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.
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.
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.
I really enjoyed this audio book, from the great humor to the great delivery by the reader. Magic does not have to be about a child growing into power, indeed it does not have to be in Hogwarts, this is set in Chicago and all the better and more enthralling for it. I will be getting the rest of the series, well now! I will also look out for the narrator who was one of the best I have listened to [and I have listened to a few now].
Well done...now where is the next book..
This is like a Nancy Drew book for adult geeks, I'm a 33 year old male, fairly geeky but not overly so and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Yes there is lots of sexual innuendo, perhaps too much. But it's all in good fun and I'm sure the geeky guys will enjoy it alot. The hero of the book is basically a grown up nerd (wizard), running around blasting demons, being a tough guy, saving women and generally kicking ass. A fun listen. The only annoying part about the audio is that the narrator swallows audibly and frequently.