We don’t usually talk about SF&F literature on here because, frankly, there’s so much of it published and so little of it worth reading that looking at the mountain of it is exhausting. I’ve got a very short list of authors who I’ll read anything they put out, and it’s pretty easy to drop off that list. For some reason, successful authors tend to fall into some bizarre ego trap in this genre, or somehow become editor-resistant.
That said, there is one long, ongoing series that I can’t resist no matter what I do, and it’s the Harry Dresden books.
For those unfamiliar, Harry Dresden is a wizard. He’s perpetually broke, his personal life is usually a mess, and he’s usually dragged into ridiculous situations that are way over his head. If it sounds a little familiar, it is. But the creativity and energy of Jim Butcher’s writing pushes the series away from cliche much of the time; these aren’t just fantasy novels but generally also mystery novels, and Jim Butcher can write a good mystery.
It helps that he’s also funny much of the time, and very good about setting up hissable villains getting tricked into a carefully laid trap… or just discovering Harry is very good at improvising attacks.
That’s really the thing: By the fourteenth book, a series has usually collapsed under its own weight, and the books have gotten more grim in recent outings. But the last couple of entries have given the series some real heft without sacrificing what makes them great. Yeah, they’re formulaic, a bit, in plot. So what? He makes the formula sing.
So, just so you know, I’ll be sick this November 27th. Awful flu. Can barely type. Terrible how these things strike out of nowhere, isn’t it?