August 17, 2015
Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher, illustrated by Ardian Syaf
When a security guard is brutally killed at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the police call in the only man who can get to the bottom of things when the cause of death is supernatural. Harry Dresden is the only professional wizard who consults with the Chicago police, not that all of them are thrilled to have him around.
Most people, after all, simply don’t believe in magic. Even if they see something magical, like when Dresden uses his powers to save the life of one of the keepers, this just doesn’t compute for most people. They know they saw something strange but it isn’t long before they begin to talk themselves off the magical ledge.
Dresden knows the guard wasn’t killed by a person — finger tips don’t rip throats out like that. Local police want to blame the zoo’s silverback, dominant male gorilla. The keepers don’t believe the animal is guilty but their hostility towards police hampers Dresden’s investigation.
He has to admit that he doesn’t really know what the killer was. As Dresden investigates, he finds signs of ancient magic, blood and spell after spell. He knows he’s facing someone or something powerful and hopes he lives to see the end of the investigation. Ultimately, the end comes about with help from an unlikely ally who proves both his innocence and his amazing strength.
I picked this graphic novel up because of a quiz — what wizard are you? When my results came back, Harry Dresden, I was a bit embarrassed to admit that I had no clue who Dresden was. Hey, we live in a satellite free household so our TV viewing is a bit limited. That said, I’m making up for lost time, beginning with the graphic novel since the first one takes place before the novel series begins.
This may have been Butcher’s first graphic novel but he did quite a job. He also praised illustrator Ardian Syaf, whose depiction of Dresden matched the image in Butcher’s own mind.
This worked well as an introduction to the world and the principal character, so if you haven’t read any of the novels, this is still a good place to start. I would recommend this book for tweens and teens simply because there is murder and mayhem. Granted, none of the human deaths occur on-screen but magical battles against ancient foes can be messy business.
Pick this up for your young fan of urban fantasy and share a read together.