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
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.
I wanted to like the main character, Harry Dresden, and the story, especially given that this book was highly rated when I came across it, and the concept of a modern-day wizard detective (as Dresden is) holds good entertainment potential for me.
However, from his heavy sighs to sharp intakes of breath to sounds of his mouth opening and closing to mumbling, the narrator made listening to this story a torturous experience for me. I struggled to finish and was relieved when the book was over. (I could have stopped midway and returned it, but I really wanted to give the story a chance despite the flaws in the delivery.)
I chose this book because I was hoping to get wrapped up in a new mystery series and this is the first book. Maybe I'd consider another if there is a different narrator; however, at this point, I'm planning to try my luck elsewhere.
My dad was looking for a new series...I'd heard good things about this one - so I picked up book 1 to evaluate - and that was going to be it. It was good, and I got a bunch of the paperbacks for my dad, the end.
Well...then there was that 3 for 2 sale...so I got 2 and 3...so I could discuss with my dad. Thing is...the series starts getting good right around book 3. I had a bunch of credits...so, fine, I'll get one more...Now I'm on the last hour of book 10, and just spent my LAST credit on book 11. Every time I tell myself this will be the last one, and every time I'm buying the next one before the one I'm on is done.
Butcher does an excellent job of catching you up on what happened in the previous book - and by "excellent", I mean he spends about 15 seconds hitting the high points - perfect. The characters in this series all just continue to grow on me - Dresden is a very lovable main character - but the other characters are just as good - Murphy, Michael, Marcone, Toot-toot, Thomas, Ivy, Kincaid, Molly - my god - I'm just realizing how long the list of characters I like is...and yeah, some of the few I listed aren't in book 1...or aren't...as important yet.
Marsters is an excellent narrator - I'd have given him 5 stars, except that he makes a few small changes throughout the series - from the voice or accent of a character to the pronunciation of a name - and in his defense, the changes are few - and they are the correct changes...
Anyway - the only real complaint I have about this series is that I go through the books so fast.
I first met Harry Dresden one lonely Saturday night. He was tall, perfectly spoken and I spent all the time I could with him before we were parted by circumstances beyond my control. Darn single season television.
I was hooked and was extremely excited when, after my weekend binge, I discovered that Harry Dresden was THAT Harry Dresden of the book that I had downloaded based on a review all those months ago and sci-fy recommendation and hadn't had the time to listen to yet. Needless to say, I MADE the time right then and there. I was in love and wanted more.
And he gave it, in spades. Jim Butcher has created a character in Harry who is totally believable, even if you, like me, think that a wizard is someone who belongs anywhere medieval but not modern day. Harry is a roughened character who...feels...right. Someone you would know and love to hate because of his smart mouth, attitude and general piss-you-off-regularly personality. We all know people like him and we all love and hate them. This book is the perfect introduction to Harry Dresden and will leave you eager for more. Even my guy, who rarely actually pays attention to what I am listening to, was drawn in and asked for more.
While there is magic in this book and series, its not airy-fairy...though there are faeries...and vampires and...other things but I won't spoil anything, I promise. The magic is seamlessly woven into the daily life of Dresden, not overpowering any one aspect of the story and it is wholly believable that Harry's Chicago, and world, could be mine too. Coming from someone who lives 50 miles away from Forks, has been camping in La Push and never looked twice to see if anyone sparkles or looked for a wolf in the forest, let me tell you, it was a fantastic feeling.
I'm not sure I liked Marster's rather deadpan interpretation of the main character. However, what made the book tough to listen to was the sound editing. You can hear every lip-smack, swallow, inhalation / exhalation from the voice actor. This is typically edited out and it's the first out of 50+ audiobooks I've listened to where the performer's breathing and swallowing is so readily apparent.
Full disclosure - this review is on the audio engineering only. Listen to the preview before purchasing! I returned the book and never finished it.
