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
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
The world is just an illusion
Story is really good. I used to watch the tv show before it was cancelled. This was a storyline they covered in the Pilot but it's different enough that it felt fresh to me.
The narrator sounds really like a hard boiled detective. Whether or not intentional he sometimes moves which gives the sense of a detective sitting back in his chair and trying to puzzle everything out. Doesn't break the flow at all.
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.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
This is one of my favorite series. The Dresden Files is about a modern day wizard in a world full of magic hidden to the public. Sometimes crime can not be solved by the authorities and needs someone more qualified to deal with it. Harry Dresden has his faults but he is genuine about his need to help others. You will find the characters will develop and grow on you in future books. The series does get darker as it goes on and I found more humor in the later stories.
Storm Front lays down the ground work and I don't suggest you skip around too much. I started with book 2 and ended up giving it a poor review because I found some of the characters annoying and some flaws with the narration. I am extremely glad I continued on because it is worth the pay off in the end. James Master has his issues with his breathing in the first few books. However, he is now one of my favorite narrators on audible. You'll see a lot of people say this, 'James Master is Harry Dresden.'
I enjoyed the TV series and watched them before I got into the book series. If you are not sure about the book series you should check out the TV series. They aren't the same but they might give you better idea of what to expect.
Storm Front may not be a 5 star read, but the Dresden Files is a 6 star read as a whole and by my math that averages out right for this review. If you like fantasy/mystery you shouldn't pass up buying this one. Another plus about this series is it is very long. We are on book 15 now and Jim Butcher seems to have plenty to continue to write about!
I picked up the Dresden Files TV series on DVD after a friend recommended it to me. I remember that the show started slow for me and initially seemed to be the standard fare of low budget TV offered by SyFy. As I consumed more of the TV series I began to enjoy it more, and when it was over, I found myself disappointed that there was only a single season.
Being a fan of Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series, and finding myself wanting more Harry Dresden, this book seemed like a safe bet for me. Of course I went into this book with an existing impression of who Harry Dresden is, and how he sounds, and found James Marsters to be an excellent choice as the voice of Harry Dresden. Marsters doesn’t exactly excel at some of the other voices in this reading, especially the female characters, but he is an excellent Dresden.
This book introduces the reader to the Butcher’s version of an urban fantasy world that includes wizards, demons, fairies, the White Council, and various disciplines of Magic. It also sets the tone for Harry’s place in the world, which isn’t exactly on the top rung of the supernatural ladder, and starts to detail his relationship with Murphy at the Chicago Police Department. So it is strictly the basics and it actually feels like an episode of a TV series. The bigger story arc is there but you don’t get a lot of details about it in Storm Front. The story for this one episode is wrapped up nicely and you will need to tune in next week to find out more.
After listening to this book I feel like I did after watching the first episode of the TV series – it’s a slow start. As a stand-alone work I could recommend a lot of better ways to spend your credit, but as a starting off point for a longer term relationship with Harry Dresden, I feel that it was a good investment.
I am a registered nurse and a father of four great kids. I live in a rural part of Oregon and love it. I enjoy books, but Sci-Fi Fantasy has allows been the ones I reach for more than others.
Yes, not only did I enjoy this book but so did my wife and sons who were on the long trip with me. Listening to this book has caused me to spend too much money on books-I have since bought the whole Dresden series and continue to do so.
Mr Marsters made each character easy to follow even when their name may not have been introduced every time they would talk. I would listen to more books narrated by James Marsters.
If you like Urban fantasy, you will enjoy this book
It was entertaining. the story pulled you in slowly.
That even though Harry was a wizard, he acted more like a detective. He seems to stumple his way into situtations than he takes control through magic. He scares you and also makes you laugh.
Wow! What a surprise. I watched the Dresden Files on SYFY, and wish they continues the series.But since I started the books, I’m really a fan the TV series did not come close. Big thumps up & five stars.
Very enjoyable read...something different for me. It was not at all gratuitous, but very well written; good character development and descriptions.
Avid listener of Scifi and Fantasy. I've found so many great books with the help of member reviews. Hopefully I can return the favor.
I've listed to the first two books of the Dresden Files. I like the magical detective aspect in a modern world. Jim Butcher pulls this story off without the cheezyness factor that a lot of modern fantasy hybrids have.
That being said, the two books I read aren't my favorite. Harry Dresden the main character gets himself into a lot of easily avoidable trouble that makes me very frustrated with the books. It seems like the author has trouble generating conflict and excitement without Harry making predictable bone headed moves.
Butcher has created an engaging and fun world that blends mythology magic and modern day Chicago. Harry acts a lot like a crotchety old man, although I don't think he's supposed to be that old. The grumpy old man act is a mix of annoying old school ideas and endearing genuine kind hearted eccentricity. In the end you can't help but like Harry Dresden even if he's a pain sometimes.
I like magical world and characters much more than the predicable plots in the two books I read. That being said, plenty of people seem to love these books.
Worth a credit, but not one of my favorites. I haven't decided if I'll buy more books from the series.
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.
I loved this Novel James Marsters is Harry Dresden. 10/10 can't wait to start book 2
I'd recommend this book as its one I've listened to on cd several times and have just got it on here to listen to on the go good from late teens onward if your in to the myth and magic type books also if your in to some crime novels too but with a magic twist
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