I've finished Jim Butcher's first 2 Dresden Files books--this title being the first--and even though I've moved on and I'm now reading other novels, I find myself thinking of The Dresden Files in the middle of the night or at random times. If I feel like reading, my mind automatically assumes (with pleasure) that I'll be reading about Harry Dresden. That's a very high recommendation for any novel.
For those who don't already know, Storm Front introduces us to Harry Dresden, a practicing wizard living in Chicago. That set up and the resulting complications are what make The Dresden Files fun to read. Harry's an interesting character, with a colorful past involving a mother who was a witch, a father who was a stage magician, and an uncle who taught Harry how to be an evil wizard.
In Storm Front, people are being murdered from the inside out, literally. For Lieutenant Murphy of the Chicago Police, it's clear something strange is going on, so she calls on Harry, who occasionally works as a special consultant to the police department, helping with crimes that appear to have no worldly explanation. The magical universe Jim Butcher has created is both believable and fascinating. Learning about that world through Harry's eyes is what I believe is the best part of these books.
I have two major disappointments with these novels: Harry Dresden and Lt. Murphy have a working relationship; yet neither trusts the other. Lt. Murphy especially distrusts Harry Dresden, and the explanation for that distrust seems weak, at best. The false obstacles she places in Harry's path caused by this distrust hurt my enjoyment of the story. At the same time, Harry Dresden has a self-blame complex. Everything is his fault and his responsibility. I found his constant need to blame himself just plain irritating, especially when there was nothing he could have done differently.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel. The good definitely outweighs the somewhat minor irritations.
I loved the story and the narrator voice acting, but, like others, found the excess captured physical noises like breathing, swallowing etc very distracting. The chapter or section transitions were also very abrupt...breaking the flow.
I am glad I purchased it and would highly recommend it to all, but I hope they fix the sound issues for future books.
I accidentally listened to book 10 first, before I realized it was part of a set. I was a little lost, but realized that I really liked the writing and audio acting. I then searched out and found this book. After listening to it I can tell that it was an earlier effort. Not quite as good with story or acting, but still quite a good book and worth listening to if you like things like magic, demons, and dry wit.
If you love PI stories and have a hankering for the occult then Harry is your man, or rather, wizard. Butcher's use of sarcastic wit and bouts of unabashed sentimentality blend together for a witch's brew of pure delight. If Marlowe or Robert Parker had decided to write a Private Eye novel using wizards, the fey, vampires, and such then I don't think they could have done any better than Jim Butcher. I am so happy Audible is beginning to carry the rest of this series. Try it! You'll be hooked!!
...or is that Marstersful? I became hooked on Butcher after listening to a short story based on the series in 'My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding', and was drawn in by the wit and style of the author. It takes a really excellent author to convince me to read all of his books after one short story, but that is exactly what happened. Stormfront is a terrific book, full of humor and action, and Marsters reading of it is nothing short of stupendous. I would absolutely reccomend this book, and can't wait to read the rest.
It must be hard - harder than just publishing your book - to publish a book in this format. Not only does the book win or lose due to it's quality, but it has the added complication of being able to fail due to the narrator being unsuitable to the material.
This book, and it's narrator, bring Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden to wry, sarcastic life.
What the book and narrator have, the audio editing could have brought out more. You do hear James Marsters take many a deep breath, and for many of those, it seems to fit into the nature of the character being portrayed. After a while, you understand that better editing would have alleviated the background product of getting long passages of text out.
I had still made the decision to download the next few books in this series by the time I'd reached the middle of the book. I'd checked first to make sure that the narrator was the same, and he is, before doing so.
A bad narrator has often caused me to stop downloading what might have otherwise been an excellent choice. A good narrator, like this one,
has caused me to listen to entire series I might otherwise have gotten in paperback.
I recommend this to fans of mysteries, magic and modern fantasy.
"Storm Front" is the first of Jim Butcher's audiobooks to which I have listened; and I expect to continue listening to this series. I bought "Storm Front," because members reviewing Mike Carey's audiobooks (which I highly recommend) kept comparing them to Jim Butcher's works. They do have a lot of similarities, and, together, seem to form a sub-genre all their own -- supernatural detective fiction. I like the literary concept of supernatural beings -- fairies, demons, ghosts, and the like -- moving among us, invisible to all but a few of us. Naturally, those who can see and converse with these beings have an advantage, and can help to solve crimes instigated by them. So those gifted humans make good detectives. Unlike some of the other reviewers of "Storm Front," I liked James Marsters' narration very much. He has a pleasant, soft voice that goes well with noir; he makes good vocal distinction between the characters; and he uses non-verbal cues (yes, such as sighing) skillfully to convey the characters' emotions. I recommend "Storm Front" to anyone who can appreciate off-beat mystery stories and good acting.
