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Here, together for the first time, are the shorter tales from Jim Butcher's DRESDEN FILES series — a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes.

+ "Restoration of Faith"
+ "Vignette"
+ "Something Borrowed" -- from My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
+ "It's My Birthday Too" -- from Many Bloody Returns
+ "Heorot" -- from My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
+ "Day Off" -- from Blood Lite
+ "Backup" -- novelette from Thomas' point of view, originally published by Subterranean Press
+ "The Warrior" -- novelette from Mean Streets
+ "Last Call" -- from Strange Brew
+ "Love Hurts" -- from Songs of Love and Death
+ Aftermath -- all-new novella from Murphy's point of view, set forty-five minutes after the end of Changes

418 pages, Hardcover

First published October 26, 2010

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About the author

Jim Butcher

283 books46.8k followers
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri.

Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.

All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,332 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
September 11, 2020
2.5/5 stars

Back Up, The Warrior, and Aftermath were the only noteworthy stories in Side Jobs for me.

“Whenever it gets too dark, think of the good things you have, the good times you've had. It will help. I promise.”

This is a short review. Side Jobs is a collection of short stories and novellas in The Dresden Files series. The title of this collection says it all already; these stories are side jobs, and most of them are, in my opinion, forgettable. Although I do enjoy reading novellas occasionally, I must admit that novellas and short stories rarely proved to be satisfying for me. Why am I reading this then? Simple, I love The Dresden Files, and my completionist side won’t let me back down from reading every available story in this universe without an honest attempt. Unfortunately, I really didn’t enjoy reading this collection. I did schedule myself into reading two stories per day to ease the boredom, but even with that method, only three titles were at least worth the read. The point of a collection of short stories in an already established universe is to develop the side characters or world-building further, and I didn’t get that satisfaction here. Butcher did mention at the beginning of each title that there’s a specific theme to each of them. However, it all proceeded in a very similar “Harry want to do something to Harry getting in trouble into Harry winning.” I won’t be doing a short review on any of them; the three stories that made an impression on me were Back Up, The Warrior, and Aftermath—I enjoyed these because they offered a deeper look into Thomas, Michael, and Murphy’s character. The rest? I’ll probably forget them within a week or two.

“Harry Dresden. Saving the world, one act of random destruction at a time.”

Overall, I think Side Jobs will be worth the money only for those who are super diehard fans of the main series. I loved The Dresden Files; it’s a great series, and Changes was absolutely incredible, it was easily the peak of the series so far for me. But I guess my fanboyism of the series hasn’t reached the level where I would be glad to just read about the characters doing the same old thing in a different situation non-stop. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to finish the next collection of stories—Brief Cases—or not yet, but I’ll at least give it a try and see whether it improved for me or not first.

Picture: Side Jobs by Vincent Chong

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Devin, Hamad, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Zoe.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
February 24, 2020
This is a series of short stories listed as Dresden 12.5 and after his 12th Dresden novel Changes.

These are a collection of shorter works from throughout the Dresden files but many are around the time of Changes, Turn Coat and Small Favor. Thematically, these are not just short stories related to the series, but actually tie in to the series and build the storyline. That said, I kind of messed up and gave myself some spoilers by reading since I am not that far in the series, so:

Dresden fans, READ THESE IN ORDER.

OK, so since I’ve spoiled some of the fun moving forward for myself, I have at least saved many a Dresden fan from some spoilers.

BTW: I am a victim of one of the most egregious spoiler alerts of all time. It is the summer of 1980 and a friend and I are in the theater watching Empire Strikes Back. I had not previously seen the film and we were in the pre-internet Ice Ages so I was literally watching and learning as the film reel wound out. At the time we are somewhere during the Hoth scenes. No Kidding, I could not make this up. My friend leans over, we’re both about 11 or 12 at the time and says, “Oh! You know Darth Vader is Luke’s father right?” To this day, almost 40 years later, I have not forgiven him.

So anyway, these are good stories, ranging from the mildly humorous: “Something Borrowed” and “Day Off” to the somber “The Warrior” and “Aftermath”. Taking place between the novels throughout, these function to add depth and characterization and world building to the Dresden universe. Two stories break with tradition and are told not from Harry’s perspective but from Thomas’ and Murphy.

Good fun and an anthology that Dresden fans and will not want to miss, BUT after you’ve read all the way through Changes.

Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,058 followers
February 6, 2017
This is an excellent collection of short stories, all part of the Harry Dresden universe, and each one introduced by the author showing where it fits the overall story line and why he wrote it. The final one, Aftermath, is a massive spoiler for his book Changes, but as long as you have read past there then it is not a problem:)
I have read the whole series and wait each year in anticipation of the next book so this was an ideal read for me. All of the stories are good, some short, some long, some serious, some very funny. Some are not even told from Harry's perspective although he is still there. Notable for this is Backup, told from Thomas's point of view and great for giving a whole different view on Thomas, Harry and their relationship.
If you like the Dresden Files then you will enjoy this.
Profile Image for Steven.
1,067 reviews383 followers
August 31, 2020
Great collection of short stories. The best was the last one, for sure. I love Karrin Murphy.

I really liked those from other characters' perspectives. It was nice to see through someone's eyes other than Harry's!
Profile Image for Lightreads.
641 reviews525 followers
November 12, 2010
Dresden Files short stories. Jim Butcher’s capacity to write about sexual assault and rape without having any idea that he’s doing it will never cease to amaze me. That’s the uniting theme of this collection – Harry Dresden, magical slugfests, and rape culture, woo! I think my favorite bit was Harry getting turned on by watching Murphy make out with another woman on the magical equivalent of a date rape drug, and then lying to her about what happened later because it would just bother her to know. Awesome. Oh, wait, wait, no, my favorite was really when Thomas unloads all his vampire angst for pages and pages, then uses his mojo to rape a woman to death. No, I’m wrong. My absolute favorite has to be when a woman who was once mind-whammied into having a relationship with Harry that she wouldn’t have otherwise later apologizes to Harry for it. The fact that she’s a rape victim doesn’t actually make Harry a rapist, but it makes her apologizing incredibly fucked up. Perhaps nearly as fucked up as Jim Butcher not having any apparent idea he’s doing any of this shit.

. . .Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Oh, you know, it’s Jim Butcher. The emotional palate hits a peak complexity somewhere around the eleventh grade boy level, and most conflicts get resolved by a metaphorical dick-measuring contest, and I quite enjoyed a few of these stories. Like you do sometimes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stacey.
266 reviews449 followers
December 19, 2010
The most important thing is that I got my Harry Dresden "fix." Everytime I read one of these books, I tear through it like a hyperactive child in a bulk candy story. Well, this anthology, the thing that is supposed to get me to the next release... it was okay. Some of the stories were better than others. "Aftermath," the anticipated novella told right after the ending of Changes, was a disappointment.

