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'm a geek with people skills. Strange, I know, but true!
This review is partly for Storm Front as a stand alone work, bit it is also a teaser for subsequent books in the series. I've listened to all 14 titles available as of this writing, so obviously I enjoy the series.
In creating Harry Dresden, Jim Butcher has created a character every bit as gruff and chronically misguided as Carl Kolchak, the Chicago reporter featured in TV movies and a series which aired in the 1970s. If you enjoyed Kolchak, I expect you'll enjoy Dresden as well.
Harry Dresden is a typical reluctant hero, doing what he thinks is best, partly because no one else sees the problems at hand, partly because no one else can tackle the bad guys causing the problems, and partly because he's a sucker with a heart of gold who doesn't know how to quit, especially if he's outnumbered, outclassed, and in a fight WAAAY out of his weight class.
The stories read like old fashioned whodunnits, told in an easy narrative by Harry himself, almost as if he was sitting with you over a couple of beers, telling you his story, his insights, his motivations, his screw-ups... all of it. The style is very much like Kolchak's narration, but this time we're dealing with someone who knows more about the supernatural going in. Dresden knows when he's up against mega-nasties, knows when his chances of survival are practically nonexistent, and true to the reluctant-hero standard, he goes flying in where any sane person would collapse into a gibbering mass.
And he survives (usually - but that's for the spoilers), learns, grows in power and responsibility. It takes a while, but over the course of the series Dresden goes from being a convicted murderer a hair's breadth away from execution to becoming a recognized defender of humanity in general and Chicago in particular. Supposedly, Butcher has mapped out a full-story arc for Dresden and hinted that it will take another 10-12 books to complete that arc. If that is true, I'm betting that Harry is in for a helluva ride!
In reading the Dresden Files, James Marsters has also progressed, gaining skill as an audible book performer with each new volume. This first volume is the most rough, the least polished of the series. (It may have been his first audio book reading ever, but I can't confirm that.) There are several places where he mispronounces a word or two. There is background noise, the turning of pages... not a lot of it, but enough to be a distraction, especially if you are accustomed to listening to audio books.
But fear not! By the very next book in the series, Marsters improves tremendously, both in terms of his performance and in the technical aspects of delivering that performance using his voice alone. Before the end of the second book it is impossible to imagine anyone else bringing Harry Dresden to life. Indeed, in the one book where another performer did the narration (Ghost Story: The Dresden Files, Book 13, Narrated By John Glover) it took a while to adjust to the difference in cadence and delivery. Don't mistake me, Glover did a fine job of narration, but after hearing Marsters as Dresden's voice for so many, many hours, it was a lot like having a familiar stranger in your home. Familiar, but not quite the same.
Fair warning: If you are impressionable and have issues with horror stories, stay away from this series. If, on the other hand, you enjoy murder mysteries, film noir, cagey gents and sultry sirens, Harry Dresden will keep you entertained for a great many hours!
What a fantastic series to have stumbled upon! Love this book, and the narration by Marsters is masterful. Perfect pitch - thank you, have downloaded the next...
Finally finding time to enjoy my first love... "reading" ... in a whole new way that fits into my busy schedule.
I read the reviews...the good, the bad...and decided to give Storm Front a chance. As have many others, I too have seen the TV series and was interested to see how it translated into book form. I was very pleased with this book. The plot was a little predicable, this is true... but for me, it did not detract from the enjoyability of the book. I am the type of Audible listener who rather enjoys the narrator who does "all the voices"... James Marsters (at least in this book) is not one of those. I was admittedly disappointed as the "pages turned" to reveal this, but I must say, he won me over. Some of the reviews stated the reader's breathy voice was annoying...I simply envisioned Dresden sitting right there in front of me weaving his witty tale and counted it in as part of the ambiance. I highly recommend Storm Front and I honestly can't wait to read the next book.
i will start off by saying "The Dresden Files" is one of my all time favorite series. having said that, I almost never gave the series a real chance because of this book. this is by far the weakest book in the series, can definitely tell this is the writer's first book.
years ago i was looking for a new audio book series to get into and i found this series, i remembered seeing the commercials for the tv series on scfy, and thought it looked interesting (but never watched it). so i pirated a torrent of the first 11 books, i now own the entire series by buying them off of audible, including the ones i had pirated.x
but this book, it took me 3 tries to get through it, it was just a bit too corny in places for me. it almost read more like some sort of cheesy sitcom in places, kept expecting to hear canned laughter. and the reader, you could hear him breathing into the mic, moving his spit around in his mouth, swallowing etc. having said that, the reader is now one of my favorites, i have bought books just because he read them. this was his first book reading and it shows is all.
