Mini-Review: The Warrior by Jim Butcher (from Mean Streets)

The Warrior

Jim Butcher

from Mean Streets

Roc, 2009


**Spoilers Ahead!  If you have yet to read Small Favor then stop now!  The Warrior spins directly out of that story. **  

That being said The Warrior is the best Dresden story I’ve read in ages.  I don’t know if it is the shorter format but it felt like Butcher had to really drill down into what makes Dresden such a fun character to read.  The melodrama and angst that had bothered me in some of the later Dresden novels is completely absent here and we get a perfectly realized snarky, sarcastic, down-on-his-luck Harry Dresden.  The story is taught and tense and plays out like a good episode of your favorite television show everything wrapped up in the 45 minutes to hour it takes you to read.  More spoilery stuff after the jump

As great as the story was it is unfortunatley a poor story to introduce Harry to new readers.  The plot revolves around the Carpenter family and post-Small Favor Michael enjoying his retirement.  Mentions to past details like the Denarians would leave readers not familiar with the whole body of Dresden fiction at a bit of a loss.  For all the story’s strengths I’m also impressed at the lack of actuall wizarding Harry does over the course of the story.  Dresden’s “blow it up and ask questions later” philosophy is frequently mentioned but what we get to see is a Dresden employing his magical abilities in frequently subtle and low-key ways.  A bit of change from the high action of the novels but it really lets the dialogue and Harry’s internal monologue shine.

Like Butcher’s other recent short work, Backup, The Warrior expands on Dresden world.  Adding an organization on the mortal side of things that mirror nicely what Thomas does for the White Court.  The Warrior also continues the theme of faith that has become an increasingly important aspect of the novels as of late.  It is something I enjoy personally and I particularly enjoy the exploration of faith as a kind of magic; a magic that Harry can never seem to quite grasp.  Even if the whole faith aspect isn’t you’re cup of tea I think the final scene of the novella might just be worth it; only Harry Dresden could have the balls to do something like that.   The Warrior is a must-read for fans of the Dresden novels.

I’ll be tackling the other stories by Kat Richardson, Simon R. Green, and Thomas E. Sniegoski over the next few days.  All three are authors I’ve heard of but who haven’t read so my perspective on those stories will be significantly different.  All three have been in the “urban fantasy” game for a while now and I hope their stories are as well-focused as Butchers.  Regardles, I’m looking forward to it…even with the possibility of spoilers.

One thought on “Mini-Review: The Warrior by Jim Butcher (from Mean Streets)

  1. rlmandell

    I agree with this review. Do not read this story unless you have read the Dresden Series. What I enjoy about the Dresden world is the characters and their interplay. The final church scene is only meaningful for fans well versed in the Dresden stories and world. Indeed the plot line of the two swords and Harry’s safekeeping them again depends on knowing the series. I do not usually like short stories preferring novels. I was going through withdrawal symptoms after Turn Coat (novel 11 of series) so I purchased Back Up, the Warrior anthology as well as Blood Lite for my Dresden Fix.

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