The story itself was a typical Dresden universe tale, with the requisite slime, kicking, intrigue and bad guys. Sadly, Murphy's voice sounded exactly like Dresden. She had the exact same self-deprecating tone, same observations, same descriptions of events; the only thing that was substantially different is that she didn't say "Hell's Bells" every third page. *sigh* C'mon people, learn to swear!

The rest of the stories were a mixed bag, one was the first Dresden story Butcher ever wrote, and as such, it was rough, but entertaining. All (except "Aftermath") were released in prior anthologies, or on the web, prior to Side Jobs, with the exception of "Back-up," which was originally a very limited release from Subterranean Press.

Readers should note that if you are not entirely caught up on the series, there are spoilers galore throughout the collection, especially in "Aftermath." If you are enthusiastic about The Dresden Files, DO NOT READ this one until you have finished all the regular novels.

File this one under "Guilty Pleasures," (for which I still need to make a shelf,) and I'm glad I was able to borrow it from a friend. This assuages my guilt over being a fangirl for one of the most chauvinistic (but in a "nice" way,) popular characters in fiction.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
725 reviews1,204 followers
September 25, 2017
[4.5 stars] All the Dresden fun, but with a few alternate POV’s like Murphy and Thomas to sweeten the deal – sign me up! I enjoyed this compilation of novellas immensely – maybe even slightly more than the last couple of novels. Every story brought something new and interesting to the table, and I kind of wish I had read them alongside the novels chronologically. Overall, I’d say don’t skip this one – it’s every bit as worth your time as the main series itself.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com
May 29, 2019
I picked up this audiobook read by James Marsters (Spike from "Buffy" and "Angel") because I enjoyed listening to "Death Masks" so much on audio. He has a great voice. Marsters takes you into the world of Harry Dresden in a fully immersive fashion. I always wonder how voice actors remember how to keep the different voices consistent, and Marsters is awesome at it. His pitch and cadence for each character, particularly Dresden, is spot on. He doesn't lose the thread from story to story. I like that despite the gender and age, the voice is fitting for the character.

Some thoughts on the stories (in general):

I didn't take notes on each story because I was too busy, so I'll have to keep things a bit less descriptive. Some of the stories, I've read before in other collections. Some were new to me. I havent' read by "Death Masks" so I did spoil myself slightly, but I can live with it. It wasn't a deal breaker. That's something I would warn readers about if they pick this up. If they are sticklers for reading books in order, this would be an issue.

Story order (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

"A Restoration of Faith"
This takes us back to when Harry was still apprenticing to get his PI license and he saves a girl who goes missing from a Troll that literally lives under a bridge. I freaking love that in this book, there are real trolls in Chicago. I'm geeky about fae and mythical creatures like that. This also shows when Dresden met Murphy, what a portentous event in his life. I liked seeing Harry as a raw newbie.

A very short piece of fiction in which Harry discusses what should go on his business card with Bob, the fire spirit that lives in a skull in his lab. Gives you an accurate perspective of Harry's personality.

"Something Borrowed"
I read this in "My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding". It was nice to hear the audio version. There's a lot of story in this, from showing Harry's relationship with people who he's helped in the past, or who have fought with him, to a rematch with a very dangerous and vengeful enemy that Harry's encountered, out for blood and destroy him and those he loves.

"It's My Birthday, Too"

I have a thing for Harry's brother Thomas. He's hot! I liked seeing them interact in this book, and there is a whole lot of action. Harry's apprentice Molly is a big part of the story, along with some shoe cobbler elves. Yes, you heard me right. Let's not forget the vamp LARPers and real vamps as well.


This is was new story to me. Wow, it was super creepy, and a very interesting way to integrate beer into a story. This one is from "Strange Brew," which I haven't read yet. The monster in this story was oh, so gross, and has some neat literary/folkloric origins. Harry's fighting alongside Gard, a bodyguard for the mobster Marcone, who is a lot older than you'd think.

"Harry's Day Off"

So much for getting time off. Harry was supposed to be taking it easy and getting ready for a date, but he has to help his wolf shifter friends end up with a case of magical mites, and Molly tries to blow up his lab. This story was written with a specifically humorous focus. I think that Dresden has a lot of nice sarcastic humor spread throughout the narrative, but the goofy factor is a little more amped in this story.


Backup is strictly from the view of Thomas Raith, and I wasn't mad about that. Thomas is very intriguing. The ultimate bad boy. He has a dark beast simmering beneath the surface, ready to pounce and take control at any moment. Marsters created a voice that is absolutely perfect for Thomas and very singular and different from Harry. I highly recommend listening this on audiobook.

"The Warrior"

I listened to this one in "Mean Streets" not too long ago. Loved it both times. For those Dresden fans (including myself) who have a soft spot for the Carpenters, this a story for you. It's very much about Michael and his family and the power of being a warrior for the light, even when outside people don't get the sacrifice it entails. It also shows how small acts can have such monumental results. Harry learned that being a warrior for the light isn't always about picking up a sword.

"Last Call"

If you ever watched Season 2 of True Blood, you will find that story arc very relevant to this story. It's about a creature who uses her relationship with Bacchus/Dionysus to control others mentally through beer. I liked this one a lot because I always like when Harry and Murphy team up.

"Love Hurts"

A strange story that puts the undertones to Harry and Murphy's relationship in the spotlight due to unique circumstances. I wasn't 100% satisfied with the resolution.


"Aftermath" is so spoilery I can't give any details. Suffice it to say it's from Murphy's viewpoint and it gives some insight into Murphy's feelings for Dresden and the importance of their relationship to her.

Overall thoughts: Definitely well worth getting the audiobook to listen to. James Marsters is so great for narrating Dresden, not just Harry but all the other characters. I love this series.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,930 reviews10.6k followers
November 17, 2010
Side Jobs is a collection of Harry Dresden short stories.

A Restoration of Faith: Harry goes on a missing persons case and winds up tangling with a troll.

Not a bad story but not particularly good either. It's the first Dresden story Jim Butcher wrote and it shows. While entertaining, it has some glaring flaws, like the ten year old talking like she's 25 and the existence of a manhole on a bridge. I may be ignorant of some things but I don't imagine a lot of bridges have manholes on them. Still, all the Dresden hallmarks are there. It even introduces Murphy.

Vignette: Harry and Bob discuss Harry's business card.

This was less of a short story and more of something that got snipped from a novel.

Something Borrowed: Billy and Georgia, the Alpha werewolves are about to get hitched when something goes amiss.

