Tag Archives: Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Overview
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1) by Jim Butcher

Title: Furies of Calderon
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Codex Alera #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: High fantasy, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 13th July – 7th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: Furystorms could be deadly to anyone caught out in the open.

Synopsis

FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, THE PEOPLES OF ALERA HAVE BEEN UNITED BY THEIR UNIQUE BOND WITH THE FURIES – ELEMENTALS OF EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER AND METAL. BUT THEIR WORLD IS CHANGING.

Deep in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. And as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – returns to the Valley, this weakness will seem more important than ever.

Amara is a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos – when rebels are with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power – and could even turn the tides of war.

Thoughts

This is one of those beautifully complex and intricate story lines that will sweep you up from the very first moment. It was also completely different in tone from Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I had no idea what to expect when I opened that first page. But, wow, was I swept away.

All throughout this story, my thoughts constantly bounced to Oh Tavi, what trouble are you in now? It didn’t seem to matter the situation, that boy just seemed to bounce from one chaotic not so good moment to another. Which, of course, kept you turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

It took me a little while to get my head around what Furies were. But, once I did, o really enjoyed the variety of powers that the different furies were able to provide to their people. I loved how it was almost a partnership of powers between element and human. One that drew on the strengths of both to enhance their natural powers.

I was so hopeful that the really horrifying bad guys would be dead at the end of this. Or at least, one of them would be. But, instead there is the beginning of a war on the horizon. Alright, I kind of knew that that was going to be the case because this is the first in a series… but I was still kind of hopeful. Yet, the brilliance of the villains is a huge part of why I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

<- More Jim ButcherAcadem’s Fury ->

Image source: Goodreads

Urban Enemies edited by Joseph Nassise

Overview
Image result for urban enemies book cover

Title: Urban Enemies
Author: Joseph Nassise, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Jeff Somers, Craig Schaefer, Lilith Saintcrow, Kevin Hearne, Caitlin Kittredge, Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, Jon F. Merz, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Steven Savile, Domino Finn, Seanan McGuire & Sam Witt
In: Urban Enemies (Joseph Nassise)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Urban fantasy, Villains
Dates read: 31st July – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Gallery Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He’d sent her out of the morgue just long enough to make a quick phone call in private.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Villains have all the fun

For every hero trying to save the world, there’s a villain trying to tear it all down – and in this star-studded urban fantasy anthology, the villains get their say. Told from antagonists’ points of view, this is a rare glimpse into the dark side of your favorite series.

John Marcone decides to battle a cantrev lord instead of going after Harry Dresden in Jim Butcher’s “Even Hand” (Dresden Files). Loki traverses Hell to ahve a sit-down with Lucifer in Kevin Hearn’es “The Naughtiest Cherub” (Iron Druid Chronicles). Kelley Armstrong’s “Hounded” (Cainsville) tells the tale of the Huntsman’s plot to replace his missing hound in a most surprising fashion. The cuckoos are powerful telepathic predators, but one finds herself with difficult decisions to make in Seanan McGuire’s “Balance” (InCryptid). In Jonathan Maberry’s “Altar Boy” (Joe Ledger), the man called Toys is no saint, and certainly isn’t playing around…

Includes other stories by Domino Finn (Black Magic Outlaw), Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Steven Savile (Glass Town), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jeff Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), and Sam Witt (Pitchfork County).

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this collection, but it was a little more difficult to get through. Unlike a lot of anthologies, every single one of these stories was placed in an already established world and series. However, unlike the few other books that I’ve read which have the same setup, these shorts didn’t stand by themselves very well. Actually, some were just downright confusing because I had no idea what was happening.

What I did love about this collection is that even though I wasn’t 100% about what was happening… there was a little introduction at the beginning of each story. It just explained the worlds and series in a brief manner. Not excellently because I still didn’t actually get what was happening in a number of stories, but enough that it helped me to place the stories a little.

I’d be keen to reread a number of these short stories. Particularly once I’ve actually read the series in which they are situated. At this point, they’re all on my wish list, so it’ll happen… eventually. I seriously need to stop starting a series and then starting a new one… should really finish a few before I get too hooked into a new series.

 <- Everywhere ReviewEven Hand Review ->
Image source: Simon & Schuster

Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
naked-city

Title: Naked City
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jim Butcher, Delia Sherman, Richard Bowes, Ellen Kushner, Christopher Fowler, Patricia Briggs, Pat Cadigan, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Matthew Kressel, Kit Reed, Lavie Tidhar, Nathan Ballingrud, Melissa Marr, John Crowley, Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, Lucius Shepard, Caitlin R. Kiernan & Elizabeth Bear
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 28th June – 26th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Out in Brooklyn in a couple of spots you can walk down a street and almost think it’s a hundred and twenty-five years ago.

