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!!
This is a really great series, and I would highly recommend this book. The only thing that bothered me was the narration. The reader sounds like he was sucking on a lozenge while narrating this book because he often makes mouth noises, lip smacking sounds, and sighs a lot. This was really annoying and distracting, and I had a hard time paying attention to the story. If you can get past that though, this is a really fun audiobook.
Story isn't bad. Mainly well written and generally enjoyable, although the seemingly pointless antagonism between Dresden and pretty much everybody comes across as forced.
There is however a glaring issue... constantly having to listen to the narrator sucking and swallowing. Ask a 5 year old a question during dinner and you'll get a similar sort of sound. And then there's the regular inappropriately timed sighing. If it's that hard a job being a narrator for audible I would suggest he find another line of work.
Second thoughts... he should probably find another line of work regardless.
This is the second Harry Dresden book I've listened to, and must say I'll probably just keep going from there. Can't believe it took me so long to give this series a try.
The narration is excellent, he picks up all the characters excellently, with all their little mannerisms. You feel scared at times, and laugh out loud at times.
The book is non stop mystery, action, suspense, with a touch of sexual tension.
Love the characters that are being built, and looking forward to more of this series.
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.
Love epic sci fi and fantasy, but hate looking of really good books. So many duds out there. I am gamer too.
Marsters is more than any narrator, he is a voice actor. Most narrators just read and do change up in voices. For example a character will same something, then the author will write something like and he laughed, and the narrator just reads the line straight. James will add that laugh when he is speaking. He also does the breaths, sighs, adds tension, etc. He brings real emotion and life to the characters. Butcher does a great job of doing this book in 1st person, not many writers can pull it off. Patrick Rothfuss is a good example of poor 1st person writing for comparison. What I like about Butcher is his owns the vamps, zombies, werewolves, fairies, etc, and breaths news live into them. I so loathe vampires any more, but he makes them refreshingly interesting. If you ever watched the TV show it is nothing in comparison to the books. There are somethings that do bother me though, like wizards foul up technology, wish is cool. But revolvers that do work and semi auto pistols don't does not really add up, since revolvers can have more parts than an auto does and semi autos are not that much older than modern cartridge revolvers. Also he can drive a car but can't own a frig? All a frig is a motor, pump and temperature switch. A car has more moving parts than that. Those are small things but easily forgiven since it does not effect the story that much and probably something only a person like me would notice. Highly recommend that you read the books in order as they will make more sense that way, but each book can stand alone. Also read, Side Jobs after you read book 12 or it will spoil the plot of the other books. Ghost Stories book 13 is due out in July 26, 2011.
We have the print versions and took them to jamaica with us, they go very easy with rum. We have bought the audible books available but really want Books 5, 6 & 7! It leaves a big gap in the story line.
James Marsters is a very good narrator, he handles the characters very well. Jim Butcher has done a very good job with The Dresden Books! I am very cheap, so I really have to love a book to buy it in print and Audible!
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
i bought like 9 of the books in the dresden files last year when they were on sale. why? b/c i was starting to branch out into the fantasy genre, and a lot of my friends who've read and listened to the dresden files highly recommended them. plus, all of the reviews on audible portray the series as spectacular. so being relatively new to the fantasy genre, i decided to start with some of the most loved series.
after listening to stormfront, i can honestly say i would've gladly paid the regular price for it! it was a very entertaining story, and james marsters is an excellent narrator. his pacing, tone, and inflection draw you deeper into the world of harry dresden so that you are totally engrossed by the story. marsters may now be my favorite narrator. he's just that good!
as for the story, it is quick moving w/o a dull moment. harry dresden is introduced as chicago's only wizard in the yellow pages, and as such is often mistaken by most people as just another birthday party magician. as the story begins, harry is down on his luck- he hasn't had any clients in a while, and he's behind on his bills. he gets a call from a woman who says her name is monica and wants to hire him for his services.
after he sets up a meeting for later in the afternoon, harry gets a call from karin murphy, who is the director of the special investigation unit for the chicago police department. murphy hires dresden at times for his insight when the regular cops hit a dead end investigating weird or strange cases, and this is one of those times. all of the other cops think dresden is a crackpot and often mock him and his findings.