This felt like a genuine short story and was the first one in the book I reallly liked. Jenny Greenteeth was pretty scary.

It's My Birthday, Too: Harry goes to visit Thomas on his birthday and winds up interrupting a LARP game, which is then interrupted by Black Court vampires.

Another winner. I'm beginning to think I like Harry Dresden in smaller doses.

Heorot: A man's wife gets kidnapped at a beer festival and Harry is on the case. But what does it have to do with a keg of stolen mead and Gard, Marconi's lady enforcer?

Dresden goes up against a monster straight out of Norse myth in this one and gets his ass handed to him in Dresden fashion. Not bad but Harry's mouth gets on my nerves after a while.

Day Off: Harry Dresden tries to enjoy a day off with Anastasia. Hilarity ensues.

This one was great. It start with Harry playing Dungeons and Dragons with some werewolves and just gets better. All manner of humorous catastrophes befall Dresden as he gets ready for his date.

Backup: See my review of the Backup novella.

The Warrior: Someone's targetting Michael Carpenter and it's up to Harry to stop him. Or are things much more complicated than they seem...

Set after the events of Small Favor, The Warrior features the return of Michael Carpenter to the scene, as well as the rest of the supporting cast attached to him, including the two holy swords that Butcher ignored for a couple books. The story is much more intricate than it first seemed.

Last Call: A trip to McAnally's reveals that the place has been trashed and magically tainted beer is to blame. Can Harry get to the bottom of things?

This is one of those stories that makes me think Jim Butcher and I wouldn't hang out if we knew each other. I probably would have enjoyed it if I hadn't just read all of these other Dresden short stories but after a few stories in a row, I just can't turn a blind eye to the sexism. The same way I get the idea that Jim Thompson wasn't all there, I get the idea that Jim Butcher is a misogynist who thinks he's hilarious.

Love Hurts: Couples turn up dead and Harry and Murphy track them to a state fair.

Once again, Butcher teases the Murphy-Dresden love affair but leaves us hanging. The story isn't too bad though.

Aftermath: In the aftermath of Harry's disappearane at the end of Changes, Murphy struggles to fill the void as she tracks down Georgia, a missing werewolf and uncovers a lot of other supernatural activity.

Ok. This one was great and makes me want to read the next Dresden Files book. The power vacuum left by the demise of the Red Court has all sorts of possibilities, some hinted at in this story. Best story in the book.

So, that's it for Side Jobs. I liked some of the stories and hated others but it convinced me to stick with Jim Butcher through one more Harry Dresden novel.
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 6 books38 followers
November 12, 2019
First read Oct-Nov '10; read again Dec '10; re-read "Day Off," "Backup," "Something Borrowed," and "The Warrior" Oct '14; re-read "The Warrior" 6/6/15; re-read "It's My Birthday, Too" Valentine's Day 2017.
Re-read front to back 2018.
Re-read "Restoration of Faith," "Something Borrowed," “Day Off,” "Backup," and "The Warrior" Oct-Nov 2019.

Listed in the order I first read them, according to my whim.
"Vignette" -- Interesting to see an early draft similar to several Harry-Bob conversations that made it into books.
"Restoration of Faith" -- Cute. I enjoyed seeing how Harry and Murphy met. Despite the apologetic preface about this story being a beginner’s effort, I like it more than either “Last Call” or “Love Hurts.”
"The Warrior" -- Love it. It's interesting to see Michael finally (and justifiably) lose his cool. See review for Mean Streets.
"Backup" -- Interesting, although not quite what I'd expected. The plot adds a new layer to the problems of the Dresdenverse and Thomas' life, and getting a look inside Thomas' head makes me more sympathetic toward him than ever.
"Something Borrowed" -- Fun. I especially love how Harry deals with the wicked step-mother-in-law, but the chaos at the wedding and the twist on the fairy tale are good, too.
"It's My Birthday, Too" -- Perfect reading for Halloween, although it's set on Valentine's Day. The part about the shoe store is adorable, and I always like it when Harry and Thomas work together.
"Heorot" -- Very good. Despite having an English degree, I never took Old English and have never read all of Beowulf (nor seen the recent movie), so I had to look up "Heorot" and "Geat." So I learned something because of this story. :-) Good action-adventure.
“Aftermath” -- Very good. Lots of action and a good way to transition from Changes to the next book to come. I really enjoyed seeing things from Murphy’s POV. I liked learning more about how she’s learned to get along in a man’s world, including her understanding and use of ‘guy language.’ Also interesting to get her thoughts about Harry. However, there are a few places where I thought Murphy's voice sounds too much like Harry's. I know people's speech patterns can rub off on each other over time, though, and Harry and Murphy have been friends for at least ten years. I’ve always liked Will (Billy) the werewolf, and his interaction with Murphy is interesting. Gard is becoming an increasingly intriguing character.
“Day Off” -- Funny and a bit naughty. It's not really much of a stretch to do a Dresden story that’s mostly comedy, since there are a lot of hilarious things in the books. The only difference with this story is that, for a change, no one’s really trying to kill Harry. The Molly portion of this story is especially funny.
"Last Call" -- Rather weird, even for the Dresdenverse. Butcher just had to do something to Murphy I'd rather he hadn't. But how Harry finally takes out his attackers is funny in a cartoonish kind of way.
"Love Hurts" --Something about this didn't quite work for me.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,030 reviews164 followers
April 7, 2019
This is a collection of short stories ranging from super short to novella length presented in chronological order. The first is before Storm Front, and the last is after Changes. Butcher gives a brief history of how each story came about. Some stories contain spoilers for previous books. I think I like Dresden in shorter chunks. Narrated by James Marsters.

Restoration of Faith ☆☆☆
An early story by Butcher that’s a prequel to the whole series.

Vignette ☆☆☆☆
A very short bit about Harry reviewing his phone book ad with advice from Bob. Light and funny.

Something Borrowed ☆☆☆☆
A novelette about Billy (Will) and Georgia’s wedding. Very good.

It’s My Birthday Too ☆☆☆1/2
Harry tries to get Thomas something for his birthday but work gets in the way.

Heorot ☆☆☆1/2
A creepier story involving tainted beer and Marcone’s secretary, Gard.

Day Off ☆☆☆☆
A short humorous piece about Harry trying to take a day off from work. More slapstick than normal.

Backup ☆☆☆1/2
Novelette from Thomas’s point of view where he has to work on a case involving Harry without Harry knowing.

The Warrior ☆☆☆☆
A novelette about Michael, whom we didn’t see much of after his injury. I was glad he wasn’t dead and that we see more of him here. This story has some really tender moments.

