Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.

The Author: Jim Butcher

Work in Question: Dresden Files

The Profanity: “Stars and Stones”

The world of Wizard-for-Hire Harry Dresden is vast. The Dresden Files series currently stands at seventeen novels, a whole bunch of short stories, and there’s a lot more on the way. As you’d expect for an immense series, it now extends well beyond the streets of Chicago. Readers have been introduced to the intrigue and politics of the White Council, the magical world of the Nevernever, the Faerie Courts, and so much more. And with many new upcoming releases, there’s still plenty of mystery and speculation out there.

That includes today’s faux-profanity, “Stars and Stones.” Usually uttered as an oath, the phrase’s origin is a bit mysterious, and it’s sparked plenty of fan discussion and theories on the meaning. As an oath, it works rather well, but that mysterious aspect holds it back slightly in its final score. To be efficacious, profane oaths require a little foreknowledge. The original intent, after all, is blasphemy, either in an act of impiety, nihilism, or iconoclasm. Without that knowledge or belief, the word becomes only a mild expletive. It’s like swearing in a different language. The phrase fills space and serves a role, but it no longer works as effective “profanity,” faux or otherwise.

Once the series is wrapped up, I feel like I’m going to want to revisit this one.

Final Score: 4.0

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Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.