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Cover illustration by: Chris McGrath
Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: The Dresden Files (Book #15.1 of 25)
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 444 pages (US Kindle edition)
Published: 5th June 2018 by Orbit (UK) & Roc (US)
This collection, especially Zoo Day, is mostly worth it just for the non-Harry’s POV stories.
I’ve mentioned that I didn’t enjoy reading Side Jobs, the first collection of short stories and novellas in the world of The Dresden Files series. Brief Cases is the second collection of short stories in The Dresden Files, and it was overall a slightly better reading experience. But I’m still surprised by the immensely high average ratings given to this book. I guess it’s worth remembering that Brief Cases was first published during the long years of wait for Peace Talks to come out, and if I were put in the situation where I get to read this collection of short stories after I’ve waited for a long time for the new book to come out, I probably would’ve counted a new Dresden Files content as Christmas gifts.
“At the end of the day, the greatest power Harry has is in lifting up the people around him.”
As I said, I think this collection is worth the read just to get inside the mind of the other characters in the main series. I’m not a fan of Harry Dresden’s short stories; I found them way too short to have a lasting impact on me. Harry’s story seems to follow the same exact formula; Harry has a mini-quest to do, he got into a short conflict, and Harry won the day. I get that there’s a formulaic nature in the main series as well, but the content there reflected importance in the overarching stories, world-building, and character development. And that’s what I feel were fundamentally missing from the short stories here.
Similar to every collection of short stories, there were some stories that I liked and some that I didn’t. I enjoyed reading Day One, and I felt a bit so-so towards Molly’s set of stories—a shame because I thought I would love reading her stories. I would, however, say that the last title in this collection, Zoo Day, was wholesome to the max. I loved reading Zoo Day a lot; it means a lot to Harry, Maggie, and Mouse to have this day going for them, especially after all the destruction and sadness that keeps on happening in their lives. Plus, Mouse has a POV on this story. I was smiling throughout this story, and it put me in a good mood.
“You humans have the potential to be the most wonderful beings there are—if you can get past all these enormous stupid spots you seem to have in your hearts. It’s not your fault. You just don’t know how to work your hearts right yet. That’s why there are dogs. I think it’s nice to know your purpose.”
I loved The Dresden Files, but even then, I still have to say that only the super die-hard fans of the series would enjoy both Side Jobs and Brief Cases thoroughly. I look forward to reading Peace Talks and Battle Ground next week.
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