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Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1 | [Jim Butcher]

Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - What makes Harry Dresden so essential in the world of urban fantasy is his incapability to ignore those in need, or skip a single glitch in the appearance of a case - it makes him a good detective, and it keeps his character steady. Jim Butcher has created a wizard who exudes the callous confidence a private detective needs to survive and placed him in our world - a world where you cast a spell or become a thrall, trade or be traded, investigate or die. Narrator James Marsters embodies Dresden at his core, smooth and solid, with an unmistakable outside edge of gruffness that leaves listeners with a hardboiled swing in their step. —Erin

Publisher's Summary

My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I'm a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I'm the only one there.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (11115 )
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  •  
    Tom Hillsboro, OR, USA 05-20-10
    Tom Hillsboro, OR, USA 05-20-10 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"

    I loved the story and the narrator voice acting, but, like others, found the excess captured physical noises like breathing, swallowing etc very distracting. The chapter or section transitions were also very abrupt...breaking the flow.

    I am glad I purchased it and would highly recommend it to all, but I hope they fix the sound issues for future books.

    54 of 55 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-15-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
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    3
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    "Memorable"

    I've finished Jim Butcher's first 2 Dresden Files books--this title being the first--and even though I've moved on and I'm now reading other novels, I find myself thinking of The Dresden Files in the middle of the night or at random times. If I feel like reading, my mind automatically assumes (with pleasure) that I'll be reading about Harry Dresden. That's a very high recommendation for any novel.

    For those who don't already know, Storm Front introduces us to Harry Dresden, a practicing wizard living in Chicago. That set up and the resulting complications are what make The Dresden Files fun to read. Harry's an interesting character, with a colorful past involving a mother who was a witch, a father who was a stage magician, and an uncle who taught Harry how to be an evil wizard.

    In Storm Front, people are being murdered from the inside out, literally. For Lieutenant Murphy of the Chicago Police, it's clear something strange is going on, so she calls on Harry, who occasionally works as a special consultant to the police department, helping with crimes that appear to have no worldly explanation. The magical universe Jim Butcher has created is both believable and fascinating. Learning about that world through Harry's eyes is what I believe is the best part of these books.

    I have two major disappointments with these novels: Harry Dresden and Lt. Murphy have a working relationship; yet neither trusts the other. Lt. Murphy especially distrusts Harry Dresden, and the explanation for that distrust seems weak, at best. The false obstacles she places in Harry's path caused by this distrust hurt my enjoyment of the story. At the same time, Harry Dresden has a self-blame complex. Everything is his fault and his responsibility. I found his constant need to blame himself just plain irritating, especially when there was nothing he could have done differently.

    Overall, I highly recommend this novel. The good definitely outweighs the somewhat minor irritations.

    45 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-24-09
    Jennifer Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-24-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterful"

    ...or is that Marstersful? I became hooked on Butcher after listening to a short story based on the series in 'My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding', and was drawn in by the wit and style of the author. It takes a really excellent author to convince me to read all of his books after one short story, but that is exactly what happened. Stormfront is a terrific book, full of humor and action, and Marsters reading of it is nothing short of stupendous. I would absolutely reccomend this book, and can't wait to read the rest.

    46 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Columbia, MD, United States 07-13-09
    Donna Columbia, MD, United States 07-13-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent listen and a great start to the series"

    It must be hard - harder than just publishing your book - to publish a book in this format. Not only does the book win or lose due to it's quality, but it has the added complication of being able to fail due to the narrator being unsuitable to the material.

    This book, and it's narrator, bring Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden to wry, sarcastic life.

    What the book and narrator have, the audio editing could have brought out more. You do hear James Marsters take many a deep breath, and for many of those, it seems to fit into the nature of the character being portrayed. After a while, you understand that better editing would have alleviated the background product of getting long passages of text out.

    I had still made the decision to download the next few books in this series by the time I'd reached the middle of the book. I'd checked first to make sure that the narrator was the same, and he is, before doing so.

    A bad narrator has often caused me to stop downloading what might have otherwise been an excellent choice. A good narrator, like this one,
    has caused me to listen to entire series I might otherwise have gotten in paperback.

    I recommend this to fans of mysteries, magic and modern fantasy.

    35 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 01-19-12
    Tim TEMECULA, CA, United States 01-19-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    848
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    Performance
    Story
    "The Wizard Sam Spade"

