The plot progresses smoothly, the story reads well, and Harry is a fun character who is his own worst enemy. There were several times when the decisions he made were not realistic. But if he made the realistic choice the story would have ended sooner. I will buy the next in the series because I liked the story. I was reminded of old black and white mysteries with characters that Humphrey Bogart would have played. Harry is smart, tough, and has a dry sense of humor.
The only thing I didn't like was the Narration. It's not James Marsden fault. I blame the production staff. I found it hard to listen to Marsden swallowing and taking deep long breathes. I know the guy has to do both, but, it's distracting and it takes away from the story.
I passed on buying the books since they came out. I listened to the sample and read a few of the reviews. The mention of the deep breathes and swallowing in the reviews was enough to keep me from buying it. I finally gave in because it was something different and I ran out of titles from my usual authors. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but the swallowing was very distracting.
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 write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)
First, let me say this is a great series. If you haven't been keeping up with this one you've been missing out. The author notes that this is the first book he wrote. it shows in that while it is a great world with interesting charcters but you can tell this is an early work of the author as it is rough in a few points. Part of what I love about the series is that each book continuously gets better in the series (up till changes). It is cool to see Buitcher evolve as an author in front of your eyes as you go through the series.
The 3 stars is to be able to show the improvement in the author writing throughout the series. Those are 3 Butcher stars which is equal to 4-5 stars for most other authors. The narrarator is awsome. He has a wide range and is harry Dresden as far as I am concerned. You need to get this one for certain.
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.
Sci-Fi & Fantasy Reader
I recently picked up the first 12 books in the Dresden Files series during a sale, because I've been hankering to re-read them and also because I was really interested to hear James Marsters (of Buffy fame) read them. It was an excellent decision.
The Dresden Files are some of my favorite books. The may not necessarily be the absolute finest works of literature, but they really speak to nonetheless. So going in, I expected to enjoy Stormfront because I can still remember reading it the first time and then going and reading the next seven books in the serious without pause.
What I didn't expected was just how much I would enjoy a novel that I had already read. It was simply fantastic. Harry Dresden is one of my favorite characters (hands down) and I absolutely love the way the Jim Butcher writes this series.
Right from the beginning, the action kicks into high gear and, somehow, Butcher finds ways to continually raise the stakes throughout the novel. But one of the things that I love best is how, in the middle of the action, Butcher will pause to explain what Harry's doing or give additional details about how magic works. You might think this would disrupt the pacing of the novel, but it actually works really well.
I've said many times in the past that one of Butcher's real talents is writing characters. Harry is obviously a great character, but so are many of the secondary characters including Murphy, Bob, Susan, and Mac.
What's really amazing is that, despite the fact that Stormfront is thoroughly enjoyable and good enough to earn a 5 star review, it's just the beginning of the series and the books actually get better.
But I can't conclude this review without giving some props to James Marsters as well. He did an excellent job. He really captured the tone of the novel and his voice is just perfect for Harry.
I wanted to like this more. I really, really did. But at most, I could give it 3.5 stars.
At the core of the story is down on his luck wizard, Harry Dresden. He did something naughty in the past that has him on the wizard version of probation. He even has a magical probation officer following him around. To make ends meet (which he barely does), he's on retainer with the police as a consultant and at the start of Storm Front, he gets dragged into a murder investigation at the same time as a cagey woman shows up at his doorstep wanting him to help find her husband (who may or may not have been playing with magic.)
Harry seemed a likable enough character but I wasn't drawn to him. I don't know if it was James Marsters reading of him or what, but he just sounded bored to me all of the time. That put upon voice that was just resigned with everything, like "This again? Okay, whatever." Even parts of the action (mostly earlier in the book) were read with that same resigned voice and it didn't exactly draw me in.
Harry also didn't seem like much of a wizard. He kept getting jumped. He was constantly scared though apparently, he's very good at not showing it (eye rolling) and he seemed to get out of most situations more by luck than skill. There were a few bright spots when suddenly he would get angry and do something awesome, but these points were a bit far and few between in the character building sections.
Morale of this review - I didn't fall in love with our hero, Harry, and that makes it hard to fall in love with the books. I hear the series gets better later in the series and I'll probably read another book or two...eventually.
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.
This is a great book! Very entertaining and unique read! However, if you have listened to latter books of this series you'll notice James Marsters dosen't hit his stride untill about book three of four. He's a little listless in this one but dose get better!
I swear that this reader has a chicken bone in his mouth through the entire book. And if he's not eating something, he is thinking about it. And now that I've said something, that is all you will be able to hear too. You're welcome! Does he slurp? SNIFF? Salivate, and then eventually swallow it all? You betcha!! But, the story is so cool that I'll have to listen to it all again. Sick!
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.