This is a great book! Very entertaining and unique read! However, if you have listened to latter books of this series you'll notice James Marsters dosen't hit his stride untill about book three of four. He's a little listless in this one but dose get better!
I read a lot of Urban Fantasy and had read some of Jim Butcher's short stories published in anthologies. A co-worker recommended Storm Front and the rest of the series and I thought it would be time to take the plunge into a new series.It was okay; not great in my opinion. I think part of it was the narration. I've listened to several other audiobooks and have bought series based primarily on the speaker's voice. In this one I was distracted by background sounds, breathing, swallowing, editing stop/starts. The narrator's voice was pleasant enough and fit the character but didn't do much for the times when the main character wasn't speaking.
Murphy the cop. A woman in a man's world she holds her own.
I did buy and am listening to the second book in the series but it doesn't seem much better.
I think the key with this series is to remember the Falcon. IF you dug that hard boiled, no non-sense, sarcastic detective story, then you'll probably like this. It's that and magic.
If you're not into the 1940's stereotype private dick, then you, like me, will probably have a hard time keeping a straight face. I just kept expecting him to tell me that the neighborhood was tough as a $3 steak or about the knock-out's killer gams.
The narration was perfect for the story. There are some imperfections in it- you can hear him turning pages and the breaks between places are too obvious- and he is something of a loud sigher, but it suits the character. If I were casting the role of gritty wizard detective, constantly wrongly accused and perpetually on the edge of bankrupcy, I'd have picked this guy.
The story is good too, for the style. Yes, it was somewhat obvious, and you might feel the need to grab Harry by the lapels of his stupid duster and shout whodunnit, but that may just be me. It may not actually be that obvious for everybody, but the clues are there if you're looking. I'm willing to blame the character's sleep deprivation in this one.
So, the writing was fine, the story was good, the narration was fine. It just isn't what I was looking for. If you like this sort of 40's era detective novel, you'll love these. If not, don't waste your time.
A great character voice, thrilling action (more than once I paused it and ran to excitedly tell my husband "And then there was this giant scorpion and he cast this awesome spell and-") and a very interesting magic system. The magic captures the joy I felt when first reading Harry Potter, yet developes it into something that feels real and complete, somehow beyond mere fantasy.
I've listened to a few more of these and there's two consistent flaws. One is that the reader keeps breathing heavily into the mike, and the other is that characters keep having extended conversations during the time it takes a monster to run across a room. Either that's one slow monster, or they're talking at lightspeed. In general, the pacing of action sequences is often askew, with characters having time to do things that they really would not have time to do, and events being described as though in slow-motion.
But that doesn't stop Butcher's action from being some of the most creative and exciting I've ever had the privilege to read, and that, combined with the overall extremely high quality of the work, makes me heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery, action, fantasy, paranormal or noir.
Loved this book! This book was a great and addicting listen. It was just like listening to someone tell me the story what happened in person!
"A great story & brilliantly narrated"
I confess that I am a great fan of Jim Butcher's Dresden series and was very much looking forward to hearing the audio version. Well, I am delighted to say that I was not disappointed - quite the reverse.
James Marsters (who played Spike in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is a superb narrator. He perfectly captures Jim Butcher's quirky, almost conversational style; he brings Harry Dresden himself brilliantly to life, as well as drawing the other characters with great aplomb; and he keeps the momentum rolling along without let-up. Great stuff.
As for the book itself, I think it is a model on how to write the first of a sci-fantasy series: it perfectly balances the need for thrills and spills, humour, human interest, goodies and baddies with developing the magical background and back-plot. The series improves with every book so I very much hope that Audible get the rest of the series after the first four, all of which are available on the US audible website.
"Gripping and atmospheric"
Stylish supernatural rollercoaster of a novel, Butcher captures the Film Noir genre perfectly and adds an arcane twist. Harry Dresden, the only person advertising services under "Wizards" in the yellow pages, has a knack for finding trouble. In Storm Front, Dresden becomes the target of a brutal killer who has crossed the forbidden line to kill using black magic, and has learned how to harness enormous energies to kill his victims at a distance. Treated as a suspect himself, by the police and the white council of magic, Dresden faces seemingly impossible odds - he must stop the mysterious sorcerer before it's too late.
