A Review of Two Anthologies Set in a Fun-to-Read Universe from Jim Butcher

Book cover of, Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Restoration of Faith

This one has a Pre-Murphy setting. Although, Harry does meet her in the story but it’s for the first time. As a PI, he’s on a case of a kidnapped child. Of course, things always go wrong in Dresdenverse. The child’s parents who hired him to look for her end up claiming he was the kidnapper. There’s also a troll that needs outwitting. And a touching conversation between the kid and Harry. All, in all, a typical Harry jaunt.

Vignette

As its name would suggest, a brief conversation between Harry and Bob, the skull makes up this story. They argue about what Harry should put in the ad promoting his services. Bob is usual cheeky self.

Something Borrowed

Billy and Georgia have always lent Harry a hand when he comes asking. This time, though, it’s them who need help. Just before their wedding, Georgia goes missing. Harry and Murphy get involved. Another entertaining story.

It’s My Birthday Too

We get to see the two brothers, Harry and Thomas, both in action in this one. A LARPing group who pretend to be vampires meet the real deal. And she won’t stop until she’s killed everybody who made fun of her. Harry has Molly and some shoe-making elves on his side. This story extends the notion that we don’t get to see all that goes on in Harry’s life and that he continues to do good even off-screen. In this example, it is the elves who owe their livelihood and access to quality footwear due to Harry.

Heorot

A good way to let the readers in on the backstories of minor characters is through short stories set in the same universe. In this one, we find out Gard’s. She works for Marcone and I’ve always wanted to know what kinda badass she is. I liked her background and we get to meet Grendel when he kidnaps a woman. Of course, Harry gets right on it.

Day Off

Slapstick humor ensues when Harry tries to take a day off and spend it with Anastasia. As an aside, ugh, I just found out why she was Harry in the first place. It’s just yuck!

Backup

Thomas is Harry’s backup in a case without him knowing it. I don’t know how I feel about Thomas. There’s something about him that is off-putting. And Harry can love him all he wants but I’m reserving judgment.

The Warrior

We get a much-needed look at Michael after his accident and him leaving the Order. Harry realizes that while his friend may not be fighting, the power of his faith is still there. I liked this one a lot.

Last Call

We get to meet a new villain in this one and witness a f/f makeout scene to boot. It is quite similar to the plot of one of the few seasons of True Blood that I did watch.

Love Hurts

When someone begins killing off couples in the city, Murphy calls in Harry to do some detecting. At times, things got scary but thankfully, the duo got to the bottom of it.

Aftermath

Without being spoilery, this story is from Murphy’s POV. Billy comes to her for help and they take on some freaky creatures together.

A good collection that I valued more since I hadn’t read any of the stories when they were featured in other earlier anthologies.

Book cover of, Brief Cases, by Jim Butcher

Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

Curses

Harry is hired to remove the curse on Chicago Cubs. Baseball fans may find this one more interesting than I did. I wasn’t invested in much to care about what went on.

AAAA Wizardry

Presented in the form of a lecture that Harry is giving to younger wizards. I liked that we get out several stories’ worth out of this one because of its structure. But I also would have liked it more had it been slightly more unforgettable.

Even Hand

Marcone gets a visit from Justine who claims she is rescuing a child from the Fomor. But of course, things are never really that straightforward when someone from the White Court is involved. Told from Marcone’s POV, we see how his team measures up against the supes. It tells the readers why he also thought he was confident enough he’d hold his own as a member of the Unseelie Court.

B is for Bigfoot

You’d like the nerdy Irwin, the son of a bigfoot, when you meet him for the first time. So did Harry. Irwin’s being bullied at school and Harry is hired by the father to look into it. Again, it isn’t human kids who are doing the bullying as Harry soon finds out!

I was a Teenage Bigfoot

Hired by Irwin’s mom this time, Harry decides to pay him another visit. He has grown up but is supernaturally ill. Harry also meets a nurse who may be just human but refuses to let that stop her from doing what she can for her charges.

Bigfoot on Campus

We meet the bigfoot scion one more time. His dad gets worried when he begins dating a vampire of the White Court. Harry wades in and finds out things aren’t as simple as they seem. An enjoyable story and I found myself interested in reading about just what kind of power a bigfoot wields.

Bombshells

Molly takes up Harry’s mantle when Thomas goes missing. This one was a big nope for me. I have never liked the way Molly’s written and this the story didn’t change that.

Jury Duty

The story starts with Harry whining about how he’s being called upon for jury duty. When he finally shows, he steps into a comic-like fiasco. The eyewitness who can make the case is missing and Harry goes to find her. The White Court’s involvement results in a fun fight.

Cold Case

Another one from Molly’s POV. She is now a Winter Lady and handling a case of tribute for Mab. While I liked how she struggles to stay human, the thing between her and Romero was just yuck. Why does the author suck at writing female characters so much?

Day One

As the new Knight replacing Michael, Butters has his work cut out for him. I love the spine he showed in solving his problem when Harry refused to hold his hand. A good story and a character that I’d like to read more about.

A Fistful of Warlocks

Another badly handled female character, this story is from Anastasia’s POV. I didn’t like it but that could have been because of the narrator too.

Zoo Day

Harry takes his daughter, Maggie, to the zoo. Accompanying them is Mouse. All of them find themselves in sticky situations that they try to hide from the each other. I’m undecided about Maggie for now. But Mouse is a darling. I’m glad we get to see some of his awesomeness in action.

I liked this collection more than the other one. And now back to reading the full sized novels from this series!

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