How To Read Me

A reading guide to comics and books

How to read Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files?

Do you remember, a few years back, there was a TV show on the Sci-Fi Channel called The Dresden Files with Paul Blackthorne. I quite like it and I’d hoped to see more, but it was canceled after a short season. It was an adaptation and the book series is much bigger than the TV show, so here we go…

What are the Dresden Files?

Urban fantasy series written by Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files follows the investigations of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. The books take pace in a universe where magic is obviously real, also are vampires, demons, spirits, faeries, werewolves and other kinds of monsters.

Harry Dresden is walking the line between humans and supernatural beings by taking jobs from both sides, including the Chicago PD’s Special Investigation unit. He works to protect the general public as he faces against a large variety of creatures.

What is the Dresden Files reading order?

The easiest way to read the Dresden Files is to follow the novels. Nevertheless, there are also short stories and a few comic books that you can read in order, if you like. I made two lists, you choose the one you prefer.

I. Only the novels

   

  1. Storm Front – When the police bring Harry Dresden in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, He’s seeing a solution to his financial difficulties. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name…
  2. Fool Moon –  Lately, Harry hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work – magical or mundane. But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise. A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses. And the first two don’t count …Magic – it can get a guy killed.
  3. Grave Peril –  All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble—and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone—or something—is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn’t figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself…
  4. Summer Knight –  The Winter Queen of Faerie has an offer Harry can’t refuse if he wants to free himself of the supernatural hold his faerie godmother has over him—and hopefully end his run of bad luck. All he has to do is find out who murdered the Summer Queen’s right-hand man, the Summer Knight, and clear the Winter Queen’s name.

   

  1. Death Masks – For Harry Desden, whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad. Recent examples: a duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards; professional hit men using Harry for target practice; the missing Shroud of Turin (less missing than expected) and a headless corpse the Chicago police need identifying . . . Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man. Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging.
  2. Blood Rites – Harry Dresden has had worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Still, there’s something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film’s producer believes he’s the target of a sinister curse—but it’s the women around him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways. Harry’s doubly frustrated because he only got involved with this bizarre mystery as a favor to Thomas—his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity.
  3. Dead Beat –  Karrin Murphy is the head of S. I. and Harry’s good friend. So when a killer vampire threatens to destroy Murphy’s reputation unless Harry does her bidding, he has no choice. The vampire wants the Word of Kemmler (whatever that is) and all the power that comes with it. Now, Harry is in a race against time—and six merciless necromancers—to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead…
  4. Proven Guilty – The White Council has drafted Harry as a Warden and assigned him to look into rumors of black magic in the Windy City. As he adjusts to his new role, another problem arrives in the form of the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend. Her boyfriend is the only suspect in what looks like a supernatural assault straight out of a horror film. Malevolent entities that feed on fear are loose in Chicago, but it’s all in a day’s work for a wizard, his faithful dog, and a talking skull named Bob…

   

  1. White Night – Someone is targeting the members of the city’s supernatural underclass—those who don’t possess enough power to become full-fledged wizards. Some have vanished. Others appear to be victims of suicide. But now the culprit has left a calling card at one of the crime scenes—a message for Harry Dresden. He sets out to find the apparent serial killer, but his investigation turns up evidence pointing to the one suspect he cannot possibly believe guilty: his half-brother, Thomas.
  2. Small Favor – The White Council’s war with the vampiric Red Court is easing up, no one’s tried to kill Harry lately, and his eager apprentice is starting to learn real magic. For once, the future looks fairly bright. But the past casts one hell of a long shadow. Mab, monarch of the Sidhe Winter Court, calls in an old favor from Harry he can’t refuse…one that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally, and one that will strain his skills—and loyalties—to their very limits.
  3. Turn Coat – None hold Harry Dresden in more disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules. But now, Morgan has been accused of cold-blooded murder. He’s on the run, wanting his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. So it’s up to Harry to uncover a traitor within the Council, keep Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.
  4. Changes – Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry’s Dresden’s lover. She disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it. Now, she needs Harry’s help more than ever. The vengeful Duchess of the Red Court has discovered a secret Susan has long kept from everyone—including Harry—and she plans to use it.

   

  1. Side Jobs – a collection of short stories – see Message 34 of this post for more detail.
  2. Ghost Story – After someone puts a bullet through his chest and leaves him to die in the waters of Lake Michigan, things really start going downhill for Harry Dresden. Trapped between life and death, he learns that his friends are in serious trouble. Only by finding his murderer can he save them and move on. Worse still are the malevolent shadows that roam Chicago, controlled by a dark entity that wants Harry to suffer even in death. Now, the late Harry Dresden will have to pull off the ultimate trick without using any magic—or face an eternity as just another lost soul…
  3. Cold Days – Harry Dresden is now Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Her word is his command. And her first command is the seemingly impossible: kill an immortal. Worse still, there is a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could mean the deaths of millions. Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent an apocalypse, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his newfound infinite powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…
  4. Skin Game – Mab has traded Harry’s skills to pay off a debt. And now he must help a group of villains led by Harry’s most despised enemy, Nicodemus Archleone, to break into a high-security vault so that they can then access a vault in the Nevernever. Problem is, the vault belongs to Hades, Lord of the Underworld. And Dresden is dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience.

