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Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files Paperback – December 6, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 458 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Butcher's long-running and bestselling urban fantasy series featuring Chicago wizard PI Harry Dresden were stunned by the concluding events of the 2010 novel Changes. They'll probably want to skip ahead to the last of this collection's 11 stories, "Aftermath," set just hours after the end of that book. With Dresden's fate uncertain, it's his longtime ally, Sgt. Karrin Murphy, who must help find a kidnapped werewolf. This entry is the collection's strongest, full of powerful emotion. The rest of the book is a mixed bag, ranging from Butcher's first attempt at short fiction--"a novice effort" that "wasn't up to par for professional publication"--to more recent tales set around and between the novels. First-timers will be lost, and this uneven volume mostly makes the case that Butcher's talent is best displayed in longer form. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

These are Butcher’s short pieces about Harry Dresden. (Previous novels featuring that character, which the author’s many fans will recall with pleasure, include Proven Guilty, 2006, and White Knight, 2007). Most of these stories are reprints (“Something Borrowed,” “It’s My Birthday, Too,” “Day Off,” and “Last Call” are included), but the collection offers some previously unpublished material. Butcher has not only given the genesis of each story but also indicates where each fits chronologically among the novels. Anyone who likes the Harry Dresden long works probably thinks it’s high time this collection came out. Enjoy, but be warned that there is a sequel to Changes (2010) in the collection. --Frieda Murray --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dresden Files
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451463846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451463845
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (458 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are two reasons for reading this book. The first is that all the previous Harry Dresden short stories are gathered together in one place, including the first, apparently unpublished short story that comes before Storm Front and whose relatively lesser qualities betray its status as one of Butcher's first stories. And yet it also contains some very good sections and passages. Putting this story first gives a real feel for how Butcher has grown as a writer, and would probably be inspiring to any novice writers out there. But you have "Vignette," "Something Borrowed" (in which Harry for once is intentionally, and quite effectively, rude to a wicked stepmother), "It's my birthday too," "Heorot," "Day off" (the only genuinely comedic Dresden work), "Backup," "The Warrior," (perhaps the most philosophical of the Dresden works), "Last Call," and "Love Hurts." Each is marked by the books which bracket it and they come in chronological order. Along the way it's not hard to be reminded of Butcher's penchant for homage to his favorite stories, films, and TV shows, as well as his gift for creating effective scenes of tension between main characters. Pretty much everyone in Dresden's Chicago appears at one time or another, and some side plots and characters get fleshed out in these stories in ways that would be hard to duplicate in the main novels.

The second reason for reading this book is, of course, the final story in the book. "Aftermath" takes place shortly after the end of "Changes," a book certain to win the World Fantasy Award for Most Apt Title.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First things first: if you're picking this up because you're hoping that the included novella, _Aftermath_, will answer the huge cliffhanger at the end of Changes: it doesn't, not clearly. No big answers here (though many of the stories, including Aftermath, will include plenty of small details to please and tease dedicated fans).

Instead, this collection is a set of alternate perspectives: stories from the viewpoint of Thomas or Murphy, a story that shows us Harry when he was just starting out as a detective, a story that focuses on Harry when he's *not* working on a case and just trying to take a day off, a story that focuses on the Carpenter family, so forth. Butcher includes a paragraph or two of commentary at the head of each story, so we get to find out what *his* perspective is on each of the stories, too. A fair number of them were initially written for theme anthologies, so there's a certain amount of "Harry Dresden Does a Wedding Story" or "Harry Dresden Does a Birthday Story" going on, but each stands on its own merits, and fans of the series will be very satisfied with what they get here (as long as they aren't looking for answers to major plot arcs).

In fact, I'd go so far as to call this a "must read" for dedicated fans of the Dresden books: not only does each story have plenty of the action, comedy, and "Crowning Moments of Awesome" that have made the series so successful to date, but dedicated fans will find answers too all kinds of minor side puzzles that Butcher hasn't necessarily addressed head-on in the novels (like more information about Gard's true nature).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you think Harry Dresden is hot and you are dying for a fix before the next book comes out, then this collection of short stories is four star fun.

If you've never read Jim Butcher before, put the book down and get out of the bookstore, please. SIDE JOBS only illustrates that short stories are not where Butcher's main talent lies. This isn't a a critique of one of my favorite fantasy series writers. Butcher has produced 12 stellar books in the Dresden Files series, each one fresh and fun and more riveting than the next. Once an artist has shown himself capable of painting the Sistine Chapel, so what if he can't do Victorian miniatures for watch fobs?

Most of these stories feel like bits broken off of a Dresden Files novel, or odd events happening between the books. They don't have strong independent narratives or interesting short story twists.

But because I love Harry Dresden (and miss him terribly) I liked most of the stories in this book. The first seems to be the weakest, having interest because its the first Dresden story Butcher wrote. The last "AFTERMATH" is a poignant but action-packed novella focusing on Karin Murphy as she and Harry's other friends react to events that follow the stunning conclusion to CHANGES, the 12th book of the series.

It's not a bad story but don't buy the book thinking it will give you clues to the next full length book. It doesn't. This collection also contains "BACKUP", a story narrated by Thomas, Harry's vampire brother. I found it fun to step back from Harry's point of view in these stories, but they also illustrate that while Karin and Thomas are fun supporting characters, they don't have either the wit or the gravitas of our favorite fire-slinging wizard, Harry Dresden. Recommended only to fans of the Dresden Files who are twitching for a fix until Book # 13.
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