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
Well developed personalities, plausible plot (even for a mystical premise ) and character motivations.
Very entertaining private eye genre with a "cliff hanger" in nearly every chapter making it difficult to put down.
The series isn't so much about magic as it is about a tough and determined guy who gets a difficult or impossible job done with some magic involved.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Like Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, the narrator and protagonist of Jim Butcher's Storm Front (2000), has great magical ability and power enhanced by a magical education (though he received his before Storm Front begins), casts spells in Latin, uses a tool (a staff) to focus and amplify his magic, has trouble with authority figures and members of the opposite sex, and is at times drawn to the dark side but is really a good wizard who champions the ethical use of magic: "Wizards control their power. They don't let it control them. And they don't use it to kill people. They use it to discover, to protect, to mend, to help."
Unlike Harry Potter, Harry Dresden is also a private investigator, being the only openly practicing (and advertising) wizard and specializing in finding lost things and solving paranormal mysteries. He also does consulting work for the Special Crimes branch of the Chicago police. Like most hard-boiled detective genre private investigators, Harry Dresden has trouble paying his rent, lives in a seedy apartment, has no wife or girlfriend, and projects a cool, macho exterior beneath which pulses a chivalrous and soft heart.
In the first pages of the novel, Harry vomits at a crime scene, is told to take a vacation by the ruling Chicago gangster Johnny Marcone, and is hired by a suspicious woman to find her husband. Soon Harry is caught up in a dangerous case involving a pretty and strong woman who heads the Special Crimes unit, a lovely paranormal magazine reporter who is digging for a scoop, an informant fairy who likes pizza, a vampiress Madame who runs an elite escort service, a sexy former prostitute who may have some helpful information, and a black wizard who makes and sells an addictive drug that may give users the "Third Sight" through the surfaces of the mundane world. And the secret White Council of wizards is closely monitoring Harry to execute him if he ever misuses magic again.
Storm Front is a page-turning novel that fuses the detective and fantasy genres and explains magic--being based on the energy in nature, emotion, and will and being inimical to electronic gadgets--far more than does the entire Harry Potter series. Harry Dresden is a likeable character, a good guy with a complicated and tragic past and, unlike Harry Potter, a sense of humor. However, Harry also at times seems unintentionally juvenile. And many of his lines are corny, like "All I had were more questions for Miss Randall, and she was as closed as a bank on Sunday," or "If I didn't get out of that room in a hurry, I was going to start crying like a little girl," or Black Wizard: "You!" and Harry, "Me!" And Harry refers a few too many times to his long legs or tall frame. And he may be a bit sexist, believing "that men ought to treat women as something different than just shorter, weaker men with breasts." And the novel could be denser and richer.
James Marsters does a good job of reading Harry's narration--making him seem like a real person who feels, breathes, and swallows--and the lines spoken by the various characters, enhancing their personalities and emotions without doing uncomfortable falsettos for women.
If you'd like a quick read and are intrigued by the idea of a wizard private investigator, try Storm Front, but keep in mind that it is less hard boiled and bleak than Chandler and less magical and philosophical than Le Guin. I enjoyed it, but won't be in a hurry to read the remaining 14 or so books in the Dresden Chronicles.
I've heard about the Dresden Files through listeners I follow and never paid much attention, which was a mistake. I turned to it when there wasn't anything else of interest and now I am hooked. It has a bit of all the genres I enjoy - paranormal, suspense, romance, mystery, and a little police procedural. The best part is that it is witty without being trivial, but you have to be a quick wit. Not to mention that the variety of characters promises enjoyment for several more sequels. I ignored books I had cued in my library to buy Book 2, that's how much I liked it.
I am someone who enjoys audible books very much now that they exist. As a young student (real young) I can remember a teacher telling me how books can transport people to different places & open up a whole new world. This is how listening to audible books make me feel. Now if I can just stop falling asleep while listening to them at night I would be fine. Ha ha
And i don't even like Sci Fi books, to the point that if i do buy one by accident, i will send it back. Sometimes it is not easy to tell. But this book was very entertaining & the Narrator was great. He had a talent to make himself fall naturally into the main character. It was also quite humorous. And i learned a lot about wizards too.
You would think that with a series that has been running as long as Jim Butcher's Desden Files series it must have started with a great debut novel. At least that's what I expected. Sadly after jumping into Storm Front a week ago I did not see what all the fuss was about. My guess is people were captivated with the world more then a story. It's an urban fantasy novel that follows Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden (amazing name) a wizard in what at least in the first book seems to be in our world and time frame although I don't believe its explicitly pointed out.
Harry who's basically a detective with magical abilities is put on two cases early on in the novel while he also struggles to do normal human things like pay the rent. Lucky for him he's a Wizard and as such has abilities the normal police department don't have. What follows is a pretty run of the mill murder mystery with the added magical bits. The book very rarely makes use of its one big departure from the standard murder mystery and as such kept me entertained but never on the edge of my seat.