Last Call ☆☆☆
A bit of a strange story involving beer, Dionysus, and mind control.

Love Hurts ☆☆☆
Murphy and Harry investigate a carnival that appears to be involved in love spells.

Aftermath ☆☆☆1/2
Novella from Murphy’s point of view that takes place right after “Changes.” Murphy has to work a case without Dresden, as he’s unavailable.


Book Blog
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,820 followers
January 10, 2011
Note: On advice from Sandi, thank you Sandi, I make note here that if you haven't read Changes you should read it before you read (at least the final story in) this book as it will give away the end of said novel. Also it has been advised that I warn you not to read the synopsis of the next Dresden book, due to be released this April.

Thanks again Sandi for the heads up.

This may have been the closest to a 4 star rating I've come for a Butcher Dresden effort. This is a collection of short stories/novelettes that have (except for one) appeared else where. I didn't get into the story that featured Thomas much...just me. I'm probably just a Dresden addict. Because of that I briefly considered a 4 but then I went on and I believe the story Day Off decided me on the 5 star rating. I laughed out loud in an empty room...alone but for a cat I laughed so hard it was, well, laughable :).

I must admit to one fault here... I opened the book to the back first and read Aftermath, which takes place just after the end of Changes. I'm holding on not wanting to "wish my life away" as my mother would have said (especially at my age) but dying for Ghost Story to be released.

So, great book some action, some laughs, some details about Harry you might not have picked up if you've only read the novels. We get a little insight into Mac, see a little more about Murphy and Harry and...all in all get a good read. I'm going 5 stars and recommending this one also.
Profile Image for Vikas.
Author 3 books145 followers
April 18, 2020
Having started the Dresden files series books after buying graphic novels based on them made me read till 14th book and there's still 15th book but I went ahead with this collection of short stories set in the world of Dresden Files set after Changes but contains many short stories based between different books. We have the very first short story with Harry which is mentioned many times and now I finally know the story. Also, there are many interesting short stories showing the story from the perspective by another character like Harry's vampire half-brother Thomas and his friend Murphy both were good in fact Murphy's short story novella picks right after Changes to it was nice.

I hadn't read any short stories from Dresden Files because I just started the series this year after meaning to read it for a long time. If you haven't read any short story set in the world of Dresden Files then do give this one a chance and you shall not be disappointed.

There are many short stories and I mostly liked them all, and the good thing is that before every short story there are notes by Mr. Butcher about the reason behind the short story and that sets up the story perfectly.

So just go ahead give it a chance but only once you have finished Changes.

People who don't read generally ask me my reasons for reading. Simply put I just love reading and so to that end I have made it my motto to just Keep on Reading. I love to read everything except for Self Help books but even those once in a while. I read almost all the genre but YA, Fantasy, Biographies are the most. My favorite series is, of course, Harry Potter but then there are many more books that I just adore. I have bookcases filled with books which are waiting to be read so can't stay and spend more time in this review, so remember I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.
Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures).
1,550 reviews865 followers
January 10, 2020
Side Jobs features several short stories in the world of The Dresden Files. Each story takes place before or after a novel in the series. If you haven’t read the series then I’d recommend starting the series and reading them in-between the novels they are showcased or wait until you finished reading up to and through Changes. Some of the short stories can stand on their own, but many fill in gabs or give us a better understand of the world, relationships, and characters.

The one that you should not read as a stand-alone is, Aftermath. It comes after the events of Changes and that novel as the title says Changes everything and will be a spoiler. A few others are spoiler like; The Warrior & Something Borrowed.

Below is my thoughts on each short story. All are amazing and this book is well worth reading if you are a Dresden fan.

Restoration of Faith
Takes place before Storm Front

This one showcases Harry. It’s the first time he and us meet of Murphy for the first time. A kid who’s not happy with her situation runs away. Harry tells her that you have to hold onto the good and not let the dark sneak in. 

It was fun to see that first interaction/meet of Harry and Murphy. There is always a choose that determines who you will be. What your values are.

Rated: 4 Stars

Takes place between Death Masks and Blood Rites

Bob and Harry discussing Harry’s advertisement in the paper and how it needs more pizzazz.

This was a fun and humorous one. I laughed/chuckled.

Rated: 4 Stars

Something Borrowed 
Takes place between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty
Murphy, Harry, Billy & Georgia are all featured. We get to see Bill and Georgia’s wedding, but things don’t go as planned. An evil stepmother, something else try to thwart the wedding, and true loves kiss.

Sweet, exciting, and will they be dead in the morning or make it through.

Rated: 4 Stars

It’s My Birthday, Too
Takes place between white Night and Small Favor

Harry, Molly, and Thomas are featured. It’s Thomas’s Birthday on Valentines Day. Harry has a present for him, but while dropping it off things take a turn into Disastrous. 

A human who finds vampires and wants revenge on those that wronged her. Full of death and destruction. What’s the Dresden world.

Rated: 4 Stars

Takes place between White Night and Small Favor

Mac, Gard, Mouse, & Harry are featured. Dresden teams up with Gard to help save a girl who’s been kidnapped by a Grendelkin. In the process we learn what Guard is and her real name.

This was a nice surprise. I didn’t know what Guard is and now I do. Mouse I love him.

Rated: 4 Stars

Day Off
Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat

Harry’s got a day off and he’s planning to spend it with Anastasia. As you figure out things don't go as planned. It’s one issue after another to keep his day off not being a day off, but Harry can’t turn down helping his friends and he wouldn’t change the day.

In true Harry fashion he dons’t get time off and it's one fun, silly, and weird day.

Rated: 4 Stars

Takes places between Small Favor and Turn Coat

This one features Thomas, Harry’s half brother, and vampire. It’s his POV. We see Thomas’s struggles with his other side, balancing his world and being in Harry’s life, and a secret war besides the Wizard/Vampire war going on, another hidden one.

I enjoyed seeing the Vampire side and Thomas. I know what happens to him, so seeing this was bitter sweet.

Rated: 4 Stars

The Warrior
Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat and before “Last Call”

This one features Michael, Dresdens friend and former Knights of the Cross. It showcase Michael and his family after some events that changed his life. He’s in danger and so are the swards that Harry is holding on.

I don’t usually like when Real Religion is brought into the world/stories, but Jim Butcher has a way of making it work in his world. This was a powerful read.

Rated 4.5 Stars

Last Call
Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat

Harry shows up at Mac’s bar to find everyone passed out and a the place looking like a brawl happened. Harry and Murphy go on the hunt to find out who’s enchanting Mac’s beer and why. No one should have messed with Mac’s bar since it’s neutral ground.

A fun read with the usual running around and figuring out what’s up. Harry and Murphy have always been a great team.