Synopsis

In this thrilling collection of original stories, some of today’s hottest paranormal authors delight, thrill, and captivate readers with otherworldly tales of magic and mischief. In Jim Butcher’s “Curses”, Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs. In Patricia Briggs’s “Fairy Gifts”, a vampire is called home by magic to save the Fae who freed him from a dark curse. In Melissa Marr’s “Guns for the Dead”, the newly dead Frankie Lee seeks a job in the afterlife on the wrong side of the law. In Holly Black’s “Noble Rot”, a dying rock star discovers that the young woman who brings him food every day has some strange appetites of her own.

Featuring original stories from twenty authors, this dark, captivating, fabulous, and fantastical collection is not to be missed!

Thoughts

This is a seriously diverse collection of urban fantasy short stories. Not to mention fun and engaging. Probably moving right to the top of my list if I’m being honest. Normally my purview of urban fantasy is kind of small. But the breadth and width of these stories and the style in which they’re written… just wow.

I loved the fact that most of these short stories were standalones. I used to really enjoy finding new series through short stories and novellas. But, I have so many now that sometimes just reading a standalone without having to hunt out more of that world (I’m obsessive, I do this EVERY time) was kind of nice. I got a great taste of the imaginations and storytelling talents of a variety of authors, without actually feeling the need to buy more, more, more. Honestly, there is nothing worse than finding myself a new series to obsess over and then realising that I have a whole slew of new books to buy…

Although this is an urban fantasy collection, it does have a darker twist to it than usual. Every single one of these stories is a little bit dark, a lot bit fun and most don’t have a happy ending. Which, I tend to love, because I get a bit over all the happily ever afters… but it’s definitely something to keep in mind as you rip through the stories.

<- CorpsemouthCurses ->

Image source: Patricia Briggs

My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding edited by P.N. Elrod

Overview
Image result for my big fat supernatural wedding book cover

Title: My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
Author: P.N. Elrod, L.A. Banks, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Esther M. Friesner, Lori Handeland, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon & Susan Krinard
In: My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (P.N. Elrod)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Romance, Short story collections
Dates read: 30th September – 30th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: “You and your” – his eyes flicked toward Ian, who was clambering over the railing – “your intended can wait up on the quarterdeck.”

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Synopsis

Werewolves, vampires, witches, voodoo, Elvis—and weddings

An “ordinary” wedding can get crazy enough, so can you imagine what happens when otherworldly creatures are involved? Nine of the hottest authors of paranormal fiction answer that question in this delightful collection of supernatural wedding stories. What’s the seating plan when rival clans of werewolves and vampires meet under the same roof? How can a couple in the throes of love overcome traps set by feuding relatives—who are experts at voodoo? Will you have a good marriage if your high-seas wedding is held on a cursed ship? How do you deal with a wedding singer who’s just a little too good at impersonating Elvis? Shape-shifters, wizards, and magic, oh my!

Thoughts

I started reading this collection just before my best friend got married. I kind of figured that it was just a suitable kind of anthology to be reading when I too, was experiencing much of the wedding insanity that tends to surround such a fun day. And, it was nice to know that no matter what happened… nothing could go as badly wrong as many of the weddings in this collection.

There is something about weddings that seems to bring out the best and worst in people. So much pressure and stress for just one day which always blows my mind… but most people don’t have to deal with the supernatural. The characters in these stories do. And some of the battles they face are just… well, ridiculous. And difficult. And so much fun to read about.

Most of the authors in this collection I have on my shelves. Which made this a really good collection to read. Not only did I not then add a hundred different books to my wish list, but I often had the pleasure of revisiting worlds that I already have on my shelves. And the few I didn’t recognise? Well, they’ve quickly found their way on my to buy next list…

 <- “…Or Forever Hold Your Peace” ReviewSpellbound Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

Overview
Image result for book cover summer knight

Title: Summer Knight
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasyWizards
Dates read: 25th October – 29th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a willing murderer.

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Synopsis

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.

Since his girlfriend left town to deal with her newly acquired taste for blood, Harry’s been down and out. He can’t pay his rent. He’s alienating his friends. He can’t recall his last shower. Then when things are at their worst, the Winter Queen of Faerie saunters in with an offer Harry can’t refuse. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Knight, the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

It seems simple, but Faerie politics seldom work out that way. Then Harry discovers the fate of the entire world rests on this case. So no pressure…

MAGIC – IT CAN GET A GUY KILLED.

Thoughts

I always forget how much I enjoy Harry Dresden when I walk away from one of his books. I always want to immediately pick up the next one in the series, but since I’m easily distracted… this doesn’t necessarily frequently happen. I only picked up Summer Knight because I recently read yet another short story set in this world. Which reminded me how amazing this writing is. Not just the storyline and the fun characters, but the pure sarcasm that tends to trip from the pages.

