Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The first short-story collection in the number-one New York Times- best-selling series - including brand-new Harry Dresden short stories!
Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of best-selling 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 new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of 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.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 13 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 26, 2010|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #4,572 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#11 in Fantasy Anthologies
#12 in Science Fiction Anthologies & Short Stories
#26 in Science Fiction Anthologies (Books)
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I had an interesting perspective on this book, since I've read up through Skin Game but the stories in this book only covered up to the period between Changes and Ghost Story (don't read this if you haven't read at least through Changes, or else follow the Wikipedia guide for this book, which tells you when each of the stories takes place). I wouldn't say that any of these stories really added a lot to the overall progression of the series arc, though if you read them in chronological order along with the rest of the books in the series, you might get a few early hints about things to come (especially with regards to the Fomorians who show up after Changes). By and large, these stand outside the main sequence of the series -- probably because Butcher wrote a heck of a lot of them in response to requests for anthology pieces (many with predetermined themes).
As I was reading these stories, I realized that I like the longer format of the novels -- complete with bits and pieces of series arc -- better than shorter pieces. I like the hints of connection to something larger, the detailed investigations, the final battles. I always appreciated the funny bits in the novels, and that element was still here in the stories (and was sometimes the main focus, in fact), but I guess I want a little more depth. That's not a problem with the writing, by any means; it's a feature of the short story format in general, and probably why I tend to read more full-length fantasy novels than anything else. I'm guessing that's why my favorite one was "Aftermath," which is actually told from Murphy's point of view. She gathers allies and does an investigation and has to draw upon her resources and information she's gleaned from Dresden over years of working with him. Plus, we get a sense of what is going on in the world at large after the events of Changes. The structure of that one is a little more like the longer novels, at any rate.
That's not to say I didn't find these fun, because I did. Harry is still Harry, complete with a smart mouth (some of what he said in the story about Billy's and Georgia's wedding was going a little far, even for Harry...) and a desire to do the right thing. The writing is interesting to see. I read the first 15 books in a very short period of time. While we saw a progression in Butcher's writing skills in those books (with the series really picking up around book 3), it's perhaps even more dramatic here. The first story *is* a little rough; Butcher has hit his stride in the later pieces. There was definitely enough here to remind me of the novels I love, that I wanted to keep reading.
A couple of little things bothered me. First, two of these stories were about Georgia (a recurring character who also happens to be a werewolf) getting kidnapped from her own apartment and two involved Murphy being under the influence of a love spell or potion. Second, while I thought, overall, that the stories from Thomas's and Murphy's points of view were good, Murphy's internal thoughts were quite similar to what Dresden's would have been. Only instead of focusing on being tall like Harry is, Murphy was rather fixated on being short -- she was having the same sorts of thoughts about herself that Dresden always had about her. This may be a bias on the author's part -- he was similarly fixated on size in the Codex Alera books. I guess it was just more noticeable here because it got repeated a lot due to the short story format.
However, I will say that the action/fight scenes in "Aftermath" are some of the best ones in the books. I know nothing about martial arts, guns, etc., but the action seemed entirely reasonable based on the circumstances. I felt like Butcher had really thought through the battle mechanics beforehand.
This book is really more for Dresden Files fans than for anyone else. I would not recommend it as a starting point for the series. You'll learn a lot more about the wizards' White Council, vampires, werewolves, the Fae, recurring characters, and more through the full-length novels. But once you are familiar with those elements, if you want more and aren't patient enough to wait for novel #16, this collection should be a fun way to pass the time. While I was a little annoyed by one or two aspects, overall, I'm glad I bought this book and I'm looking forward to more novels and stories in the Dresden universe.
The new Harry Dresden collection of short stories, SIDE JOBS, is a must for all Dresden fans. Over the years, Jim Butcher has been sprinkling Harry shorts into various compendiums or posting them on his website, albeit less frequently than we would like. But we fans of Harry will most definitely take what we can get. SIDE JOBS pulls all these little extras together in one convenient, complete package, and adds a special treat: "Aftermath". "Aftermath" is a novella which takes place immediately following the end of the most recent Dresden novel, CHANGES. It does not answer any of the big questions, but it does show us how grim the situation actually is.