    The premise that there is a real Wizard working as a private eye in Chicago is brilliant. The execution of the story and the performance by James Marsters is similarly near perfect. There is a gritty film Noir feel to the story which makes it at once credible and compelling. It has amusing moments and enough adult content for this not to be a great read for the Harry Potter crowd. The action (of which there is a great deal) feels very cinematic; you can imagine Riddley Scott doing a great job with the mayhem and monsters. I came to this series from the Iron Druid Chronicles which I have seen described as “Dresden Light.” That’s a pretty fair assessment, the villains are darker, sexier more violent and less funny in Dresden; it’s a different kind of story. If Iron Druid is ‘Twilight’ Dresden is ‘True Blood’. That’s probably a bit unfair to the ‘Iron Druid’ as ‘Twilight’ is horrible and ‘Druid’ is terrific...but you get my point. If I have any criticism of Dresden (and it’s slight) it’s that the hero almost never has a good time. There seems to be a rule in fantasy writing that along with fabulous magical ability comes a generally horrible life …to quote the Genie in Aladdin “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space.” Beyond that tiny reservation, this is a terrific story and performance which I can highly recommend.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Hico, TX, USA 03-21-10
    James Hico, TX, USA 03-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "Good - gets better"

    I accidentally listened to book 10 first, before I realized it was part of a set. I was a little lost, but realized that I really liked the writing and audio acting. I then searched out and found this book. After listening to it I can tell that it was an earlier effort. Not quite as good with story or acting, but still quite a good book and worth listening to if you like things like magic, demons, and dry wit.

    31 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bloom County, USA 06-23-09
    Amazon Customer Bloom County, USA 06-23-09

    Professor Opus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It doesn't get much better than this..."

    If you love PI stories and have a hankering for the occult then Harry is your man, or rather, wizard. Butcher's use of sarcastic wit and bouts of unabashed sentimentality blend together for a witch's brew of pure delight. If Marlowe or Robert Parker had decided to write a Private Eye novel using wizards, the fey, vampires, and such then I don't think they could have done any better than Jim Butcher. I am so happy Audible is beginning to carry the rest of this series. Try it! You'll be hooked!!

    39 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara C Houston Durham, NC United States 05-15-10
    Barbara C Houston Durham, NC United States 05-15-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Great Beginning"

    I had seen THE DRESDEN FILES on the SciFi channel wnich made me curious to read Butcher's book. When I saw that the narrator was James Marsden (Spike of Buffy fame), I d/l the book immediately.

    It's wonderful. Marsden's voice and Butcher's words combine magically to make the experience feel like it's being told to you by a friend. This one is more than worth a credit -- and the sound of the voice stays with you for a long time.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Snoodely Santa Barbara, CA United States 06-06-10
    Snoodely Santa Barbara, CA United States 06-06-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Good supernatural noir"

    "Storm Front" is the first of Jim Butcher's audiobooks to which I have listened; and I expect to continue listening to this series. I bought "Storm Front," because members reviewing Mike Carey's audiobooks (which I highly recommend) kept comparing them to Jim Butcher's works. They do have a lot of similarities, and, together, seem to form a sub-genre all their own -- supernatural detective fiction. I like the literary concept of supernatural beings -- fairies, demons, ghosts, and the like -- moving among us, invisible to all but a few of us. Naturally, those who can see and converse with these beings have an advantage, and can help to solve crimes instigated by them. So those gifted humans make good detectives. Unlike some of the other reviewers of "Storm Front," I liked James Marsters' narration very much. He has a pleasant, soft voice that goes well with noir; he makes good vocal distinction between the characters; and he uses non-verbal cues (yes, such as sighing) skillfully to convey the characters' emotions. I recommend "Storm Front" to anyone who can appreciate off-beat mystery stories and good acting.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 10-19-13
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 10-19-13 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Urban Fantasy/Mystery"

    Okay, so I am being converted from a "won't touch paranormal books " to a moderate urban fantasy/paranormal fan. It all began, I suppose, with Harry Potter when I really enjoyed the inventiveness and wit of the writing. But at that time I still maintained that Harry Potter was an anomaly: it wasn't the genre that attracted me, it was simply those characters and that writer that I liked.

    Then I happened onto the Peter Grant trilogy by Ben Aaronovitch in Audible. I absolutely loved those books -- they were well-written, wildly inventive and very funny. The adventures of a young constable in London who ends up being assigned to the division of the Met which handles anything which is "not normal" kept me entertained and laughing.

    I discovered the "Dresden Files" existence from references contained in reviews of the Peter Grant books, making comparisons between the two. "Storm Front" is the first of the Dresden Files, and now I am forced to admit that I am a fan of the genre. Harry Dresden is an engaging character, the only wizard listed in the Chicago yellow pages. His adventures are entertaining and laced with humor, and the mystery aspect was well handled. Comparing "Storm Front " to the Peter Grant books, I would say that Storm Front is darker, a bit more violent and somewhat less funny than Peter Grant. I also think that the paranormal creatures in Storm Front are not as developed as those in the other series, and more often appear as one-dimensional figures. These factors cause me to prefer the Peter Grant books, but I will be reading the rest of the Dresden Files, too!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • Barry
    Cumbernauld, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Good Start"

    Really good start to the Desden Files series, Marsters is decent in this book but note there were a few mistakes in the reading. I've started listening to audiobooks now while running & this book passed the time great. I enjoyed the book every bit as much as I did when I read it many years ago. As a result I've already bought 5 more from the series, although there won't be many left at this rate. My one criticism is it seems a little over priced on audible, compared to other audiobook sites it less expensive, even iTunes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M
    Winchester, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Third time through"

    Butcher has to be one of my favourite authors ever. I'm on my third listen of this book and I fully intend to get every other one in the series. Reader is competent and does the voices perfectly but he's a bit of a heavy breather at points so check the sample if that might bother you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stinne
    Nykoebing F, Denmark
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "A really good listen"

    This is a series that only gets better the further you get. Storm Front opens the series admirably while being a good standalone at the same time. The narration by James Masters felt convincing and highlighted the first person narration used in the book, it feels like Dresden telling you his own story.