James Marsters delivers the narrative with Phillip Marlowe perfection. I can't recommend this book enough - I can't wait to download the next in the series!
"Superbly read by Marsters"
First of all I cannot recommend the narrator James Marsters highly enough. He has the character of Dresden down to a fine art. The combination of story and Marsters reading was exceptional, so much so that I often laughed out loud at some of the snarky comments. As for the book, well Jim Butcher has found a loophole in the Supernatural book market and created a wizard, who is funny, interesting and captivating. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
"Great fun and beautifully read."
I tried this book on a whim and i'm so pleased i did. I think i had presumed that after reading so many paranormal books written from a female's point of view that one from a mans' might be a little gung ho and hard to relate to but i was so pleasantly surprised. The protagonist has a brilliantly dry sense of humour that had me giggling out loud every now and again. It was also so refreshing to read a paranormal book that was well thought out and consistent from start to finish, not getting muddled halfway through or getting a little silly by the end. Harry's back story is explained just enough without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty and it was amazing how quickly one was able to understand and relate to the character. In addition i loved the fact that even though the male lead was strong the female roles all had a character of their own. Usually strong or atleast independant, not just simpering excuses for gratuitous sex.
This was all supported by fabulous narration by James Marsters. Such a fantastic voice for this character, he manages to capture the wry sense of humour just perfectly.
So overall i think you can see that i loved it, now on to the next one!
"Magic meets PI"
First time I have read a Harry Dresden book and looking forward to reading the rest. A good mix of PI investigations, conflict, magic and action kept the plot going until the end. The characters were well drawn and easy to emphathise with. The plot draws you into the authors world of magic, fairies, demons and humans. I was slightly put off at the start by the world weary narration, although this suits the character it seemed slightly over the top but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story.
"Dashiell Hammett with Magic bits"
This is a great romp of a story. A grumpy wizard / detective, in the style of Sam Spade, with lots of fallen women, sex, power, a mob ring and a ticking timebomb of a deadline thrown in for good measure. Even though I had the plot twist figured out half way through (I've done a LOT of detective novels) the magic angle made everything fresh and new. I will definitely be getting the next book.
"Amusing and gripping"
I missed the TV series but I had the impression it was the sort of story I'd like and I was right.
The story has kept me hooked and I've looked forward to my bus journey to and from work but I've even found myself listening while doing the housework - it's the equivalent of the 'unput-downable' book.
James Marsters is pleasant to listen to and although there's quite a lot of irony, which we're often told Americans 'don't get', I found the delivery spot on.
I'm definitely going to get the next one in the series.
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.
"Narrator let's the audio book down"
Too much breathing and swallowing by the narrator which I found annoying and distracting. Also very sombre and tepid during the action sequence, felt no sense of urgency.
"Good Book, Excellent Series"
My first experience of the Dresden Files was the TV series some years ago; it was okay, but didn't particularly thrill me. I only started reading the Dresden Files because I got the first few books cheaply but they have very quickly grown to become my favourite series of novels and something of an obsession (there's a roleplaying game and there have been related kickstarter projects).
Storm Front is the start of the series and it does start a little weakly, it's a solid book and I enjoyed it - but having read/listened to every book in the series multiple times now it's certainly not one of the best. It's required reading for the ongoing series though, it introduces you to a number of characters, the vast majority of whom crop up again and again throughout the other books and the events of Storm Front still come up in much later books.
Jim Butcher has written these books as though they're Harry's journal or internal monologue, including his off hand thoughts and sarcastic comments. James Marsters captures the character amazingly, and really *is* Harry Dresden. The books have become my favourite series and the audio books (collectively) have become the standard by which I judge all audio books.
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