If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've probably realised that I love Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. I mean, who wouldn't? The wisecracking, referential viewpoint of Harry Dresden combined with an urban fantasy world that is both integrated and genuinely fantastical (no sparkly vampires here... no, not even the White Court) makes the series an instant winner. But do the great novels equate to great short stories as well?
Mostly, yes! The stories are written at different points at Jim Butcher's writing career, and with differing levels of skill: although Jim Butcher slights the first story, Restoration of Faith, even this is really very professional. The stories span a number of different tones and situations: from smaller-scale cases themselves (such as when Harry visits a beer festival), to moments of comedy (such as the vignette in which Harry and Bob discuss the new advertisement - with Bob's fairly predictable advice). This is definitely its strength: Side Jobs explores fun situations that could never have made it into the novels, and Butcher is evidently having fun with it! There are some great moments here, although the scale is inevitably smaller, and you won't be getting many of the Dresden Files' famed dramatic moments.
A word of warning, though: this book is only for you if you've read the main series already up to Changes - otherwise, the characters don't get much introduction or history, so most of the stories won't be very understandable. You'll also be in line for some major, major spoilers: so read the novels first! That said, Side Jobs is definitely a fun read, although not quite up to the standard of the novels: mainly through its lack of scale, although the last story, set after the end of Changes, is genuinely fantastic: and really sets the series up for Ghost Story. If you've read the Dresden Files, Side Jobs is a must-read.
You can find the book on Amazon here: Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files
Have you read this book, or have any comments on my review? Comment and tell me what you think!