This might have one of my favourite scenes in it thus far – Harry screaming “I don’t believe in fairies.” As he charges into a battle with the faery courts. Quite possibly the best battle cry I have ever read and one that had me giggling quite insanely. Because I do many things in an insane matter at the moment… it’s just the crazy time of year.

This is the first Dresden Files story that starts to deal with the fae. The first book is a great introduction to the world, then we get werewolves and then vampires. And now, now it is the courts of the Sidhe going into battle with each other. And you know, an evil, completely insane faery behind it all who somehow thinks she’s doing the right thing by ripping the world apart. It’s yet another supernatural group which Harry manages to piss off and alienate.

There are so many hints of Harry’s history in the first few books of this series. It’s obviously dark and twisted. But you never actually find out why he killed his mentor. Finally, we meet Elaine (the woman who was a part of his life at the time) and find out exactly what happened. Why he decided that killing his mentor was a good idea. It also gives an inkling to why there are some ill feelings between himself and the Council. Ill feelings which I’m pretty sure are going to expand as the series continues and I think that Morgan is going to turn out to be a bit of a villain throughout.

As usual, this is a fantastic novel. I can’t wait to add more to my shelves… maybe in the new year I will finally get caught up on this series!

 <- Grave Peril ReviewDeath Masks Review ->

Image source: BookDepository

Something Borrowed by Jim Butcher

Overview
Image result for my big fat supernatural wedding book cover

Title: Something Borrowed
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #7.5
In: My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (P.N. Elrod) & Side Jobs (Jim Butcher)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Wizards
Dates read: 16th October 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: On the weekend?

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Synopsis

Harry’s friends, Bill and Georgia are about to get married. There’s just one little problem…. Georgia is nowhere to be seen and there’s a revenge-hungry faery on the loose.

Thoughts

Every time I pick up a Dresden Files short story, I feel an insane urge to run up to my shelf and grab whichever novel I’m up to. There is just something amazing about this series that makes me want to sink my nose into it every time. But, I did exercise some self-control after reading Something Borrowed… because I have a pile of books I’m currently reading that is fairly high (I’ve been told I have to get them off the couch and use some restraint).

You know that any wedding set in the Dresden Files world is going to be entertaining. And things are probably going to be blown up because Harry Dresden is involved. This short story doesn’t disappoint on any front. It also involves insulting the future step-mother-in-law and a great little switcher-oo of the bride. Like I said, it’s impossible to be boring when reading one of the Dresden Files tales. Although, it was also quite sweet because there was the kiss of true love (I’m pretty sure there were two, but there’s enough ambiguity in the second one that you can’t be entirely positive).

Something Borrowed is an incredibly sweet, fun and entertaining read. I was so sad when it was over, although also quite happy considering there was a happily-ever-after ending to it all. This is the perfectly dramatic wedding – the best man is in plaster, the groom almost marries the wrong woman and there’s an insane fae running around trying to get vengeance. If you want a story of calamities that will make your own nuptials look kind of tame… definitely read this. Actually, just read this short story anyway. It’s absolutely brilliant.

 <- Spellbound ReviewDead Man’s Chest Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Curses by Jim Butcher

Overview
naked-city

Title: Curses
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #10.7
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Wizards
Dates read: 28th June 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: What stories are you interested in, specifically?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Harry Dresden investigates how to lift a curse laid by the Fair Folk on the Chicago Cubs.

Thoughts

Baseball isn’t really my thing. Nor is it something that I’ve ever understood. Probably has something to do with being Australian and not really having many baseball players in the vicinity. But I still know that the Cubs are quite famous for not winning and having a loyal fan base. It seems to come up a lot in American TV, movies and books…

I love that this short story takes something that is so large in popular culture and gives it a beautiful, supernatural spin. It’s a great start to a collection of urban fantasy stories which I’m sure are going to get darker, grittier and far more fun as the tales unfold. It certainly started this book off with a great bang. One that made it kind of hard to put these stories down and get back to working like a real adult.

I was expecting a story in which Harry swings in and saves the day again. In this case, helps to unravel the curse on the Cubs and help them finally win the finals (or whatever they’re called). It didn’t quite work out like that, and I loved the change from routine that this indicates. The slight change from the typical trope. Which is probably why I love the Dresden series in the first place.