Rated: 4 Stars

Love Hurts
Takes place between Turn Coat and Changes

Murphy and Harry team up again to solve what is happening to couples. Three couples have been murdered and the last one was messed up. Who’s meddling with peoples minds and making them fall in love. What they find is that love hurts

Its love gone wrong or is it right? Another supernatural trying to wipe out another supernatural power through a different type of method.

Rated: 4 Stars

Takes places the hours after the end of Changes

**WARNING: Do Not Read unless you have read Changes. You will be spoiled.

Murphy and Harry are going on a date, finally, but what she finds is blood all over the boat he’s staying at and no Harry around. If every the Alpha’s needed help Harry told them to go to Murphy. Here Will and Murphy team up to find Georgia, Will’s missing wife and along the way uncover something more. We see that Murphy is not inflatable, that she’s dealing with Harry’s vanishment and taking up his mental until he returns. We have a new guard.

All I can say is OMG. I felt for Murphy. I cried. I was on the edge of my set. So so good.

Rated: 4.5 Stars

Profile Image for Donna.
3,903 reviews21 followers
September 4, 2020
Re-Read Update: I can't believe how much of this I have forgotten. The short stories gave more detail on Murphy and Thomas which was nice. I think the author has built a nice little "pod" of great characters that work well together. The whole series benefits from this. Still 5 stars.


It's been a year and a half since I listened to a Harry Dresden book. I have to laugh here because my next statement is such a book-nerd statement. I really really missed HARRY in my life. I love this series for so many reasons....the world building, the creative characters, the NARRATOR of the audios, just to name a few.

This book is a collection of short stories. Now short stories is a genre I can only handle in moderation but this collection was perfection. There were a couple of stories that weren't told from Harry's POV, and I thought that would bother me (given my Harry crush), but I liked them, especially Murphy's story. Well done.
Profile Image for Hank.
796 reviews73 followers
August 28, 2020
As usual with collections, some good, some just ok. I liked it overall. My favorites were "It's my Birthday Too" and "Day off"
Profile Image for Assaph Mehr.
Author 5 books385 followers
May 14, 2018
This is an anthology of short stories, that take place throughout the Dresden Files series (in between novels). The writing and tone are on par with the rest of the series, and make up a good read for Dresden fans waiting for the next full novel to come out.

While the stories in this collection are not directly related to the arcs, they do happen in between major events and thus make more sense when you know the background. Conversely, there some references in the main novels that refer to events from the short stories - though in the novels these are passing references, and do not detract from the reading experience.

I read this after binge reading the series. It's as good a way to read the shorts as any, but if you chose to read them while reading the main novels there's a note at the beginning of each story when it takes place (between which novels). Make sure you read in the right order, coming back to the shorts only after the main novels. Otherwise expect some accidental spoilers.

Two of the stories aren't from Dresden POV, but told (still in first-person) from the view points of Thomas and Murphy. It's cool to see things from this different perspective.

This is a great collection to while the time away until the next main novel comes along - don't take it as an a way to get introduced to the series. Like the rest of the series, Butcher draws great characters, fast-paced action, and balances darkness and humour.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia: A story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic - for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,633 followers
November 17, 2012
Alrighty... I've been working on this one as I go along in the series, so technically I've been reading this book for the better part of 4 months. But I have enjoyed it quite a lot, and so I never really felt that draggy "Am I done yet??" feeling that I often do when books sit on my Currently Reading shelf for a long time.

There were some stories in here that were better than others. Some that you could tell were very early stories in the Dresden canon, but they all were enjoyable, and all were nearly perfect examples of what short stories should be: short, plotted, engaging, and resolved.

They all fell into the series pretty well, and while I think there were times that they could have explained just a little more about the situations that led to the story (like the wedding one), I never actually felt like anything was missing.

I also really liked seeing stories from other characters' perspectives. It was a nice change of pace. I loved the story from Murphy's perspective, and would have liked to see more of them. She has really grown on me as a character, from when I could not understand or like her in the first few books, to now when she's definitely a favorite.

So, overall, I really enjoyed this one, and now I'm itching to pick up the next book in the series to see what happens. O_O
Profile Image for Sonja Arlow.
1,080 reviews7 followers
December 7, 2015
3 ½ stars

I have read 11 books in this series and have developed a soft spot for Harry Dresden but never once considered listening to this series in audio. That is until a GR friend wrote a glowing review of how much fun the audio versions are.

I now understand why.

James Masters does an excellent job narrating this popular series. I also enjoyed the short intro by the author before each story, explaining why he wrote this or where the idea came from.

I won’t go into detail about each story as they may contain spoilers for anyone who have not read up to book 12. All I can say is my favourite was “Day Off” I actually laughed out loud in my car during peak traffic like a demented person.

I will now go and get the audio for the rest of the books in the series because this is too much fun to pass up on.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,013 reviews39 followers
May 7, 2013
This book is a collection of stories which span from the beginning of Harry's career to just after the novel "Changes". Many things that are mentioned in passing in the novels are told in these stories. The first story tells of Harry's first meeting with Murphy. Another story tells the tale of Billy and Georgia's wedding. Although all of these stories are very good I think that the best is "The Warrior". The reason that I paused in reading the novels at this point is because the last story,"Aftermath", takes place just a few hours after "Changes" and about 6 months before the next novel,"Ghost Story". Although it isn't necessary to read these stories to enjoy the novels, I recommend that you do as they are very entertaining on their own and fill in some of the gaps between novels.
Profile Image for Julianna.
Author 5 books1,323 followers
August 15, 2021
Reviewed for THC Reviews
*newest review for this anthology
"4.5 stars" overall
A Restoration of Faith - Restoration of Faith is a short prequel novella in the Dresden Files series. It's only about the length of a chapter and tells the story of a case Harry worked before becoming a full-fledged private investigator. At the time he and his partner, Nick, ran Ragged Angel Investigations, an agency that searched for missing children. This was an aspect of the story that I really enjoyed, and I thought Harry was very good with the girl he rescued. He seemed to have a kind, gentle side that I hope to see more of in the full-length novels of the series. There wasn't much in the way of magic in this novella, so I'm not sure precisely how Harry's powers work. The battle with the troll was fun, but Harry defeated him using his wits more than anything else. I'm not certain whether he hadn't come into his full powers yet or if his powers simply have limits, but I'm definitely interested in finding out more about this intriguing character. I also don't know if any of the secondary characters in this short story show up again in future books, but I wouldn't mind seeing more of them if they did. Restoration of Faith was my first read by Jim Butcher. It may have been brief, but it gave me enough of a taste of his writing style to know that I like it and look forward to reading more. Restoration of Faith can be read for free on Jim Butcher's website and is also available in print as part of this anthology. Star Rating: ****