Then one day i needed a book to listen too, had no other options, so i broke down and listened to the second book (Fool Moon) and thoroughly enjoyed it. the difference between this book and the second one was night and day,fool moon is a great book. and fell in love with the series after reading the 3rd book. i would ALMOST suggest skipping this book and would if not for it being referenced and some of the story/characters coming into play in later books, so you'd be lost if you didn't read this one.
after having said all that, i still recommend buying this book and just powering through it to get to where the series starts to shine in Fool Moon. and gets even better in Grave Peril where it introduces a lot of the main characters you'll see through out the series like Michael, a knight of the cross, he has a sword with a nail from THE crucifixion worked into the hilt to fight the forces of evil and one of Harry's best friends.
the series is great, has a little bit of everything in it angels, demons, trolls, ogres, fairies, old gods, etc. the series is very clean sex content wise, there is one sex scene out of 15 books. now i'm no prude, but i don't enjoy some dude whispering in my ear describing 2 characters sex acts on each other...
I liked James Marsters' voice, but I hated the fact that the recording registered every sigh and exhalation he uttered over the course of the 2 hours I listened to. At first, I thought that he was providing a carefully planned nuance of the protagonist by delivering the performance in a way to enhance our perception of the character as a slightly depressed, careworn wizard. Unfortunately, I will never know how the story ends, because it was too distracting listening to Marsters breathing. In the world of sports, they cover the microphones to eliminate the distraction of wind blowing over the mike... something similar should have been used here. This is the only book that I have ever wanted to return. Guess I'll have to pick up a hard copy at the library if I want to give this series a try.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
First, let me say this is a great series. If you haven't been keeping up with this one you've been missing out. The author notes that this is the first book he wrote. it shows in that while it is a great world with interesting charcters but you can tell this is an early work of the author as it is rough in a few points. Part of what I love about the series is that each book continuously gets better in the series (up till changes). It is cool to see Buitcher evolve as an author in front of your eyes as you go through the series.
The 3 stars is to be able to show the improvement in the author writing throughout the series. Those are 3 Butcher stars which is equal to 4-5 stars for most other authors. The narrarator is awsome. He has a wide range and is harry Dresden as far as I am concerned. You need to get this one for certain.
Don't give up on this series because of the poor start by reader James Marsters. He improves rapidly and by the fourth book is an excellent reader. In this first book, pronunciation errors and pacing problems will be irritating, but the series is worth toughing it out.
The book itself is the beginning of a great series, which has justly earned it's popularity. In this book the characters are just beginning to display their depth and definition. The story is funny and exciting, with a pleasantly complex urban magic setting.
As usual Jim Butcher has done it again. This book was full of excitement mystery gore and intrigue. I stayed up all night unable to put my iPad down and get some sleep before church, which means I'll be snoozing during service. If you've never read or listened to a Jim Butcher book, I have one question. What the hell are you waiting for? He is a brilliant writer who has the presents of mind to know that James Marsters is exactly who should narrate his books. Unlike some books h knows that once you have the right narrator keep them. If it ain't broke don't try and fix it. I love it.
Narration was excellent. Story line was good. I enjoyed the main character, the situations and the plot through out. I however HATED the counterpart Murphy. Hated her. enough that I had to fight myself not to turn off or skip the parts that she was in. I found her that annoying. I am hoping she improves as the series goes on or I will have to ditch it which is a shame and the main story line, Dresden's story is just awesome.
So how do you rate a book that has great narration, and good story but part of it annoyed the heck out of you? Middle of the road unfortunately with higher marks for the performance and main story because I can't fault those.
I will never listen to another book narrated by this reader! He sounds like he has a mouth full of saliva, constant swallowing, & heavy breathing. His physical noises were very distracting from the story.
It was a great story just needs a different narrater
"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!
"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!
"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.
"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.
"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.
"A brilliant first novel."
There's very little to fault in this story if you like the genre. It has a great atmosphere and imagination to it. The hero is flawed but likable. There is a good supporting cast of characters. The plot is interesting. James Masters, the narrator, was just as good as I hoped he would be, acting out the story in a way that really draws you in. The main question, given how popular this series is, is why haven't you listened to it yet?
So why haven't I given it a five? The story does lack the depth of novels written by my favorite authors, it is a little too predictable and plot devices heavy handed at times. However, this novel was enjoyable and easy to listen too. I don't give out four stars easily so Storm Front has a lot going for it and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
"dresden files book 1."
james marsters amazing narration skills.
jim butchers whit filled writings.
i've listened to all dresden files books read by him all very good.
not in this one no but in later books yes
if only the uk store could get all the dresden files including the latest one and side jobs i'd be very happy. well worth a listen.
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