With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.
©2000 Jim Butcher; (P)2002 Buzzy Multimedia
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.
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.
My first Dresden book, I almost thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hard to get past the various mouth noises by the narrator, which my have been by design--I'm not sure. After I heard that first "smacking" noise I couldn't NOT hear them.
However, I really liked the overall story. Harry, the good Wizard who likes to read and has a fabulous sense of humor, and fights crime! I can see why these stories have such a large following.
If you enjoy off-beat crime/fiction with some fantasy thrown in, I recommend it.
I wasn't sure how I would react to this book about a private-eye wizard, but it turned out to be surprisingly engaging. The author has a vivid, eccentric imagination that draws one into his fantasy world. My tolerance for wizardry, however, has been pretty well exhausted -- I don't plan to listen to the others in the series, in part because the narrator nearly drove me nuts. His delivery was needlessly, and often incongruously, breathy and whispery, with lots of distracting sighs, lip smacking, and noisy swallowing. Perhaps he just had his mouth too close to the microphone, but shouldn't the audio director have corrected this problem? Check the sample carefully before you buy this book, and bear in mind that 8+ hours of this narrator's irritating delivery may exhaust your patience.
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.
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!
The whole fucking book was fucking great. Great fucking story, great fucking narrator, great fucking time.
If you want a fucking great audio book, get this fucking title.
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!
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.
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.
"James Marsters & Jim Butcher a winning combination"
James narrates the book with deft ease and brings to life the world of Jim Butcher and his protagonist Harry Dresden. Butcher's world is full of fairies, vampires and demons as well as gangsters, cops and unfortunate victims. Though the ending seems a tad rushed compared to the slow burn of the earlier chapters but this is forgiven because there is a definite sense of satisfaction after finishing the book. James Marsters does a marvelous job and it's hard to think of anyone else who would do better. Some of the themes are a tad dated now, especially the image of the swooning woman who falls for Harry (but for plot reasons). Still I would recommend this to anyone looking for a magic / murder themed book
"A Wizard Detective? Great fun!"
Read this book after reading an audible review of someone who had read and enjoyed lots of similar books to me. Like them, I greatly enjoyed this different and interesting book. The protagonist is like a slightly cynical, hard-nosed Harry Potter whose life didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to and is now a P.I. The story is a good one, and the usual mobster, his pea-brained henchmen and gansta-moll avoid any cliche by the unusual wizard element to the story.
Recommended as an unusual read that is well-narrated, passing the time atmospherically and at times humourously.
Narrated in a gruff, world-weary voice that captures the emotion and attitude of Jim Butcher's celebrated Harry Dresden, this first installment of the series offers much to enjoy. (Listen, for instance, to how the narrator knows exactly when to make Harry sigh.) Sure, you won't come away from this experience thinking about life in profound new ways, but you will certainly have laughed outloud a few times, never once gotten bored, and you'll perhaps never view scorpions or toads the same way again.
This is a fast-paced fusion of noir detective novel and grown-up wizard story. It's at once dark, creepy, funny and frolicking. One scene in particular, involving a magic circle, a toad demon, a love-potion and a spirit trapped in a talking skull (narrated with a slight and amusing British accent), stands as one of comic fantasy's funniest, and rivals anything Terry Pratchett wrote. Highly recommended, if a little short at only around eight-hours listening time. I look forward to listening to, or reading, the whole series.
I bought this book out of complete curiosity - a private detective who happens to be a wizard? I was hooked within the first 30 minutes - BRILLIANT narrator (one of the best I've heard) - excellent storyline - the magic side of the story grows as it progresses - fun and creepy, fantastic and mystical all at the same time. Harry Dresden is a great wizard - the magic weaves through the story ending in a brilliant action blasting conclusion. I found it a really good read and hope to be reading more of this series in the future.
Why does it have to be so sexist will the male nerd demography not read anything that does not unnecessarily objectify women. Does it get better as the series progresses?
Good performance though I enjoyed the tired sighs every three sentences.
The narrators loud breathing and saliva noises were very off putting. Apart from that it was OK although he could have put a bit more life in to the performance.
I've read the whole Dresden Files series, now exploring in audio. You've got detective noir, a likeably shambolic wizard, the usual suspects of urban fantasy, and a couple of hard boiled cops rolled into one excellent book.
James Marsters is just sublime as the narrator. his pacing and characterisation are very consistent, and while his "british" accent is a bit of an RP hodge podge it's far from the worst I've heard and only a small component of an otherwise excellent read.
"After the hype - it didn't disapoint!"
I was so excited to read this, having heard so much about it. I haven't seen the tv show, I knew nothing except that it was supposed to be good. Usually after that much hype most books tend to be a let down. Not this one! Loved it, was especially thrilled to find it narrated by JM, who let's face it is hot with a voice that matches, and a perfect fit for the internal thoughts of Dresden's character. Jim Butcher, you have a new avid fan.
The Narrator is captivating and I think I like Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.
I am very much interested in what his past adventures were and hope the author explores this side in future installments
"What a Wizz"
A great page turner, brought to life by James Marsters excellent voice. Can't wait to listen to the next one
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