Vignette Vignette is a really short three-page story that is exactly what the title implies, a brief vignette in Harry's life, in which he and Bob discuss possibly making changes to Harry's ad in the phone book. Their interplay is crisp and funny as the two argue over what the new ad should say. Of course, Harry wants to keep it simple, while Bob wants to spice things up a bit. Overall this was a fun, little slice of life story from the Dresden Files series. Vignette falls between Death Masks and Blood Rites in the series chronology. It can be read for free on Jim Butcher's website and is also available in print as part of this anthology. Star Rating: ****1/2

Something Borrowed - Something Borrowed is a short, thirty-page novella that falls between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty in the Dresden Files series chronology. It features the wedding of Harry’s friends, Billy and Georgia, the leaders of the Alphas werewolf pack. Harry is the best man, so when Billy can’t reach Georgia and is caught up in appeasing his soon to be monster-in-law, he sends Harry to check on her. Much to Harry’s dismay, he finds their apartment trashed, Georgia missing, and traces of fairy activity. Using a tracking spell, Harry, with the help of Murphy and Bob, must rescue Georgia and get her to the wedding before Billy unknowingly marries the wrong woman.

This was a really fun novella that I very much enjoyed reading. The interplay between Harry, Murphy, and Bob was sharp and witty, while Murphy’s introduction to Bob was great for a laugh. Harry and Murphy always work well together, and the attraction between them (at least on Harry’s side) is slowly building, making me wonder what might happen in future books of the series. It was great to see Billy and Georgia get their happy ending, even though it didn’t exactly go as planned. But it did have a touch of fairy tale magic in an evil stepmother and true-love’s kiss, which I loved. Overall, this was a great little foray into Harry’s world that leaves me wanting to revisit it soon. Something Borrowed was originally published in the multi-author anthology, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, but was later reprinted in this single-author anthology. Star Rating: *****

It's My Birthday, Too - “It's My Birthday, Too” is a really fun short novella that falls between White Night and Small Favor in the Dresden Files series chronology. It appears that it may pick up immediately after the graphic novel story, Down Town, as it opens with Harry and Molly just returning from a battle with a slime golem. In this one, it’s both Valentine's Day and Thomas’s birthday. Harry wants to celebrate by giving Thomas a gift, but Thomas isn’t home. As it turns out, he’s at an otherwise deserted shopping mall, taking part in vampire LARPing with one of his employees. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dresden Files story without some supernatural baddie interrupting all the fun, and in this case, it’s a real Black Court vampire who, in her human life, used to be one of the LARPers. Now she’s out for revenge against the rest of the group for making fun of her.

I really enjoyed this novella. Thomas being a real vampire, pretending to be a vampire was utterly amusing, as is his continued facade of being a gay French hairdresser. The former nerd turned vampire come back for revenge on those who did her wrong was a convincing touch of villainous genius. There was the obligatory supernatural battle that all but decimates the poor shopping mall, but as usual Harry is in fine form, despite not having most of his wizarding tools at hand, because this was supposed to be family time. I loved his ability to improvise and the help he received from the Little Folk who live in the shoe store at the mall was awesome. I adore the little fairies and love it when they appear in one of these stories. Harry’s apprentice, Molly, was on hand, too, and provides some additional help, but she’s still not powerful enough to counter a villain as strong as a vampire of the Black Court. All in all, this was an entertaining story and I very much enjoyed this foray into Harry’s world. “It's My Birthday, Too” was originally published in the anthology, Many Bloody Returns and was later reprinted in this single-author anthology. Star Rating: *****

Heorot - “Heorot” is a short novella in the Dresden Files series that falls between White Night and Small Favor in the series chronology. It’s a fairly simple story in which a young woman disappears from a beer festival on what is also her wedding day. Harry’s friend, Mac, owner of McAnally’s Pub where all the supernaturals congregate, is on hand, recognizes something from the spooky side afoot, and calls in Harry to investigate. As he’s using a tracking spell to find the young woman, he’s joined by Ms. Gard, John Marcone’s supernatural security consultant. Since she’s already tracking the grendelkin, the creature who took the girl, they team up and head into Undertown to find them. There are some tense moments and a big battle, but in the end they save the day – and the girl.

I enjoyed the story, just not quite as much as some of the other novellas in the series. I think the most interesting part is that we learn a new tidbit about Gard and who she really is. But since she’s not one of my favorite characters of the series, I wasn’t as engrossed as I might have been if it was Murphy or Thomas or perhaps someone else acting as Harry’s sidekick. Harry’s other helper this time was Mouse and I always love him. The grendelkin is a disgusting new supernatural baddie that we’ve never seen before and that’s based on the mythology surrounding Beowulf. I’ve never read Beowulf, but those who have might find this novella a bit more intriguing than I did. It was still a good story and a fun read, but perhaps just not as memorable as some of the others. “Heorot” was originally published in the anthology, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, and was later reprinted in this single-author anthology. Star Rating: ****

Day Off - “Day Off” is a fairly short story of only about twenty pages that falls between Small Favor and Turn Coat in the Dresden Files series chronology. In it, Harry has an extremely rare day off, where he has no wizarding business to take care of. He’s looking forward to spending it going on a date with fellow warden, Anastasia Luccio. But things go awry when a group of young half-baked, wanna-be wizards show up at Harry’s apartment, making threats, then a pair of lusty, naked werewolves appear at his door, claiming to have fleas, but are clearly under the influence of some magical force. Meanwhile his apprentice, Molly, is busy blowing up his basement laboratory.

This was a really enjoyable story that’s very light-hearted with no big baddies to conquer or genuinely life-threatening situations for Harry to deal with. But I do feel rather sorry for the guy. He simply can’t seem to catch a break from all the magical mayhem, even on his day off. I enjoyed seeing a few of the werewolves from the Alphas pack again. In fact, it all starts out with the fun of Harry having a game night with them. What’s really hilarious, though, is when Andi and Kirby, a young werewolf couple, show up at his apartment the next morning, and in between bouts of lustiness, end up on a merry chase with Mouse and Mister, around Harry’s apartment, while Molly creates chaos in the basement lab. It was all thoroughly humorous fun. “Day Off” was originally published in the anthology, Blood Lite, and was later reprinted in this single-author anthology. Star Rating: *****

Backup - “Backup” is a novellette that falls between Small Favor and Turn Coat in the Dresden Files series chronology. It’s unique to the series in that it’s told entirely from the POV of Thomas, Harry’s vampire half-brother. In this one, Thomas is contacted by his sister, Lara, and asked to rendezvous with her representative to receive important information. That representative ends up being Justine, the only woman Thomas has ever loved, but the one woman he can’t be with, because to do so would kill her. The information she brings is that Harry is in danger from an ancient evil known as the Stygian Sisterhood who want to unleash demonic forces. One of the sisters has tricked Harry into helping her, so Thomas must ride to the rescue. But he cannot reveal his presence, because that would also reveal his involvement in the centuries-old Oblivion War, a secret that no one must know.