In total, SIDE JOB contains 11 stories, in the following chronological order:
"A Restoration of Faith," before the first book, Storm Front (1). The first Harry story Jim Butcher ever wrote. It isn't perfect, but it does give us some insights into Harry, and it shows us how some beloved characters first met.
"Vignette," between Death Masks (5) and Blood Rites (6). A conversation between Harry and Bob.
"Something Borrowed," between Dead Beat (7) and Proven Guilty (8). Harry is rude to an evil stepmother, but still makes sure that everyone gets to the church on time.
"It's My Birthday, Too," between White Knight (9) and Small Favor (10). It's Thomas's birthday, and Harry is determined to celebrate it with him. But vampires of the Black Court have other ideas.
"Heorot," between White Knight (9) and Small Favor (10). Mac asks for Harry's help. Harry teams with Miss Gard, and we learn more about this mysterious woman.
"Day Off," between Small Favor (10) and Turn Coat (11). This is Jim and Harry's first attempt at a comic story. All Harry wants is a day off with Anastasia. But the magical realm, from disciples of Slytherin to psychic fleas, will not leave Harry alone.
"Backup," between Small Favor (10) and Turn Coat (11). Thomas works hard to protect his little brother, without Harry ever knowing about it.
"The Warrior," between Small Favor (10) and Turn Coat (11). Michael may still be retired, but that does not mean he isn't in danger.
"Last Call," between Small Favor (10) and Turn Coat (11). Mac's beer is suddenly starting riots, and Harry must thwart the supernatural cause.
"Love Hurts," between Small Favor (10) and Turn Coat (11). Couples are literally loving each other to death. Will Harry and Murphy survive the effects?
"Aftermath," after Changes (13). With Harry gone, Karin Murphy must save the day.
I found all of the stories in SIDE JOBS to be fun and entertaining, but you must be a Dresden fan to appreciate them. This is not a book that you can pick up cold; you need to at least be familiar with the Dresden-verse to appreciate them. But if you are a die-hard Dresden fan, then this book is for you. Most of what we love about Jim and Harry is here: the great stories, the droll, acerbic wit, the fast-paced action. SIDE JOBS also gives us some one on one time with other favorite characters - Thomas, Michael, Karin, the Alphas, Mac, Miss Gard are each featured prominently in at least one of these tales. A few are even told from perspectives other than Harry's. We get to see more of what makes these characters tick, and that adds to the enjoyment.
Overall, if you love Harry Dresden and Jim Butcher, then run, don't walk, to get a copy of SIDE JOBS. It will help fill the gap while awaiting Harry's next visit in April 2011. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Top reviews from other countries
There's nothing here that will rock your world, uber-Dresden-fan or not, but the stories are generally pretty entertaining and offer a different spin on Chicago's favourite fictional wizard. Depending who your favourite supporting character is some stories will appeal more than others. Personally my favourite was 'Heorot' if only because focusing on the very minor character of Ms Gard seemed such an off the wall choice but worked so well. I hope we get to see more of her in future Dresden novels.
Now roll on Ghost Story: A Dresden Files Novel
Several of Harry's regular cast turn up to aid him in battling malevolent fairies, renegade priests and vicious monsters. As well, Harry's brother Thomas and his oft-comrade/almost love interest Murphy get to star in tales of their own, the latter in a story set immediately after the last novel, Changes.
The standard is, as you would expect, uniformly high, and the short length of these tales means they're punchy and exciting to the last page. None of them are strictly necessary to enjoy the 'main' Dresden storyline (although some of them are mentioned tangentially), but if you're already a fan of the books, you'll need no other incentive to pick up these side jobs.
Haven't read Butcher for a while, and thought it would be good to get some short stories to read on my new Kindle.
These shorts are a great way to get your head back into the Dresden universe, and learn more about some of the characters.
Each one is self-contained, and I enjoyed them all, without remembering or worrying about which books they were set around - as long as you have read the first 6 or 7 of the Dresden files then I don't think you'll find any spoilers here (but if you're worried about that, each story is preceded by author comments, and tells you when they are set - i.e. between book X and book X + 1, so you can check you're read the back stories in the main series before reading each short story if you're worried about the 'proper' sequence for first time reading).
I'm now going back to book 1 of the Dresden files to re-read the whole series.
.. matt ..