 <- Naked City ReviewHow the Pooka Came to New York City Review ->
Image source: Patricia Briggs

Blood Lite edited by Kevin J. Anderson

Overview
Blood Lite

Title: Blood Lite
Author: Kevin J. Anderson, Kelley Armstrong, Joe R. Lansdale, Lucien Soulban, Christopher Welch, Matt Venne, Don D’Amassa, Mark Onspaugh, J.A. Konrath, Paul Wilson, Charlaine Harris, Steven Savile, Will Ludwigsen, Janet Berliner, Eric James Stone, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mike Resnick, D.L. Snell, Nancy Holder, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jeff Strand, Sharyn McCrumb & Jim Butcher
In: Blood Lite (Kevin J. Anderson)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Comedy, Horror, Short story collections
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Edge
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes, especially if I’ve been drinking, and I’m hungry, I revert to my basic nature.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

The Horror Writers Association Presents Blood Lite…a collection of entertaining tales that puts the fun back into dark fiction, with ironic twists and tongue-in-cheek wit to temper the jagged edge.

Charlaine Harris reveals the dark side of going green, when a quartet of die-hard environmentalists hosts a fundraiser with a gory twist in An Evening with Al Gore…

In an all-new Dresden Files story from Jim Butcher, when it comes to tracking deadly paranormal doings, there’s no such thing as a Harry’s Day Off for the Chicago P.D.’s wizard detective, Harry Dresden…

Sherrilyn Kenyon turns a cubicle-dwelling MBA with no life into a demon-fighting seraph with one hell of an afterlife in Where Angels Fear to Tread. NOTE: This story has been re-released in the Dark Bites anthology.

Celebrity necromancer Jaime Vegas is headlining a sold-out séance tour, but behind the scenes, a disgruntled ghost has a bone to pick, in Kelley Armstrong’s The Ungrateful Dead.

So let the blood flow and laughter reign – because when it comes to facing our deepest, darkest fears, a little humor goes a long way!

Thoughts

I’m kind of on the fence about this collection. Some of the stories in this were brilliant. Some downright weird. But all were enjoyable. Just not memorable. This is the kind of collection you read for a good, light laugh and something that isn’t going to make you think and linger in your mind’s eye after you’ve finished the story.

Although this hasn’t been my favourite collection of short stories that I’ve digested in recent times, it also wasn’t one that I ever considered stopping. I know that a collection or novel is truly horrible when I just can’t seem to pick it up and get through it. Yet I didn’t feel that way with this. I just didn’t want to completely bury my nose in these stories either. The best description I can think of for this series is easy. Easy reading. Easy to forget. But easy to spend some humorous time with.

 <- The Four Horsemen Reunion Tour ReviewThe Ungrateful Dead Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Day Off by Jim Butcher

Overview
Blood Lite

Title: Day Off
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #10.3
In: Blood Lite (Kevin J. Anderson) & Side Jobs (Jim Butcher)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Paranormal fantasy, Urban fantasy, Wizards
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Edge
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: The golden lightning of a practitioner at work also flickered through their auras – which shouldn’t have been happening.

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Synopsis

Harry finally has a day off, and he plans to spend it showing a beautiful woman a good time. However, friends, apprentices and young morons keep getting in the way of his best laid plans.

Thoughts

I haven’t picked up anything in The Dresden Files for a while. Mostly because I’ve just been distracted by the multitude of amazing books that are out there. And reading this short story reminded me of just why I love this series so much. It’s funny. It’s quirky. And it always abides by Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

I love how Butcher can take such a small thing as a day off and twist and turn it until all hell is breaking lose. Not just one moment of oh crap, or even one thing going wrong. It is a calamity of things going wrong. There’s the apprentice. The friends. And some weird wannabe rival kids. Anhy one of which would make an entertaining short story. But when you put all three together? I was laughing out loud… luckily there was no one else in the house at the time.

 <- Dead Hand ReviewBlood Lite II Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Even Hand by Jim Butcher

Overview
Dark and Stormy Knights

Title: Even Hand
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #11.6
In: Dark and Stormy Knights (P.N. Elrod) & Urban Enemies (Joseph Nassise)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves:
 Crime, Paranormal fantasyUrban fantasy, Wizards
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: I glanced past the young woman to Gard, who gave me a slow, cautious nod.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Even Hand is a short story in The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It is set between Turn Coat and Changes, and is narrated by John Marcone.

Thoughts

It’s always interesting to read a short story from an alternate point of view. And although I am nowhere near up to book 11 in The Dresden Files, I have already met Marcone. And it was really fun to read a story about him. From his point of view. Which was kind of dark.

Something that I enjoy about Butcher’s writing is that he doesn’t have clear cut good and evil characters. Harry Dresden is the protagonist, and the “good guy”, but he isn’t completely innocent, and there is a darker side to him. One that I’m sure develops throughout the tale. Likewise, Marcone is strongly cast as the “baddie”. But, in reading Even Hand, you discover that there are good and nice aspects about him and his moral code. He’s still a scary, ruthless, unkind mob boss. But he does have some laws and rules by which he lives his life. Something that has certainly made me want to dive headfirst back into The Dresden Files….

 <- A Questionable Client ReviewThe Beacon Review ->
Image source: Goodreads