The narrator really has the right tones and pauses for the real 1940's style gumshoe detective-lots of fun. There is solid story, suspense, and unexpected humor that makes you laugh out loud. I've already bought the second one... One thing, though - readers should know going in that this does contain adult content. It is tastfully done but nevertheless not suitable for young listeners.
I average three books a week, but as I cannot afford to purchase that many books I frequently re-read those I already have. If you are here looking for reviews, I typically only review those books I feel particularly strongly about or have some insight that hasn't yet been posted in a review.
There are a lot of problems with this book, many of which are in the production of the audiobook (the editing is crap - you have to listen to the reader breath constantly and it really interferes with the flow of the story, though on rare occasion it fits whats going on). The story itself is a very light read and not very immersive. The concepts are interesting but the story is lacking.
However, that said, the second book is great. This book really only serves as a necessary stepping stone to set the stage of the series and introduce you to its characters. The second book will knock your socks off. My only complaint is that the reader/editing doesnt get a whole lot better (the reader is actually quite good, and fits the part, but man the editing is bad and it makes him sound bad).
I only progressed past this first book because Butcher's Calderon series is so good I couldn't believe this series didn't get better - my faith was entirely justified and I intend to purchase the rest of the series.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Like Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, the narrator and protagonist of Jim Butcher's Storm Front (2000), has great magical ability and power enhanced by a magical education (though he received his before Storm Front begins), casts spells in Latin, uses a tool (a staff) to focus and amplify his magic, has trouble with authority figures and members of the opposite sex, and is at times drawn to the dark side but is really a good wizard who champions the ethical use of magic: "Wizards control their power. They don't let it control them. And they don't use it to kill people. They use it to discover, to protect, to mend, to help."
Unlike Harry Potter, Harry Dresden is also a private investigator, being the only openly practicing (and advertising) wizard and specializing in finding lost things and solving paranormal mysteries. He also does consulting work for the Special Crimes branch of the Chicago police. Like most hard-boiled detective genre private investigators, Harry Dresden has trouble paying his rent, lives in a seedy apartment, has no wife or girlfriend, and projects a cool, macho exterior beneath which pulses a chivalrous and soft heart.
In the first pages of the novel, Harry vomits at a crime scene, is told to take a vacation by the ruling Chicago gangster Johnny Marcone, and is hired by a suspicious woman to find her husband. Soon Harry is caught up in a dangerous case involving a pretty and strong woman who heads the Special Crimes unit, a lovely paranormal magazine reporter who is digging for a scoop, an informant fairy who likes pizza, a vampiress Madame who runs an elite escort service, a sexy former prostitute who may have some helpful information, and a black wizard who makes and sells an addictive drug that may give users the "Third Sight" through the surfaces of the mundane world. And the secret White Council of wizards is closely monitoring Harry to execute him if he ever misuses magic again.
Storm Front is a page-turning novel that fuses the detective and fantasy genres and explains magic--being based on the energy in nature, emotion, and will and being inimical to electronic gadgets--far more than does the entire Harry Potter series. Harry Dresden is a likeable character, a good guy with a complicated and tragic past and, unlike Harry Potter, a sense of humor. However, Harry also at times seems unintentionally juvenile. And many of his lines are corny, like "All I had were more questions for Miss Randall, and she was as closed as a bank on Sunday," or "If I didn't get out of that room in a hurry, I was going to start crying like a little girl," or Black Wizard: "You!" and Harry, "Me!" And Harry refers a few too many times to his long legs or tall frame. And he may be a bit sexist, believing "that men ought to treat women as something different than just shorter, weaker men with breasts." And the novel could be denser and richer.
James Marsters does a good job of reading Harry's narration--making him seem like a real person who feels, breathes, and swallows--and the lines spoken by the various characters, enhancing their personalities and emotions without doing uncomfortable falsettos for women.
If you'd like a quick read and are intrigued by the idea of a wizard private investigator, try Storm Front, but keep in mind that it is less hard boiled and bleak than Chandler and less magical and philosophical than Le Guin. I enjoyed it, but won't be in a hurry to read the remaining 14 or so books in the Dresden Chronicles.