I’ve loved Thomas as a secondary character in the Dresden Files since he showed up on the page. It was really fun and interesting to get a peek inside his life while he’s not helping Harry with cases. Needless to say, Thomas is keeping a few secrets. I also loved his brief but bittersweet reunion with Justine. I’m still rooting for something to happen that will make it possible for these two to be together one day. I think that “Backup” proves that Thomas is an interesting enough character to carry his own story, and although there don’t appear to be any more stories from his POV in the series to date, I would definitely be up for more. This one barely whetted my appetite. I don��t know if the events depicted in this novellette will have any bearing on the larger books of the series, but I kind of hope so. I’m very eager to learn more about the Oblivion War and Thomas’s involvement in it. “Backup” was originally published as a stand-alone novellette with illustrations (though not a graphic novel) by Subterranean Press, but was later republished, sans illustrations, in this anthology. Star Rating: ****

The Warrior - “The Warrior” is a short novelette that takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat, but before the novelette “Last Call,” in the Dresden Files series chronology. In this one, we have a mysterious person who’s making threats against Harry’s friend, Michael, and his family, and who also appears to be trying to get Amoracchius, the sword Michael used to wield as a Knight of the Cross, as well as Fidelacchius, the one used by the fallen Knight, Shiro, both of which are now in Harry’s possession. Harry finds himself in a race against time to figure out who the bad guy is, rescue one of Michael's children, and keep the swords out of the hands of the wrong person.

“The Warrior” is a really fun Dresden story that I very much enjoyed. I had been troubled by the outcome for Michael at the end of Small Favor, the last full-length novel prior to this story. In it, he had been gravely wounded and his future was uncertain. In this novelette, we learn that he did recover, although not fully. He is no longer able to take up his sword, so it appears that Amoracchius is now in limbo, as well, waiting for a new Knight. However, despite his limitations, Michael is still a fierce warrior, especially when one of his children is in danger. I was glad to see that, although he’s no longer a Knight, he’s doing fine, and he and his family are happy, perhaps happier than they’ve ever been now that he’s no longer putting himself in constant danger. He’s also still the honorable man we’ve come to know throughout the past several books of the series. Butters puts in an appearance when Harry is injured, while Molly and Mouse have their roles to play as well. Overall, this was a really good story and I like the way everything ties together at the end, with Harry’s actions causing a ripple effects of future goodness. “The Warrior” was originally published in the multi-author anthology, Mean Streets, and was later reprinted in this single-author anthology. Star Rating: *****

I ran out of characters in the review field.:-) Click on the remaining story titles to see my reviews for each one:

Last Call - Star Rating: ****1/2

Love Hurts - Star Rating: *****

*Aftermath - Star Rating: *****
Profile Image for Oliver.
225 reviews35 followers
July 20, 2021
Side Jobs is the first short story collection in the Dresden Files series and combines 11 shorts written between the different entries of the series. Each of them starts with a small foreword from the author and also clearly states where in the chronology the story takes place. Some of the stories presented are really good and enhance the overall perception of the world although that definitely does not apply to everything. A lot of these were written for fun or as requests from Butchers friends and that does leave an impact on the quality. Nevertheless the collection also has gems like The Warrior which might just be my favorite Dresden work ever released so I would still suggest people pick it up. I also really enjoyed Day off and Love Hurts.

If I could approach reading these stories again I would read all the short fiction in between the actual books they appear in for the simple reason that as an entire 450 page collection the quality disparity coming from Changes is a little bit too big for my taste. Mixing in the shorter stuff with the actual novels makes it flow a lot better in my opinion.
Profile Image for Katy.
1,293 reviews282 followers
March 1, 2013
Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy anthology
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Urban Fantasy, the Dresden Files

My Thoughts: This is a book of short stories in the Dresden-verse, put into chronological order, and starting back during Dresden’s training with Nick Angel. The stories are:
Restoration of Faith”: in which Harry finds a missing girl, but it’s never as simple as it seems. Butcher complains about the lack of quality in this story, but I think it’s really awesome. It’s also where Harry meets Murphy, plus a troll, so bonus!
Vignette”: This story is just a short piece where Bob and Harry talk about his Yellow Pages ad, and why Harry does what he does.
Something Borrowed”: Billy and Georgia’s wedding. Georgia’s stepmother is a real piece of work. Wow.
It’s my Birthday Too”: It’s Thomas’s birthday. And he’s taking part in a LARP. And then real vampires show up.
Heorot”: Mac brings Harry in to look for a woman who has gone missing. I'd like to point out that the whole “police won't look for a missing person until 24 hours has gone by” thing is a misnomer; they will take into account unusual circumstances and go looking sooner. This is the story in which we learn the truth about Miss Gard. Malks are involved. And it explains why Mister is never involved. “Mister didn't come with me on cases, being above such trivial matters, but he found me pleasant company when I was at home and not moving around too much, except when he didn't, in which case he went rambling.
Harry’s Day Off”: In which Harry eagerly anticipates a day off to spend with Luccio, but everything that can go wrong does.
Backup”: See my review on the book's page (here, where formatting permitted)
The Warrior”: Michael is retired, but are all his enemies taking that into consideration? Or, for that matter, his so-called friends? This story is all about the unintended consequences of our actions, and is very good. I became all choked up while reading it.
Last Call”: When the forces of darkness try to mess with Mac's brew...? Harry don't play dat...
Love Hurts”: When people are killing themselves in suicide pacts, Harry decides that there is probably mental manipulation involved. People are being forced to fall in love.
Aftermath”: This is an original novella written for this anthology and not available anywhere else, unlike all the others, which are published in other anthologies. It takes place right after the end of Changes and will bring me into Ghost Story. This one is told from the point of view of Murphy, who came to meet with him and found a bullet hole and blood all over the Water Beetle when she arrived. Anyway, the story, despite that, isn't about looking for Dresden, since Billy shows up and puts Murphy in the middle of a situation where apparently small-time magic users are being abducted, including Georgia, Billy's wife.