    If you like urban fantasy and a good mystery, then you will not go wrong with this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heather
    London, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Great set up for the series"

    Ages ago I saw the TV series that was created based on the Dresden books. Now that I've heard the first in the Dresden series of books all I can say is, TV didn't do it justice. The characters and the setting are totally engaging the story rips along with great pace and verve, can't wait to listen to the rest! Oh, and James Marsden does a good job with the reading delineating the characters and situations very clearly attaching one to Dresden's plight (even though he's not the most uncomplicated character) making us root for him all the way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cornelia
    Hamburg, Germany
    8/19/12
    Overall
    "Lots of action, little wit"

    Lots of action, little wit, a well narrated story. If you like things exploding all the time, this is just the book for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lorna
    Hatfield, United Kingdom
    7/2/11
    Overall
    "Storm Front, unbelievably good"

    This is a mixture of really good Murder Mystery with magic, basically Harry Potter meets Morse. The narrator really does bring all the voices to "life", and once I, started listerning I could not stop listerning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christopher
    lancaster, United Kingdom
    5/30/11
    Overall
    "A great mix of crime, magic, action and humour."

    i'e recently read all the Dresden files and decided to give the audiobook versions a try. I highly recommand this audiobook to both existing fans of Harry Dresden and newcomers alike.

    Storm Front offers an exciting crime drama that kept me greatly entertained through out. I was slightly worried the narrator wouldnt be able to capture the atmosphere of the Dresden files storyline or the quirkness of Harry Dresden. My fears were misplaced. apart from a few pacing problems at the start (which is quickly rectified) , Marsters does a fantastic job of bringing Butchers book alive and i can't think of anything i would want to change in his narration.

    The storyline is tight and while the crime/mystery isn't going to win any awards for subtly or ingenuity, it is entertaining and acts as a great vehicle for the books main strengths:

    Jim Butcher has a way that makes it easy to get attached to his characters. Dresden is the best example of this; as we see everything through his eyes, it's important he is a strong lead. In no way does he fall short. His sense of humour is a fantastic contrast to the mostly dark atmosphere of the book. He is someone you love to root for and is the kind of hero that is great to read about and in a way relate to. This is due to the fact he isn't perfect, he has flaws. He doesn't always win the fight, he doesn't always make the right choices and most importantly, his actions are believable.

    The universe that this book is set in is one that surprised me with its originally. i've read a lot of fantasy/scifi books and when i started reading storm front i was delighted to find that Jim Butcher has a very cool and compelling view to how magic could work and one of the reasons i eagerly read the Dresden files is to learn more about the "Dresdenverse" and its mythology.

    The book isn't perfect, sometimes its obvious that this is one of the authors earliest works but the good far outweighs the bad. Its a great start to a fantastic series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    7/20/10
    Overall
    "Pure Entertainment"

    Narrated in a gruff, world-weary voice that captures the emotion and attitude of Jim Butcher's celebrated Harry Dresden, this first installment of the series offers much to enjoy. (Listen, for instance, to how the narrator knows exactly when to make Harry sigh.) Sure, you won't come away from this experience thinking about life in profound new ways, but you will certainly have laughed outloud a few times, never once gotten bored, and you'll perhaps never view scorpions or toads the same way again.

    This is a fast-paced fusion of noir detective novel and grown-up wizard story. It's at once dark, creepy, funny and frolicking. One scene in particular, involving a magic circle, a toad demon, a love-potion and a spirit trapped in a talking skull (narrated with a slight and amusing British accent), stands as one of comic fantasy's funniest, and rivals anything Terry Pratchett wrote. Highly recommended, if a little short at only around eight-hours listening time. I look forward to listening to, or reading, the whole series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Clarke
    Linlithgow BridgeUnited Kingdom
    9/9/09
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    This is a brilliant book. The story is great. The narration is great. I wouldn't normally read a book with wizards, vampires, etc in it ... but I'm feeling very pleased with myself that I took a chance on something different.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SuzD
    Co Cork, Ireland
    10/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hmmm!"
    Would you try another book written by Jim Butcher or narrated by James Marsters?

    I think the narrator was ok?....but it's like the mike he used was super sensitive and I could hear every swallow(he swallows allllllot) and breath-every single one! It was very off putting :) I liked the story...perhaps the next book I'll listen to the audio snippet firth though :)


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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