The other big problem is that because I listened to the audio version of the book the production value (which there was none) was a big distraction from the story. There was a lot of background noise, heavy breathing, other odds and ends that I've never heard in an audiobook before. I think the narrator was trying to read it differently since the story is told in the first person but it didn't work. All in all its not a bad book but I really doubt I will be going back for book 2 anytime soon.
Harry Dresden gets beaten up more than any PI character I can recall. Still, he gets up and keeps throwing his magic at the baddies, without any superhuman feeling to it. Enjoyable world building. Will follow this series for a while at least.
James Marsters does'nt read the book, as much as he acts it. Not always a good thing, but he pulls it off admirably. It takes a while to get used to his "reading voice" (breathing, sighing and all), but once you do, it fits the character perfectly.
It was a good book, but the narrators heavy breathing got really old really fast. Listen if you can manage.
Derivative but to be expected in a genre mash up tale. I'm late to the party with this series but the concept is really fun.
The recording leaves a lot to be desired. The reader is great, but clearly was not directed or edited well. You can hear stammers, saliva, lip smacking, etc. Doesn't ruin the ride but sure doesn't paint a talented narrator in a very good light. Producers and editors need to step it up.
This ranks up in the top 100 books I have listen to
I liked the idea of magic portrayed in a matter of fact, relevant to modern times manner
I was not a big fan of the breathing and other throat smacking which could be heard. For me this was a distraction kind of fingernails on a chalk board. I found if I speeded it up to 1.25X it minimized the distraction somewhat.
In a world where Magic was thought to be staged illusions….
I am looking forward to hearing the rest of the series
Favorite categories are: classics, history (especially WWII), literary horror, science fiction, and Catholic theology.
Marster's does an excellent job of giving the story the right noir/gum-shoe feel. Like a fantasy Phillip Marlow
The scene where Dresden confronts Biancha was tense and had a cinematic feel.
Marsters' acting ability was well suited to the first-person narration. He was an excellent choice. Unfortunately there were semi-frequent places where he might mess up the inflection, breathe at the wrong time- things that should have been re-recorded but made it feel like it was rushed and they couldn't be bothered. It detracted from the experience, but not enough that I wouldn't recommend listening.
No, the chapter breaks were well placed for tension and length.
Looking forward to hearing more in the series, hopefully the director/editor will have done his job and not make it feel slightly low-budget or amateurish.
"Lots of noise"
Yes. Great story but the narrator seem to be digesting food a lot.
He was good at showing the differences.
"Definitely reading the next one"
Very enjoyable to listen to - nothing great but will definitely pick up the 2nd book in the series as I am reliably informed they get better. Much better - and I can see why.
The storyline doesn't quite have the time to knit together the melding of the world as we know it and Dresden's world. This will come with time and I definitely want to hear more and where it takes Dresden.
"early day's of Dresden."
style not fully developed, story a bit spurious. but good for all that :)
Dresden and Susan's first date...
The narration on this title is dreadful. You can hear papers shuffling and furniture creaking and moving in the background which is rather distracting and annoying. The story seems okay, but to be honest it's hard to tell.
"Great story but narration was annoying"
As much as I love Mr Masters, I suffer from mysaphonia and his constant mouth noises and swallowing was distracting and made me want to switch off!!
"Gonna read me some more."
I understand this is the start in a successful series by Jim Butcher and I am hooked already. James Marsters performance was just so good. Between the storyline and Marsters' nuances and intonation which are just so compelling, I listened to the whole book in one night.
I like me a good detective story and this combined with magic and mystery means that I shall be following up on the remainder in the series very soon.
"Excellent story - masterful narration!"
The story is excellent and captured me right at the start. I will definitely be listening to the sequels.
The best part of this experience was James Marsters. hus voice is perfect for the story, for Dresden - simply perfect!
"Absolutely worth it."
Long time fan of Dresden files. I love Butcher's work to death and James Marsters is just the perfect person to take the role of Dresden.
"Amusing - enjoyable"
Excellent entertainment. Raymond Chandler nicely balanced with the supernatural in Chicago. Very plausible in terms of its assumptions. The narration works very well. I have bought the next one of these and think I will enjoy another one, though more than that might be too much, we will see.
"Great start to a series! 4.5 stars!"
Harry Dresden! I thought his character was absolutely fantastic and James Marsters portrayed him excellently. All of his funny little quirks and phrases made me laugh at loud (and look completely weird to people on the bus.. but who cares!).
Again, I'm going to have to say Harry Dresden. James Marsters was made for the role!
I strongly urge you to listen to this audiobook if you even have the smallest inclination to do so. The narration is superb - James Marsters definitely brings the characters to life. Most importantly, the story is absolutely fantastic and Storm Front is a really strong start to the series - I cannot wait to pick up the next one.
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