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Molly’s Story: Jim Butcher’s “Bombshells”

George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’s anthology Dangerous Women is out later this year and among the exciting stories it contains is a new Dresden Files Story, “Bombshells,” by Jim Butcher. Any new Butcher story is a joy in the wait period between books, and “Bombshells” helps to satisfy something of that Dresden hunger.

If you’ve read any of the Dresden Files short stories, then you know that some of the best are those that don’t have Harry Dresden as protagonist. In stories like “Backup” and “Aftermath,” we are given a rare glimpse into the heads of other characters in the books, Thomas Raith and Karin Murphy respectively.

It’s therefore exciting that “Bombshells,” the latest Dresden Files short story from the anthology Dangerous Women, gives us a welcome glimpse into the head of Harry’s longtime apprentice, Molly Carpenter. Without giving away too much of the story, it takes place after Ghost Story, where Molly has been assuming the identity of the Ragged Lady, and helps to illuminate some of the elements that later turn up in Cold Days. Justine, Thomas Raith’s partner, needs help. And in Harry’s absence, she goes to Molly. That’s all I will say. Though since you know that this is Jim Butcher, nothing about this is going to be easy.

One of the things that makes The Dresden Files so great is its large cast of characters, and several of them show up in this story. I won’t say which ones (aside from those I’ve already mentioned), but it truly feels like part of the series rather than an excursion without consequence.

But really this is all about Molly. Fans of the series were likely shocked by the way that Molly changed after her trip to Chichen Itza and Harry’s death. I know I was. “Bombshells” gives us a glimpse into exactly what’s going on in Molly’s head and helps shed some light on why she’s doing what she’s doing.

What I liked most about it was the way in which Molly’s POV is different from Harry’s. You can see his influence, something that you’d expect since he was her mentor, but she thinks differently. She uses her magic differently. And all of that made the story a true delight to read.

It should be mentioned that Harry isn’t in this story. Everyone still thinks he’s dead. But his presence looms over it. Not just Molly’s awareness of his absence, but her attempt to fill his shoes. It plays off of similar ideas from both Ghost Story and Cold Days.

This is very much a story about Molly trying to come into her own. Faithful readers will remember that without Harry, Molly received tutelage from Lea, Harry’s Fairy (literally) Godmother. I worried that this story would have Molly still being coached and not truly acting on her own. But that’s thankfully not the case. Butcher doesn’t undercut Molly here—this is truly her story.

I can’t wait for all you Dresden fans to be able to read it, and it’s whetted my appetite for a Molly novel.

Dangerous Women will be available December 3rd from Tor Books.

Rajan Khanna is a writer, narrator, and resident Dresden Files blogger. You can follow him on his website and on Twitter.


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