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
I likely won't listen to it again, but mostly because there are so many other books in the series!
The story is rich with both plot and interesting characters.
The performance was done well - emotive without being overwrought, and Marsters never tries too hard to use different voices. Instead, he relies on tones and pacing, making it easy to differentiate between characters, without being distracting.
The reader's tone, the disclosure of magic and past without divulging everything in one book was great. Makes me interested to hear more.
No, this was my first. Great voice, but he really should've spit the gum out before reading. I would love to hear more of his stuff. He was Dresden's voice to perfection. Just please, lose the gum.
His dialog is funny and creative. While telling a good story. So nice to find a mind giving food for thought and fun too.
This is an excellent tale, however, the narration is regrettable. His voice is deep, toneless, and rarely is there the slightest bit of inflection. You will likely enjoy it in spite of the narration, but one should be aware.
It was so hard to get passed all of the sighs and bored voice of the narrator. It would be so much better if the narration was different.
yes, and that's an understatement
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.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
Well, I clicked the "Series" word under the author's name and checked out the list of the books to come, and skipped to the last book listed, Book 15, and read a review there that makes me feel that this is a series that will be fun to listen to and shows promise with a good evolution of character.
The first book in a series is not always the best, but this book shows me that this is going to be enjoyable. The ratings average of over 4.5 usually means I'm not going to be wasting my time either.
Off to Book 2 . . .
I’ve heard a great deal about the audio books of (most of) the Dresden Files, read by James Marsters. Really, there is absolutely no need to sell me on the man who was Captain John Harper and – especially, and always – Spike. No need at all. Given the crankiness of the car, I also had no problem justifying the joining of audible.com, and so I downloaded Storm Front for $7.49 (such a deal!) (no, really!) and put it on my iPod.
Marsters doesn’t just read the story. He is Harry Dresden, telling me what happened to him late that summer. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s first person – which is hereby my new favorite book format: first person audio.) He gives as much attention to the details of making Harry real as he ever did for any onscreen character. I love it. During a fight his voice went low and fast, describing the action with intensity – and then made me laugh when he read a line of Harry’s outraged-at-an-uncalled-for-attack dialogue. Beautiful. Just beautiful.
And his Bob is just … dreamy. Not something I ever thought I’d say.
To my surprise, I’ve seen a lot of negativity – mostly from women – about Harry’s deeply ingrained chivalry – called by many chauvinism. Who the hell does he think he is to protect Murphy the way he does, she’s a grown woman and a cop for *!’s sake and she can take care of herself how dare he?? As I said, it took me by surprise; it’s not something that ever troubled me. It’s probably not something best addressed after reading just Storm Front again; it becomes a real problem later in the series, for some. Here’s my thinking on it after this first book, pseudo-psychology (for which I apologize) and all; there may be minor spoilers for Harry’s background.
My surprise comes from the fact that … well, he is what he is. He is tall, he is dark, he is powerful, he has a strongly developed sense of justice, and a perhaps over-developed sense of chivalry. It is what it is. When he meets with her here, Bianca observes that Harry is a gentleman, a charmingly passé thing to be. He pulls out her chair for her – before and again after she tries to kill him – and politely declines to comment on the change in her appearance when the human façade drops. Even if it wasn’t gauche to a deadly degree to comment, Harry wouldn’t; it would be rudeness to a(n apparent) woman.
(“I was passing polite to her” – *hugs Harry/Jim Butcher for using the word “passing” in this context*)
Harry doesn’t have much experience with women, either in a romantic sense or, really, any other. He’s not celibate, but he’s not nearly so un-celibate as he’d like. He could be rather more active, but he’s not, for many reasons. His mother died – was killed – when he was very young. The extensive Criminal Minds training I’ve received chimes in right there with the comment that this alone could account for his having an idealized image of Woman: he never had the chance to learn his mother had any ordinary human flaws, and therefore even as an adult, knowing she wasn’t perfect, he still has lodged deep within him that ideal image. And since he hasn’t known so many other women well, by extension that perfect image has not had too many strikes against it. He hasn’t had so very many romantic liaisons (one of the many reasons I hated the tv show, that error), he has never had a sister, and Murphy – particularly in the beginning – isn’t quite a friend; he doesn’t seem to have very many female friends, if any. Women are a race apart.
