The Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher (available here: Amazon.com) is a pretty fun adventure into urban fantasy. I've gotten the chance to read books 9-14 and have some spoiler-free thoughts and comments. Although I recommend the link above so that you can start reading the series from the beginning, here are the individual links to each book that I read this last week:
The books are done in first person, which I typically find annoying, but Harry Dresden is quite amusing as a narrator. He's sarcastic and will describe what he's doing as what he's obviously not doing. For example, he will say something like, "I gulped because of the enormity of what she was telling me, not because of the tightness of her dress" or similar.
Note: That was me making up something along the lines of what Dresden would say, not a quote.
Dresden is a smartass. This is fantastic. I have always loved characters that mouth off to everybody. I'm a smartass. My favorite of my own characters (Uriel) is a smartass, and even my hero character starts to develop more into a smartass by the end of Book 2. Smartasses are top tier in my book (PUN). Smartass humor appeals to me more than practically any other type of humor. This is probably why I enjoy Spider-Man so much as well (or maybe Spider-Man is why I'm a smartass).
He appears to be unapologetically modeled after Spider-Man, if Spider-Man was older and magickal. In fact, I'm sure Dresden at least referenced Spider-Man himself at one point. He's also geeky cool and regularly references Star Wars and other geek culture in spite of having to go to drive-ins to watch movies (magick causes haywire on tech in Butcher's universe).
There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments throughout each book, and that is in spite of (or perhaps sometimes because of) some rather tense moments and some good action. The characters are easy to care about and root for, and each book is a strong step forward through the story of Dresden's life. None of these books appear to be just a throwaway or a day-in-the-life attempt. Each book advances the plot in some way.
The more of the series I read the more I enjoyed it, and this is in spite of starting at the end. To date, there are 14 books in the Dresden Files, and it is still incomplete. I am looking forward to going back and reading the first 8 books that I've missed, but I cannot wait for Book 15 (supposedly coming out ~December).
Each of these ~500 page books I finished in about a day, and in at least one case, I finished two in a day. They are easily consumable, but hard to put down. There is no chore to the reading. You are constantly being rewarded and constantly being pulled further along.
In fact, I have nothing negative to say about the stories. They aren't mind-blowingly amazingly awesome, but they are pretty freaking sweet. If you've ever wanted to get your feet wet in the urban fantasy genre, you could do far worse than the Dresden Files.
Review: 9.0/10, A-, A completely positive reading experience.