The Dresden Files is a series of books about a magical detective in Chicago, in modern times, written by Jim Butcher. Its an exploration of a number of fables and folklore associated with magic. Most of it is European origin, but there’s also some other parts incorporated into the mish-mash, as best the author could combine them. It doesn’t always make a great story, or hold together coherently, and the author freely advises new readers to skip the first two books (Storm Front and Fool Moon) and go to #3 Grave Peril. The writing is considerably better and more consistent at that point, and he gets better as they go.
However, while this is a series which builds on events and you need to read them in order, eventually you’re going to reach a natural stopping point, and you’ll know when that is. You really will. At that point the books and setting kind of go off the rails, and while its only halfway through the predicted duration of 24-30 books total, I get the idea that Butcher is getting tired of these characters, and a bored writer is unproductive, and tends to get sloppy too. I speak from personal experience there. He signed a contract but its probable these books will be some time coming. After the initial flurry of a book every 24 months, and an exploration of a few topics or folklore or religion in each story, he started writing other stuff as a distraction, probably more fun for him to do and fun writing is easy to write. It doesn’t drag at you. The Dresden Files starts fun and irreverent and is enjoyable horror-fiction. The books after the big change in the setting have been a bit of a slog, and like with Iain Banks, you have to understand, as a reader, that FINISHING the series isn’t actually necessary if it isn’t fun.
I encourage people who grew up reading the Harry Potter books, this is the grown-up version, though it was started at the same time as that other series. It was NOT inspired by it, in case you wondered. It references it and Buffy in the course of the books. Potter never references Buffy or Dresden, but Rowling went for timeless rather than timely. And now we know Whedon was a #fake feminist, sleeping with his underaged stars, according to his ex-wife and confirmed by some of the actors from that show. The only annoying feature of Dresden Files is Jim Butcher is a serious Christian and sometimes he gets preachy. There’s also a certain amount of repetition for new readers to understand some setting aspects, like the Soul Gaze. I personally think he should have left that out, but that’s what he chose to include so he’s stuck with it.
I can’t recommend the Dresden Files TV series. It isn’t terrible, but its kind of low budget and only lasted a short season, suffering from bad ratings. It covers parts of Storm Front and Fool Moon (lite versions) in it, at least. But its flawed. Harry Dresden is played by an actor about 15 years too old though he’s good at getting the world weary feel. The special effects are inexpensive and don’t age well, so the series ends up more like Sabrina the Teenage Witch than the darker Dresden Files books.
That said, I think this series would make a great American Anime show. There’s already work being done to re-release the books as comics, and they’re quality work. A season or half season per book plus the intervening short stories and side stories? This would be great if animated like Heavy Metal or one of the more ornate Japanese gothic shows like Trinity Blood or Last Exile. Stylish and dark and churning with voice actors who emote properly, like the Japanese do. Not one-take wonders who end up flat.
The audiobooks of the novels are excellent. James Marsters, who played Spike in the Buffy TV series, reads them, complete with voices. Its top-quality work. You have to hear it to realize its him. You got so used to the English accent. This was careful training, btw. He’s a California boy, from Chico if the site I read was accurate. Wherever he’s from he’s still working and is a really great voice actor and I respect the heck out of him.
I think if Dresden Files become an anime it will be popular and if done with quality, receive critical support in the post-Hollywood era we’re entering. All those superhero movies wear on you, and I’m utterly disinterested in paying for yet another ticket that’s way too expensive for something which isn’t honest about what it is. When movies are 80% cartoons, why not go the remaining 20%? Marvel and DC did those BEFORE they got the big budget treatment with Miramax and Disney. I’d enjoy watching Dresden Files as part of Adult Swim or Netflix or Amazon animated content. Why the heck not?