the cover of every book shows Harry wearing a hat.
Dresden is a classic hero. He is tall, attractive, strong, clever, protects the innocent and weak, destroys the bad buys and isn't overly macho ever. As with each previous book, we continue to learn more of Dresden's background. We also see the extent to which he is willing to go to protect and save others.
In "Changes," Butcher brings together nearly all the characters of previous books for this pivotal story, and some wonderful characters they are. It's thanks to his skill and imagination that we have Bob, the intelligent spirit who love trashy romance novels; Molly, Harry's apprentice; Mouse, the amazing Foo dog, and all the others; human and inhuman.
The story is non-stop with some breath-catching moments, both in terms of pacing and suspense. It is touching, suspenseful, gruesome, emotional, violent and occasionally funny. The book's ending is as much a shock to us as it is to Harry. I'm one who usually abhors cliff-hanger ending, but then realized Butcher did play fair with us by the lead up to the ending.
I am concerned about where the series is going from here, as I know the series is continuing. I'll just have to trust to Butcher's wonderful writing and go along for the adventure.
CHANGES (Para/Mys-Harry Dresden-Chicago-Cont) - VG+
Butcher, Jim - 12th in series
RoC, ©2010, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780451463173