If you have ever watched a romantic comedy or sit-com in which the characters consistently make bad decisions with predictable, plot carrying outcomes with an ending you can foresee as soon as you recognize the formula, then you know how it will feel reading Storm Front.
The idea of the book is good. The main character with the semi-secret unfortunate occurrence in his past that might come back to haunt him is well-worn but comfortable terrain. The idea of a modern crime noir story with the magic twist is what drew me to the book in the first place. However, despite the fact that noir stories tend to be somewhat formulaic with stereotypical characters, you still want characters' reactions to make sense. The interaction between the two main characters were completely unbelievable. Dresden would avoid explaining something to Murphy for no apparent reason - in his mind there seemed to be nothing between telling her nothing and revealing all the secrets of wizardry. Then Murphy would completely over-react causing an end to their friendship. The formula was drawn up before the book was written - have the protagonists have a love-hate relationship, always antagonizing while secretly liking each other. Then the plot was manufactured to fit the outcomes, only not very realistically. And the ending was so incredibly predictable that it would have made using deus ex machina more entertaining...at least it would have been a surprise.
As for the performance, the narrator goes for a world-weary, noir character type of performance. However, he just succeeds in coming across as weary. There is no inflection between characters, all are narrated the same with a minor attempt at an accent for Bob, and therefore he does not add anything to the book.
So, returning to those sit-coms and romantic comedies. If you enjoy those stories as a relief from a hectic day or if you can live with a few "What the...!?" moments, then this might be a good beach read. Other than that, I would pass.
I love james Marsters as an actor and artist. any book he narrates and gives his voice to will be in my list.
Beginning: Carpenter Middle: Marine then Firefighter Latter part: IT Admin; Books have always provided fuel for my imagination to feed on.
Great story. To bad they killed the tv series.
I like the background story and the use of magic. Well done.
Has slow moments, but sets the characters up for a promising future. Not the voice I imagined for Harry, and he sounds a little odd when speaking as a sultry female but overall good narration.
I had heard about the Dresden files for years, but just got around to reading the first one. My expectations were surpassed. The background is derivative (far, standard supernatural creatures, Lovecraftian horrors, secret wizard societies); but that accusation can be leveled at other, popular series (looking at you, Larry Correia and Charlie Stross). That's not a knock- I enjoy all of those. Jim Butcher does a nice job of integrating the hard-boiled detective story with the magical background. All the characters were written well, save Morgan, who came out pretty one-dimensional. The plotting is quick and tight, as befits a detective story,
James Marsters did a good job of narration. He is a little too quiet for me, but my main beef is that he plays Harry too dryly. I know it's appropriate for the character, but even when giving an inner monologue about how much he detests the things the villain is doing, the narrator's tone sounds like he couldn't care less.
Still, that's a niggling point that doesn't really detract from the audiobook. I enjoyed this first book and look forward to more of the series.
Good entertaining read/listen. I want to know what happened to the reporter...maybe in another episode? Narrator was skilled at providing appropriate emotion.
It's enjoyable enough to have gotten me to read the next, but simply a good start for a SPECTACULAR series.
This is one of my favorite series. I recommend it to most of my friends, whether they love fantasy or scifi or mystery or thrillers. I am currently rereading this series and maintain my initial assessment: if you want to get someone hooked, or just want to give your book club a good taste, START WITH #2: Fool Moon. The second book just has a couple of relationships to catch up on, and all the best elements of the series. (You can still read #1 later without many spoilers, but if you don't you won't miss any vital info.)
If you want to start from the very beginning, this is a fun book and rest assured this very long series just keeps getting better. This first book in the series is, I believe, the author's first published work. It is very enjoyable but isn't as action-packed and well-rounded and full of constantly evolving complex story line as the rest of the series.
I don't write a ton of reviews because I read too much; I average at least 3 written books per weekend and at least 8 audiobooks per month. When I'm in the car (to ward off road-rage or impatience) or when I'm home and sick or having a bout of insomnia, audiobooks are my drug of choice. I read and listen to just about everything: from romance to fantasy/sci-fi to thrillers to great literature to (usually scientific) nonfiction... So I get around and can be pretty jaded about books within certain genres and about long series. For example, Anita Blake is virtually unrecognizable toward the end of her series and yet each book in the series is very formulaic. I still read it and enjoy it, but it isn't in my mental "top books" list and I only recommend it to select people. That said...
THIS IS ONE OF MY TOP 10 SERIES from any genre. It has everything. It's visceral and real, yet there's a sense of the fantastic... There's a definite plot with lots of twists and magic is explained with just enough of a science-y rationale & approach without it killing the wonder. The characters are all great. The world is fully flushed-out. It's present-day Chicago with most of the world unaware of the supernatural. Dresden always has a smartass comment and gets more & more thoroughly injured throughout each book (no improbable bullet-dodging like many action heroes), but still pushes through. This series is VERY long, but it isn't formulaic, friendships change and evolve, people evolve and are the reader is (and characters are) reminded of the fact that they have changed.
James Marsters is a great narrator. He doesn't really do voices but the women sound female enough without sounding like wilting damsels or shrieking harridans. Sometimes, I'm not sure who's talking, but it quickly becomes clear. However that can be made okay since the series is all in the first person, as told by Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, Wizard/PI. His pace fits the scene. His voice is soothingly low but not monotonous. Harry's age isn't clear in the beginning but he seems to look to other characters like he's in his early 30s, although Marsters' voice makes him sound mature he has enough of the words' flavor in his tone to keep Harry sounding young enough. He does some more voices later on.
It was a very clean start to the series without a huge cast of long term characters to keep in mind, and in the end everything comes together nicely.
The toad-demon scene is I think the best in the book.
I re-read it over 3 days.