II. With short stories and comic books

Update, in june 2018 : A new anthology, Brief Cases, is now collecting twelve short stories.

  1. “Restoration of Faith” – Short story in Side Jobs
  2. Welcome to the Jungle – Graphic Novel
  3. Storm Front
  4. Fool Moon
  5. Ghoul, Goblin – Graphic Novel
  6. “B is for Bigfoot” – Short story in Brief Cases
  7. Grave Peril
  8. Summer Knight
  9. Death Masks
  10. Blood Rites
  11. “A Vignette” – Short story in Side Jobs
  12. Dead Beat
  13. “I Was a Teenage Bigfoot” – Short story in Brief Cases
  14. War Cry – Graphic Novel
  15. “Something Borrowed” – Short story in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding
  16. Proven Guilty
  17. White Night
  18. “It’s My Birthday Too” – Short story in Many Bloody Returns
  19. “Heorot” – short story in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
  20. Down Town – Graphic Novel
  21. Small Favor
  22. “Backup” – Novella is a story from Thomas’s POV, in Side Jobs
  23. “Day Off” – Short story in Side Jobs
  24. “The Warrior” – Short story in Side Jobs
  25. “Curses” – Short story in Brief Cases
  26. “AAAA Wizardry” – in Brief Cases
  27. “Last Call” – Short story in Side Jobs
  28. Turn Coat
  29. “Bigfoot on Campus” – Short story in Brief Cases
  30. “Even Hand” – Short story in Brief Cases
  31. “Love Hurts” – Short story in Side Jobs
  32. Changes
  33. “Aftermath” – Short story in Side Jobs
  34. Ghost Story
  35. “Bombshells” – Short story in Brief Cases
  36. Cold Days
  37. “Cold Case” – Short story in Shadowed Souls
  38. Skin Game
  39. “Jury Duty” – Short story in Brief Cases
  40. “Day One” – Short story in Brief Cases
  41.  “A Fistful of Warlocks” – Short story in Brief Cases
  42. “Zoo Day” – Short story in Brief Cases

Did I make a mistake? Did I forget something? To help me to complete this reading guide, leave a comment!

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9 Comments

  1. Melissa

    I’m not so sure about the placement of fistful of warlocks. Chronologically it is the first book but it probably shouldn’t be read until after Lucio is introduced. I don’t want to put it quite so close to the end either. Could we squeeze it in after deadbeat or proven guilty?

  2. Susie Jagd

    I asked how to read the files with side jobs included and you gave me a list I already have that list I want to know where to throw in side job stories so I can read them in order.

  3. Jill

    HI! I see that you do not have Down Town, which takes place between White Knight and Small Favor. Just an FYI. Thank you for keeping this up!

  4. Mar

    AAAA Wizardly takes place just after Proven Guilty not Small Favor, acording to the author.

  5. shadowcat

    Vignettes takes place before Blood Rites, not after.

  6. PanMarlon

    You’re missing several Comics. I am not sure of order due to that fact Some of them are Kindle exclusive and I don’t have a kindle. “Wild Card” “Dog men”are a couple of the titles missing. There are a few more.

  7. Janne

    Hi

    Great list, but I think it could be better. Below is my version of the list and these are the changes I’ve made:

    * All of the graphic novels are added.
    * All short stories are referenced from either Side Jobs or Brief Cases
    * I think I added a short story that was missed (not sure)
    * In a few cases the order of short stories was changed – I just used the order they appear in in either Side Jobs or Brief Cases
    * I set Luccios story first because it takes place in the 1800 hundreds.

    I think that’s all the changes I did.
    01) A Fistful of Warlocks (Brief cases)
    02) Restoration of Faith (Side jobs)
    03) Welcome to the jungle (Graphic novel)
    04) Storm front
    05) Fool moon
    06) Ghoul, goblin (graphic novel)
    07) B is for Bigfoot (Brief cases)
    08) Grave peril
    09) Summer knight
    10) Death masks
    11) Vignette/Publicity and Advertising (Side jobs)
    12) Blood rites
    13) Dead beat
    14) I Was a Teenage Bigfoot (Brief cases)
    15) War cry (graphic novel)
    16) Something Borrowed (Side jobs)
    17) Proven guilty
    18) White knight
    19) It’s My Birthday, Too (Side jobs)
    20) Heorot (Side jobs)
    21) Down town (graphic novel)
    22) Small favour
    23) Harry’s Day Off (Side jobs)
    24) Backup (Side jobs)
    25) The Warrior (Side jobs)
    26) Curses (Brief cases)
    27) AAAA Wizardry (Brief cases)
    28) Last Call (Side jobs)
    29) Wild Card (graphic novel)
    30) Dog Men (graphic novel)
    31) Turn coat
    32) Bigfoot on Campus (Brief cases)
    33) Even Hand (Brief cases)
    34) Love Hurts (Side jobs)
    35) Changes
    36) Aftermath (Side jobs)
    37) Ghost story
    38) Bombshells (Brief cases)
    39) Cold days
    40) Cold Case (Brief cases)
    41) Skin game
    42) Jury Duty (Brief cases)
    43) Day One (Brief cases)
    44) Zoo Day (Brief cases)

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