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The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Complete Series Set (Books 1-17)

de Jim Butcher

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So fun, I like the mythology. Writing definitely improves after the first few books ( )
  bspar | Jan 1, 2023 |
Ah! Full-fledged Fantasy fodder (magic galore)! How does Magic work in the Dresden Files? Basically, each wizard chose a language to cast spells in, and it had to be a language they weren't fluent in to create a degree of separation between their own fragile minds and the roils of raw magic. For example, "Slumber", "Somnius", and "Neru" were all the exact same spell, with the exact same effect (short range narcolepsy of living beings without magical talent), but they were used by different people depending on what language they chose as mental barrier: English, Latin, or Japanese. (random tangent, but it actually becomes a hilarious plot point that Dresden majorly fucked himself by choosing to cast in Latin, because that disqualifies him from becoming a good Latin speaker... when Latin is the official language used by the wizarding ruling body and exclusively used in their judicial and martial court).

If a wizard decides to cast in something other than their personally selected language, one of two things may happen. In case it's a language that's even more vaguely known to them than their selection, the spells will be much weaker or simply fail. In case it's their own native language... let's just say that the flow of energy would rip them apart at worst or drive them insane at best. They even have something similar to your "nuclear weapon example". When a wizard knows he is close to dying in combat and can't prevent it, they usually convert their last spark of life into a final backlash towards their killer, known as a death curse. And since casting in your native language doesn't lack any of the specificity or raw power of casting in your chosen language (it's just more self destructive, but hey, you were already doomed). ALL wizards cast their death curse in their native language.

In the Dresden universe Butcher takes a broad range of magical aspects from words to ingredients circles and tosses them into a new light. Magical words don't exist but wizards use vague obsolete languages because they give a layer of insulation to the vast searing power of flowing energy through your mind. By all means cast a spell without them but be prepared to have the worst migraine ever. Magical ingredients are magical because you attach an image or function to it in your head blue playdough blue is defensive so you can use it to make a defensive web by spreading the bits around an area. Circles work because it's you're will of creating a barrier that empowers it.

Some other aspects are also explored. Wizards tend to have a natural inclination towards certain aspects of magic. Harry Dresden is by and large good at tracking objects people and good at quick combat magics. There are people who are inclined to other aspects his apprentice is more inclined towards illusion and mind magics. This doesn't mean that Harry can't do illusions or that the apprentice can’t be conjuring shields of force. Just that it doesn't play to their natural strength. As far as power goes it doesn't seem to be tied to how physically buff the caster is. But it is a muscle but some people's muscles are just more naturally bigger than others. But power plays second fiddle to efficiency in this world. Sure Harry can blast out fire hot enough to incinerate the top half a zombie but a far older wizard will simply concentrate that into a smaller area a beam and cleave 20 zombies in half.

All in all, it took almost me 2 years (started it in the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and finished it now; I know, I’m a completist at heart…)…is there anything really new here? Nope. Randall Garrett has done it all before and better in my opinion. As I was getting to the end of “Dead Beat”, book 7, I was considering calling it quits. After the first three I was mild on the series and everybody kept saying read to book 5 which I did and was still mild on it. Then they said go to at least book 7, which I did and was still equally mild. Every book was a two or three star for me and I did not see the quality jump that everyone talks about, so maybe I just have to admit it's not for me. Bucher also has some strong kick ass female characters in there but even the strong ones seem to have this need to have sex with Dresden and are the typical male idea of sexually attractive (Asimov had an excuse; Dresden does not). Alas, no pot of gold at end of the rainbow…

SF = Speculative Fiction ( )
  antao | Sep 22, 2022 |
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