Changes by Jim Butcher
Changes: A Novel of the Dresden Files
I appreciate authors who commit to long-running story arcs, and Jim Butcher has been around for awhile.
The Dresden Files is up to book 12, and the character of Harry Dresden has continued to grow. In this newest book, Changes, Butcher re-mixes everything that readers have come to know.
Dresden, Chicago’s only openly practicing wizard, receives a phone call that alters the path of his life forever. His former lover, Susan, tells him that their daughter has been kidnapped by vampires.
Dresden didn’t even know that they had a daughter.
Now Dresden will find out exactly how far he’ll go to save this one small life. With the help of his apprentice (Molly), his dog (Mouse), his brother (Thomas) and other friends and cautious allies, he searches desperately for the girl. But time is running short: If she isn’t found soon, she may not survive the vampires’ machinations.
This novel is the text equivalent of a roller coaster, with almost no down time as the story delivers blow after blow to both Dresden and the readers. Longtime fans will see the resolution of some storylines, along with the genesis of new ones. According to Butcher, this novel marks the series’ halfway point: As the title suggests, things won’t be the same.
Even so, Butcher still injects some of his normal humor. Fans will see many favorite minor characters as well as the usual suspects, and they often lighten the mood. Butcher is one of few authors who can balance humor and pathos, without making the result feel heavy-handed.
At the risk of coming close to a spoiler, readers should be warned that this book doesn’t have a neat and tidy ending. I have mixed feelings about this.
After finishing Changes, I needed a nap to recover. The Dresden Files continues to get better, and it keeps delivering the thrills and shocks that fans have come to expect.
Also by this author: Dead Beat, Ghost Story, Mean Streets (novella), Proven Guilty, Small Favor, Turn Coat, White Night
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on May 20, 2011.