Regular price: $27.99

Free with 30-day trial Membership
Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free - plus an audiobook, on us.
  • 1 credit a month after trial - good for any title.
  • Easy exchange. Don't love book? swap it for free.
  • Exchange books you don't like
  • After your free trial, Audible is $14.95 a month
OR
In Cart

Editorial 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    15021
  • 4 Stars
    8639
  • 3 Stars
    3208
  • 2 Stars
    662
  • 1 Stars
    342

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    14567
  • 4 Stars
    5856
  • 3 Stars
    2291
  • 2 Stars
    555
  • 1 Stars
    350

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    12817
  • 4 Stars
    7130
  • 3 Stars
    2864
  • 2 Stars
    544
  • 1 Stars
    238
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Finally!!

Finally, I have found a writer in this genre that I can follow. This genre seems to be filled with so many crap writers that I had almost given up entirely. I thought the premiss for this sort of literature had so much potential, yet I could not find a good writer in the field. Jim Butcher is that writer. JB could write in any field he wants, but I am glad he chose this one.

The story is ok, the characters are even better. I especially like Bob and hope he is included in later episodes. I like how the main character, beats himself up, like we all do sometimes, but then he gives himself a pep talk and gets things done. The writing is descriptive without being overly so. A lot of time and effort was put into writing this intelligently and creatively. It is not perfect and I will have to admit I debated on rather to give it four or five stars. There are one or two times when the solution to the problem comes to easily, but this is minor and he is mostly faced with major road blocks that he uses his brain to get out of.

The narration and production is different from any I have heard before. I have listened to hundreds of audio books. In this production you will hear the narrator breathing, sometimes it is part of the acting and sometimes it is just the narrator breathing. You can also hear him swallow, change position in his chair, and parting his lips. You would think this would be distracting and for some reviewers it was. For me, it made me feel like I was sitting in a chair across from Harry Dresden as he told his story. I am not sure if they did this on purpose or not. The narrator is excellent either way.

I will be listening to more in this series.

41 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Donna
  • Columbia, MD, United States
  • 07-13-09

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.

74 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tom
  • Hillsboro, OR, USA
  • 05-20-10

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.

125 of 139 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tim
  • San Diego, CA
  • 01-19-12

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.

55 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

67 of 76 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Nancy J
  • Tornado Alley OK
  • 10-19-13

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!

40 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jennifer
  • Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 06-24-09

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.

63 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 06-06-10

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.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • James
  • Hico, TX, USA
  • 03-21-10

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.

45 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

3/5 for the book 5/5 for series

There are a lot of problems with this book, many of which are in the production of the audiobook (the editing is crap - you have to listen to the reader breath constantly and it really interferes with the flow of the story, though on rare occasion it fits whats going on). The story itself is a very light read and not very immersive. The concepts are interesting but the story is lacking.

However, that said, the second book is great. This book really only serves as a necessary stepping stone to set the stage of the series and introduce you to its characters. The second book will knock your socks off. My only complaint is that the reader/editing doesnt get a whole lot better (the reader is actually quite good, and fits the part, but man the editing is bad and it makes him sound bad).

I only progressed past this first book because Butcher's Calderon series is so good I couldn't believe this series didn't get better - my faith was entirely justified and I intend to purchase the rest of the series.

53 of 66 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tom
  • 08-14-09

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.

Strongly recommended.

37 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Iain McCorkindale
  • 05-20-11

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!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tessa
  • 03-03-11

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!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-09

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-13

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Cheryl M-M
  • 10-06-11

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • EC W
  • 05-15-13

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Peter
  • 09-07-10

A Wizard Detective? Great fun!

Read this book after reading an audible review of someone who had read and enjoyed lots of similar books to me. Like them, I greatly enjoyed this different and interesting book. The protagonist is like a slightly cynical, hard-nosed Harry Potter whose life didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to and is now a P.I. The story is a good one, and the usual mobster, his pea-brained henchmen and gansta-moll avoid any cliche by the unusual wizard element to the story.

