Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files
By Jim Butcher
Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher-a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a novella exclusive to this collection that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the April 2010 hardcover, Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago's only professional wizard.
I quite enjoyed this compilation of stories. I had been missing this series after I finished Changes back in May. When I first started reading the Dresden Files (which begins with Storm Front) on the recommendation of a seriously enthusiastic Barnes and Noble employee, I really wasn't so sure about this series. I didn't think the writing was that great, and I just didn't really get the appeal. But, I thought, she was so convinced the series was amazing...maybe I'll give it another shot. By the time I was in the middle of the fourth book (and if I'm being 100 percent honest and not a stubborn hold-out, by the middle of the third book as I found the character Michael to be an excellent addition) I totally understood why she loved the series so much. Butcher does a great job of making you care about Dresden and his friends. Yes, some of the stuff he gets into is ridiculous, and, despite being a wizard, some of the battles he gets into (and subsequently out of) still test the believability boundaries. But by the forth book Butcher has accomplished some excellent world and character building.
Because of that, this compilation of stories worked for me. As the series goes on, the situations Dresden gets into become more and more dire, so the short and fun stories were a nice relief from that gloom and doom. I really enjoyed the novella "Backup" from the point of view of Dresden's White Court Vampire brother Thomas. And the final novella "Aftermath" was an excellent segue into the most recent novel Ghost Story. (Which I will review later.)
As always, the nerd-culture humor was on point and I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions. Also, the short annotations before each story that explained why Butcher wrote each story and where the story appears within the series timeline was very helpful.
Recommendation: Worthy addition to series.