Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy
Featuring: Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, et al
Published: July 5, 2011
Company: St. Martin’s Griffin
This time, I am going to be taking a look at the opening short story in the urban fantasy collection Naked City: Curses by Jim Butcher. Butcher is most well-known for his The Dresden Files and Codex Alera series.
This story takes place within The Dresden Files universe. Even though it is between his books Small Favor and Turn Coat, it does not refer to the events of Small Favor or any of the previous books. Curses gives the reader an introduction to Harry off the bat, and dropping little details of his universe and life, making the story accessible for anyone who has not read the books.
Harry Dresden, series protagonist, is approached to investigationinto the removal of the Curse of Billy Goat, a curse haunting Wiggly Stadium and the Chicago Cubs since 1945. I am not a baseball fan and unfamiliar with baseball lore so I thought this curse was created by Butcher upon my initial reading of the story. However a quick Google search has shown me that this indeed is a real curse. Well, for baseball fans anyways. The story goes that in 1945, Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers because his pet goat’s odor (a result of the rain that had fallen that day) was bothering other fans. He was outraged and declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” which has bee
n interpreted to mean that there would never be another World Series game won at Wrigley Field. Flash-forward to 2013, they have not won a National League pennant or won a World Series.
Now given the briefness of the story, I am not going to go into the events of his investigationnor the outcome of it. What I can talk about is that the story and characters we are introduced to do match the tone and flow of the universe. We are also introduced to a new Fae Court, a Welsh court known as The Tylwyth Teg. The reader is not given much information about this new court, but this is explained by Harry not knowing much about the court himself. It is refreshing to see a character that does not know about seemingly every race and creatures under the sun. As a reader myself of The Dresden Files, I wonder if The Tylwyth Teg will be used more in the main series as, unlike the other Fae Courts, they have no problem with killing mortals in the acts of vengeance. They could be a force that changes things, though for good or ill I cannot tell.
It is a good, lighthearted story and if you are feeling depressed with the current state of affairs of Harry’s universe, this is definitely something I would recommend reading to cheer up your day. It also shows that Harry does not blow up buildings and/or vehicles on every case he is on.
Now let me ask you two questions, gentle readers.
1) Do you agree with Harry’s final decision concerning the curse? Why or why not? I have to admit that I don’t really lean one way or another since baseball really is not my sport but I am interested in what other people think
2) What other else do you go to get your book fix? What is your go-to book blog website? Leave your comments (as always) in the comments below!!