Small Favors is the latest available book in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series and we’ve had this one loitering around SF Signal HQ begging someone to listen to it. I finally had the time over the last month so I gave it a listen.
Audiobooks, especially unabridged ones of long novels, take a long time listen. Much longer than I can read the book. What I discovered is that I don’t have large blocks of time to actually listen to books. My commute to work is 10 minutes each way, and that’s in heavy traffic. 20 minutes a day doesn’t get you very far. I found myself taking my car out instead of our van on errands just so I could listen. I can’t really listen at work as what I do requires enough attention that I can’t comprehend what’s being said and do my work. So I ended up forcing myself to listen to the book, just so I could finish in a reasonable amount of time. As it was, it took me an entire month to finish. That’s not really a criticism of the book/story, more against the format itself, at least for me. My time is limited as it is and given the choice between reading (which I can do faster) or listening to a book, I’ll choose reading.
Small Favors is read by James Marsters, Spike from Buffy, and I must say he did a terrific job. Not only does his ‘Harry’ voice fit well with the story, but he also is able to voice all the other characters and make them distinctive without being corny. He reminds me of Nathaniel Parker, the narrator for the Artemis Fowl books, in his ability to sell the characters. In fact, from now one, whenever I read any future Dresden books, Marsters voice is the one I’ll hear for Harry. He’s that good.
But how’s the story? Well, it’s your typical Harry Dresden story, filled with action, humor, familiar characters and new and interesting fey creatures. There is nothing here that a Dresden-phile won’t like. The only criticism I have, and it’s one that most of the books have, is that there is a lot going on and it’s sometimes hard to keep all the competing factions straight. Add in the ‘choppiness’ of my listening time, and it made it that much more difficult. And while Small Favors may not be the best book of the series, it certainly packs a lot of entertainment into its story.
If you’re only exposure to Harry Dresden is through Sci Fi’s lame Dresden Files series, do yourself a favor and pick up the books. They are orders of magnitude better than what Sci Fi did and Small Favors is a worthy addition to the series.