I just realized that none of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books have made it onto my “Book of the Week” list. Time to remedy that.
Dead Beat is perhaps my favorite of the series, though I think it ties with Fool Moon for fun. This book does, however, have one thing that Fool Moon does not…
I kid you not. Part of Harry’s master plan to save Chicago from an evil, uber-crazed group of super-powered necromancers involves a polka-powered, undead Tyrannosaurus Rex (named Sue). It’s like Butcher read Calvin & Hobbes as a kid and asked himself, “What could be more awesome than this?”:
Well… the answer is this:
Ask anyone in my family – I am not a fan of zombies. At. All. They terrify me beyond all reason and I avoid anything having to do with them like the plague (with the notable exception of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, which I’ve read cover to cover three times). However, the mental image of a wizard riding an undead T-Rex is cool enough that I’ll make a second exception to my “No Zombies – Ever” rule.
Anyways, beyond the sheer epicness of riding a dinozombie through Chicago, Dead Beat has the usual sarcastic humor that characterizes the series (much to my delight) and also features a slowly building plot. It has unexpected twists and turns and there are some cameo appearances by some pretty powerful Faerie creatures.
I’m not usually one for first-person narration, but Butcher pulls it off. The main reason it works so well is, since we’re seeing the world through Harry’s eyes, he can snark all he wants. This is where most of the humor happens – inside the wizard’s head.
The books would be completely different if they were written in the third-person. Personally, I think they’d lose a lot of what makes them so much fun, since the stories themselves are actually pretty dark. Without the snarky mental commentary, I’m not sure I’d be able to enjoy them nearly as much.
So, there we are. The Dresden Files is a good series all around, and I enjoy this one quite a bit.