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.
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.
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!
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger
This series has been on my to-read shelf forever, so when the first two installments in audio went on sale I just couldn't resist. I'm really glad that I finally gave Harry a chance because I loved his POV, and the fact that his story is told by James Marsters certainly doesn't hurt either. Wizards and male protagonists are uncommon in Urban Fantasy, two definite pluses. The plot was entertaining, I enjoyed Butcher's humour, and the magic system showed promise, although STORM FRONT would have benefited from more development where the latter was concerned, thus my 3 star rating. I look forward to listening to more of THE DRESDEN FILES.
"A good short read!"
I am afraid that I'm not quite as enthusiastic about this audio book as the other reviewers seem to be. I am a great reader of fantasy novels and so this one was pushing at an open door. Despite the interesting concept of a wizard detective there seemed to be something missing. It is a pretty short read at eight hours, and it bowls along at a good pace, but I felt that the characterisation of the villain, was sketchy to say the least. The best thing about this book is the narration, with its film noir style, it was wholly appropriate.
I know that this is the first of a series of books and it may be that the author will improve on the plots. I will probably give his next book a listen, just to see how he progresses.
"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.
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.
"Excellent book - narration is a bit odd"
Excellent plot but the narration is a little odd. You can hear the narrator rustling at points and he makes a few odd noises where I think he's clearing saliva from his mouth. It put me off at first but I learned to tune it out as the story was so amazing!
Really wanted to like this, but Harry as a character left me a little cold. I think the problem with first time out novels is a balance between the characterisation and the unfolding plot, and i would have preferred more of the former and less of the latter. The narration was good, it had the right pace and emphasis, but ultimately I came across this off the back of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series, and it couldn't compete.
The noir-esque style of writing.
Magic and supernatural stuff
I love the Dresden Universe. It and the rest of the series are perfect for people who like magical stuff in a real world present day context.
"brilliant story read really well. Would recommend"
brilliant story. really well read. brilliant pace. I looked forward to listening to this one.
"Heavy breathing spoils this"
Although I really enjoyed this book, and even Marsters delivery of it, the sound of him breathing irritated me immensely. I know he has to breathe, and I obviously don't begrudge him it...but the deep, noisy breaths he takes are off-putting. And not only that but near to the end there was some background noise that sounded like a cat washing itself?! I thought it was one of my cats until I realised none of them were in the room! Other than these minor annoyances, the book was brilliant and Marster's excellent as Harry. I will definitely listen to more in the series (but hope for less extraneous noise)
"Storm Front - Jim Butcher"
First switch to a new genre for me but I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I'm downloading no. 2 in the series.
What can I say. I'm not a fantasy fan usually, but this is a more gentle switch from a strictly crime/thriller genre to a lighter more humorous read. If you like Ben Aaronovitch this would probably suit you.
I loved this Novel James Marsters is Harry Dresden. 10/10 can't wait to start book 2
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