And let’s face it. Karrin Murphy aside, how many women are there – realistically – who could defend themselves in the sorts of situations Harry finds himself in? How many people, for that matter, male or female? I don’t find it at all unreasonable for Harry’s first instinct to be protect, without taking the extra moment to process the additional data: “Wait, it’s Murphy. She might be able to handle the demon by herself.” For him it’s emergency = reaction; I find it difficult to believe that people expect him to hesitate to try to protect anyone who happens to be nearby, female or not, in the situations he finds himself in. And in truth, no amount of martial arts expertise or firearms proficiency is going to help much against a summoned demon or a PO’d vampire.
I don’t accept the interpretation that Harry thinks women are in any way weak. He’s not stupid. He has a great deal of respect for women. For him, being a gentleman, that old-fashioned role, is the way that respect is expressed. When he takes risks to protect, say, Murphy, it isn’t a result of stepping back and thinking “Geez, Murph can’t handle this. She’s all little and female and all. I’d better do it.” It doesn’t matter who the person beside Harry is, if they’re not another wizard. It’s instinctual: if it’s something paranormal, he has the skills to handle it, and he will. He can’t help it. He shouldn’t help it.
While reading I never really noticed that every time Harry encounters a woman, the detailed description of her includes her makeup. It’s another complaint I’ve heard about the books: every time, we the readers find out what a woman is wearing in clothes and cosmetics. I did notice it more in the audio, probably because my nose was rubbed in it prior to listening. On the one hand, I get it – Butcher really, really wants his reader to see the characters. But on the other hand I admit it’s a little odd. But on the other hand it does make sense – he’s a PI and a wizard, both of which callings require strong observational skills. Where most men might take notice of too much or too little makeup, Harry – not unlike Holmes, in other recent reading – sees more. Clothing and cosmetics indicate quite a bit about a woman: economic status, personality, sometimes intent. A woman in full war paint wearing Jimmy Choos is probably going to be very different in reaction and conversation from a woman in lip gloss and Nikes, or no makeup and Birkenstocks; it’s self defense to make note of the appearance a woman presents to the world. And, on the other hand, he makes note of similar details about everyone – it doesn’t bother me.
In other words, I can and will find excuses for any perceived flaw in Harry or the books. They’re just that good.
Storm Front was never my favorite Dresden, though way back when it was more than enough to thoroughly hook me on the series. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that I don’t like about it; I love so many of the elements: the introductions to many of the major characters we’ll be spending the series with; the carefully stingy doling out of information on Harry’s past, promising further exploration later (I admire Jim Butcher’s skill at doling out the information – about Harry’s past, his present, and everything else); the three-dimensionality of the second-tier characters like Monica and Johnny
Marcone and Mac. The story is well told and solid, and given that it’s a first person narrative from the hero’s point of view I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that in the end good triumphs over evil in a big way. So I don’t know where the visceral reluctance is toward the book; it could be simply that the murders that begin the book are so brutal and sexually charged. I’m not fond of the cases Harry is dragged into. It’s a heck of a beginning when the big strong hero loses his lunch over a crime scene.
Membership to audible.com: $7.49 a month for the first three months, $14.95 a month thereafter. Storm Front download: one credit. James Marsters reading the line “You may think you know something about vampires” and then talking about a character named Spike … Priceless.
"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.
I just stumbled across this book and quite honestly, being a Buffy fan of old, purchased it because James Marsters was reading it!!
I wasn't disappointed. It gripped me from the word go and I listened to it practically non stop. The story was gripping, the narrating excellent and I am now on book 5!!
I urge anyone who likes a bit of fantasy fiction to listen to this series, they are well worth it.
Magical, gripping, exciting
The emotion he uses as he reads the story in the first person. It's like he is telling his story directly to the listener.
"Awesome Intro to Harry Dresden!"
Storm Front is a great first book in the Harry Dresden series. James Marsters gives a masterful performance, bringing the story, and Harry, to life. Enjoyable from beginning to end. Now onto the 2nd book...
"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.
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