Recommended as an unusual read that is well-narrated, passing the time atmospherically and at times humourously.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • SB
  • 04-21-17

great tale

My first Jim Butcher book,absolutely loved it...reeked sarcasm and humour giving Dresden an addictive quality. looking forward to going through all the Dresden Files.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • gamegirl
  • 01-14-17

ewww!

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Charli E.
  • 04-21-16

A dull story

The book is boring and it's difficult to get into when the mouth noises from the narrator haven't been edited out. There's lots of sighing and lip smacking. It was painful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Fran
  • 07-15-17

The Dresden Files - Storm Front

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Noir and grizzled detective settings aren't appealing to me. However, I enjoyed the mystery, action and crime aspects of the book.

I didn't like the way the main character Harry made comments about every attractive woman he met, and eventually it became hilarious as well as bad. But he was occasionally likeable. Harry has a sense of humour and didn't seem to take himself too seriously all the time, which was nice.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jim Butcher again?

Previously I had read The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher and loved it. I was eager to try something else by the author, but Storm Front definitely has a different feel to it, which is fine. I won't be reading any more books from the Dresden Files series. Still may try out Codex Alera though.

Have you listened to any of James Marsters’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This was the first time I had listened to narration from James Marsters. He is an excellent narrator and does really well with emotional, hurt and crying scenes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Gina
  • 02-08-17

Interesting creation

Overall this book was pretty enjoyable, it integrated and explained this mixed world that included wizard. It was fairly well-paced and interesting.
The one thing that I disliked about this book was that with the introduction of every single female character he had to mention their appearance, and whether or not they were attractive and feminine and the tone the performer used was very off putting and uncomfortable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Damien
  • 01-31-17

Great Listen, Sweet Story, Nice Tight Plot

I can't believe the author wrote this as a joke it's so damn good. can't wait to start the next one

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-26-16

Great fun. Looking forward to the next book. 😊

Really enjoyed this book and I'm starting the next one now. Highly recommended to all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ralf
  • 10-14-16

Always Go

loved it. couldn't stop listening to it. very Film noir / pulpy usually I'm not here into either, but somehow it works here.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lee Anderson
  • 07-14-16

Is James Marsters bored?

I love the story, don't get me wrong, but the effort from James Marsters isn't what I expected. I feel like he's whispering his lines in places and theres no effort put in when the character is supposed to be yelling something. the recording isn't great either. Too much swallowing and other mouth noise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Damien
  • 04-28-16

An Eager Start

I had heard a lot about the Dresden Files, it was highly recommended to me by my friends with the advice that it may be slow to start but the series pays off in the long term. I found I actually thoroughly enjoyed the first book and am looking forward to the rest. The plot gave a good grounding point for the stories to come and it introduces Dresden almost like a layman, if not for his power it isn't too hard to imagine him as just like anyone else, at the same time he isn't crazily powerful, nor does he suddenly just have destiny dumped on him, he's a regular office worker, except in magic and he's a private eye... and he doesn't have any money.
The narrator was what truly tied it all in for me. I considered it a stellar performance, it was the same as Daniel Radcliffe being the perfect image of the young harry potter we all had in our minds on reading the philosophers stone for the first time. The voice just clicked into place, to me James Marsters is Harry Dresden. I also appreciated the effect that not editing the narrator, to cut out his breathing and the sounds he made when he opened his mouth, had on the story. It legitimately made it seem as though the story was being recorded by dresden after the case. At the same time it also gave me a sense of presence, it was though I was sitting in a room with Marsters casually reading a book which I thouroughly enjoyed.
If you don't read the rest of the review at least read this, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to ANYONE.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Megan
  • 10-07-17

Brilliant!

Loved this story - good pacing, always something interesting happening. The bad guy's dialogue was probably the only real disappointment. Narration was so cool and casual I could listen to it all day long. I'll definitely be working my way through the rest of the Dresden Files. My only regret is taking so long to get around to it!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-07-17

It just got better

I've read this as a book and loved it, the narratior makes this even better

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.