Disclosure: I picked up this book on my own. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher—a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago's only professional wizard.
Profile Image for RG.
3,090 reviews
July 9, 2018
This was different. Short stories some even from different POVs. Funny, serious, some evern really short like 3 pages haha but still enjoyable. Only read if youre a fan otherwise give it a miss.
Profile Image for The Flooze.
757 reviews248 followers
January 4, 2013
Firstly, I appreciate this type of anthology. Even though I'd read some of the stories before, it's nice having everything gathered in one volume. Secondly, Butcher is quite talented at the short-story format. He crafts believable, contained, complete plots that add much in the way of character development without becoming required reading. Granted, there are certain references within the novels that aren't clear without delving into the shorts, but they generally aren't vital enough to throw off the main plot.

I also enjoyed the intros to each tale. They give a glimpse into Butcher's creative process and into the man himself. And thankfully, he seems like a rather cool, down-to-earth guy.

One who's a lil too gleeful over all the chaos he chucks at Harry...

A Restoration of Faith - *4*
Short, sweet, and a good introduction to Harry. Murphy goes a little too easy on him compared to the officer we see in the beginning of the series proper.

Vignette - *4*
Very brief, somehow reminding me of how much more cynical Harry has grown over the course of the series.

Something Borrowed - *4*
Great story involving Billy and Georgia and a nasty fae plot. It clarified a comment I didn't understand in Small Favor. Seems like forever since Harry's mentioned these two, though perhaps there's something I'm forgetting? The scene where Harry calls out Georgia's evil stepmother is absolutely priceless.

It's My Birthday, Too - *4.5*
I'd read this one in the original anthology, but I think it was before I'd gotten into the series (spoilers, grrr). Well plotted, swift moving, and definitely emotional in its own way - the latter something I couldn't appreciate fully the first time around.

Heorot - *3.5*
Mac calls for help, which is shocking enough in and of itself without following it up with an attack from a hairy scary horny creature of lore. This one includes Miss Gard, whom I find very intriguing - all the moreso after Small Favor. Her musical choices now make perfect sense.

Day Off - *4*
Oh, poor Harry. In the introduction, Butcher mentions feeling quite gleeful about throwing as many catastrophes as possible at his character. All the better for us that he's such a sadistic man, because this story is hilarious in its chaos.

Backup - *5*
Loved seeing Thomas in action. Hearing about his Hunger first-hand and learning of his own personal crusades really rounds out his character. And his voice is Harry-like - shoring up their connection - but still distinct.

The Warrior - *5*
Amazing follow-up to the events of Small Favor, with a scene so emotional and tense and human I stopped breathing for a moment. Fantastic, thoughtful ending, too.

Last Call - *3*
The weakest thus far. A quick investigation with Murphy that results in forced emotions and an unlikely moment of vulnerability for the Sergeant.

Love Hurts - *2.5*
Call me Blasphemer, but I'm just not a believer in the Harry/Karrin Meant-To-Be-ness. I think they empathize well with one another and balance each other out, but I've never felt the remotest bit of romantic chemistry between them. So stories like this annoy me. Stop with the forced sexual tension!

Aftermath - *4.5*
An excellent, engaging story that gives me a whole new perspective on Murphy.

Seeing her through Harry’s eyes has always been hard. Too often, Butcher doesn’t do a capable enough job of distinguishing her voice from the wizard’s, making her more of a flat sounding board for exposition. Though she’s come far over the years, and no one would ever doubt her ability in a fight, it’s been difficult to get a proper feel for the woman. To fully appreciate her as a separate entity.

Aftermath changes that. Suddenly, she’s a far more layered personality, distinct from Dresden and coming into her own. As Sanya repeatedly proclaims, she is tiny, but fierce, and the concept is true right down to Murphy’s very core.

Teaming up with Billy (sorry, don’t know if he’ll ever be Will to me) to find the once again kidnapped Georgia (can the girl get a break?), we are treated to the purely human side of dealing with an investigation. Murph laments her inability to divine facts out of thin air as Dresden can, but she’s quick-thinking, logical, and cool-headed. Only we the readers know how hard-pressed she is to keep herself together.

We get an insight into her cop mindset -- the posturing she’s incorporated into her every interaction, an affectation she’s developed over her fifteen years on the force. She lays it all out in no uncertain terms: as a woman -- and an extraordinarily petite one at that -- she’s learned that she can never back down, that she’s walking in a world where body language and things left unsaid hold more power and weight than anything else. She’s built up an armor around her, and enhanced it by training her body as strictly as she’s disciplined her mind. Her will and focus are tremendous…and that helps explain why Harry had such a difficult time overcoming her denial of the supernatural in their early encounters.

Seeing Murph through Harry’s eyes does her a disservice. The wizard is well-intentioned, but his self-proclaimed blindness when it comes to women, his focus on their supposed soft-heartedness, lessens her. He’s always peering into her depths, trying to convince us that beneath the hard cop exterior there lurks a gooey center. He’s not wrong, of course: Murphy is thoroughly good people and her heart is nothing like stone. But in Aftermath we come by that knowledge comfortably, an undercurrent of sorrow and determination -- courage battling despair, as Gard states -- that pervades the piece rather than being forced upon us in offhand observations. Being in her head finally allowed the hard edges and the finer emotions to combine into an understandable and relatable whole.

It helps that we’re seeing Murphy do what she does best: defending her city from an abhorrent threat. Butcher showcases her fighting talents in a sequence that has her going at her attackers hard, but smart. Or as smartly as she can with what she’s facing. She uses her instincts and her training. She uses all the lessons she’s learned from previous supernatural encounters. She brings to bear the knowledge of magic her friend has bestowed upon her. She‘s no slouch, this woman. And seeing a “vanilla mortal“ face the monsters head-on, seeing her come out on top? It’s exceptionally gratifying.

Considering the emotional strain she’s under, it’s also remarkable. But has given her a sense of renewed purpose. Her devotion to Chicago and its citizens radiates throughout the story. Her belief in the example Harry has set is a fantastic testament to his influence, to the resilience and defiance he’s inspired in others. Experiencing all of that first-hand, from Murphy’s point of view, makes her so much more than a fierce ally to have at one’s back. It makes it abundantly clear that she’s a warrior. A survivor. And a damned good friend.
Profile Image for Lynn Cahoon.
Author 87 books1,986 followers
September 15, 2020
I loved this view in between the main books. I have always wondered what characters do when they're not on the page. (Which is why I write novellas as well as full length cozies.) Butcher doesn't let us down with this look into the world of Harry. Even when Harry's not telling the story.
Profile Image for Stacey.
472 reviews29 followers
December 13, 2021
These stories definitely contain some interesting character moments but I wasn't really invested in many of the short stories unfortunately.

I did enjoy that we got a couple of stories from other POVs but didn't really feel like those characters' voices were very distinct from Harry's (possibly in part due to Marsters being the narrator for those POVs as well?).
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