Changes by Jim Butcher, Book 12 of The Dresden Files

changes_butcher_iconFans of The Dresden Files have a new adventure in their hands.  April 6th was the release for book 12 of the series chronicling the supernatural exploits of wizard and private detective, Harry Dresden.  Dresden is the worlds only publicly practicing Wizard.  Don’t believe it?  It says it right there on his business card.  But while earlier books were more centered on cases brought to him as a private investigator, Changes is entirely focused on Harry’s personal life.

The Dresden Files has been one wild adventure after another.  Vampires, trolls, werewolves, wizards, fairies, and all manner of mystical beings congregate around modern day Chicago.  And where supernatural forces frolic, supernatural bedlam often ensues.  And over the years Dresden has made powerful friends and even more powerful enemies.

This time around Harry’s personal life catches up with him.  And in the course of the tale, author Jim Butcher does an amazing job of pulling in characters from novels past and linking them all into a potent and action packed crusade that will change the future of the Dresden character forever.  Every previous book literally brought Dresden to the events detailed in this book and the consequences of this edition threaten to have far-reaching ramifications.

It’s hard to review the story without giving away twists or turns critical along the way.  It’s impossible to mention the peripheral characters that come into play without giving away information that is key to the resolution of the story.  I consider this a mark of the true craftsmanship that Jim Butcher employs when telling his tales.  The characters are compelling and long lasting as they are developed further from one book to the next.  Later books directly reference the outcome of events that were important in earlier books and surprisingly consequential in continuing storylines.

Without giving anything away, its safe to say that book 12 is an amazing work of fiction that was nearly impossible to put down.  The mythology of Dresden’s world is compelling.  The writing throughout the series is consistent and has all led up to what happens in this book.

Changes proved to be a great addition to the series and, much more than past release, really leaves the reader anxious for book 13.  And there is good news on that front as Side Job, book 13, is scheduled for release in November of 2010.  Its unusual for Butcher to release two Dresden books in the same year.  But with the recent conclusion of his Codex Alera series it seems he has dedicated his creativity fully on Harry Dresden.  As an aside, those not familiar with the Codex Alera works, the 6 novels comprise a mind-blowing work of fiction in their own right.

The Dresden Files is a series of stories told from the first person perspective of Harry Dresden himself.  Due to the craftsmanship of Butcher’s work, it’s crucial to read the books chronologically in order to truly appreciate the development of the character and his history.  Each book builds on the characters and events that came before it.  And the history of the series makes for an interesting and exciting journey.  I have never regretted starting Storm Front, book one, less than two years ago and I anxiously anticipate the release of Side Jobs, book 13 in November.

UPDATE: 5/3/10 10:20am
Changes is currently ranked at 10 on the New York Times Best Seller list.  This is the 3rd week on the list.

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