dresden is led into a hotel room where the bodies of 2 people have had their hearts ripped out while they were having sex. dresden tells murphy that this was done by some powerful black magic. the man is one of johnny marcone's henchmen, and the woman is one of bianca's call girls. this leads dresden into both the criminal world and the world of the vampires.
i haven't read/listened to many stories about vampires, but the vampires in this story are grotesque and fearsome. on the surface, they wear human skin, but underneath, they are disgusting looking creatures. johnny marcone is a creepy character in his own right. he's not your stereotypical mob boss. he's cool, calm, and collected, which makes him even more fearsome.
after dresden leaves the crime scene, he has his 1st intense meeting with marcone. after they take each other's measure, marcone drops harry off at his office, where he's late for his meeting with monica. harry's ad in the yellow pages says he's a finder of lost things, and monica wants harry to find her husband.
so starts the story. jim butcher does a good job weaving all of these plot lines together to create an engrossing, action-packed, paranormal detective story.
throughout the story, there is a lot of humor. it's authentic not artificial. a couple of times, i found myself laughing at dresden's predicament. i won't spoil it for you, but dresden finds himself in a pickle of a situation with his pickle out. LOL ok...i've said enough, maybe too much.
overall, stormfront is an excellent story to listen to! very fun and enjoyable! i'm glad i took a chance and lept into this genre.
Whether or not you like Harry Dresden will depend on your tolerance for annoyingly cliched tools used to entertain you. I mean, I like reading Ian Fleming, so it would be silly (or at least inconsistent) for me to claim that Jim Butcher is particularly egregious or untalented. Butcher is not a great writer — at least not in this book — but he's not an altogether bad one, and Storm Front is a moderately entertaining caper about a Chicago wizard/PI who has the usual problems of scraping up rent, a missing person to find, mobsters on his case, shadowy nemeses who want him dead, femme fatales, and magic and vampires and faeries and a lecherous talking skull thrown into the mix for fantasy flavor.
Suspensions of disbelief are always required in UF, and my biggest one was actually a fairly prosaic concern: dude has magic powers, in a world where those are pretty rare (the book is not altogether consistent about whether the wizarding world — yeah, I'm gonna call it that — is "secret" or just generally goes incognito) and yet he's struggling to pay his bills. Okay, I get it, Magic Has Rules and you can't just conjure up a pile of gold, but still, as the only wizard in the entire Chicago area, and supposedly a pretty formidable one (despite the fact that he gets his ass kicked by everyone he meets, magical and mundane alike), you'd think Dresden could come up with more innovative ways to profit off of his talents than advertising in the phone book as someone who will find your lost wallet.
Some of the worldbuilding is intriguing (the White Court, the rules of wizardry which seem to be reasonably well thought out without being excessively infodumped) and some are just lazy (vampires, faeries, ghosts, etc., Butcher seems willing to drop the whole fantasy kitchen sink into his universe).
As a character, Harry Dresden is a neckbeard's wet dream, a clueless virgin who most of the gorgeous women he meets (all of the women he meets are gorgeous) throw themselves at, so he can manfully refuse their advances and congratulate himself on what a stand-up guy he is for not exploiting the chicks whose boobs he's totally not ogling. We get lots of passages about what a tortured bad-ass he is: his "soul-gaze" routine, where he looks into someone's eyes and they see into each other's souls and most people faint because Dresden is so, so dark inside, man! — is kind of contradicted by everything else he does, which is bumble around cluelessly, get bushwhacked by thugs with baseball bats, bullied by cops and mobsters, and try to figure out those mysterious confusing lady-creatures.
That said... the book was fun in a well-trodden way, there were some small bits that were neat, and I found it passably entertaining. Do I really want to go on and read the rest of the series? Practically every Dresden fan says that the first few books aren't very good but Butcher gets a lot better deeper into the series. That's not exactly an alluring prospect: "Read two or three mediocre books before you really get into it." But at some point I'll probably pick up the next one.
The story itself was pretty interesting but the reading was flat. I don't know if the character was supposed to be bored through the entire story but the reading sure was.