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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

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Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • Overall

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

  • Overall

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!!

47 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Quirky, original story; irritating narration

I wasn't sure how I would react to this book about a private-eye wizard, but it turned out to be surprisingly engaging. The author has a vivid, eccentric imagination that draws one into his fantasy world. My tolerance for wizardry, however, has been pretty well exhausted -- I don't plan to listen to the others in the series, in part because the narrator nearly drove me nuts. His delivery was needlessly, and often incongruously, breathy and whispery, with lots of distracting sighs, lip smacking, and noisy swallowing. Perhaps he just had his mouth too close to the microphone, but shouldn't the audio director have corrected this problem? Check the sample carefully before you buy this book, and bear in mind that 8+ hours of this narrator's irritating delivery may exhaust your patience.

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CrzGzr
  • Northwest North Carolina
  • 08-19-09

great book! excellent narration

We have the print versions and took them to jamaica with us, they go very easy with rum. We have bought the audible books available but really want Books 5, 6 & 7! It leaves a big gap in the story line.
James Marsters is a very good narrator, he handles the characters very well. Jim Butcher has done a very good job with The Dresden Books! I am very cheap, so I really have to love a book to buy it in print and Audible!

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 03-07-12

An Old Fashioned Mystery

The plot progresses smoothly, the story reads well, and Harry is a fun character who is his own worst enemy. There were several times when the decisions he made were not realistic. But if he made the realistic choice the story would have ended sooner. I will buy the next in the series because I liked the story. I was reminded of old black and white mysteries with characters that Humphrey Bogart would have played. Harry is smart, tough, and has a dry sense of humor.
The only thing I didn't like was the Narration. It's not James Marsden fault. I blame the production staff. I found it hard to listen to Marsden swallowing and taking deep long breathes. I know the guy has to do both, but, it's distracting and it takes away from the story.
I passed on buying the books since they came out. I listened to the sample and read a few of the reviews. The mention of the deep breathes and swallowing in the reviews was enough to keep me from buying it. I finally gave in because it was something different and I ran out of titles from my usual authors. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but the swallowing was very distracting.

27 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Powell, WY, United States
  • 03-03-11

Butcher+Marsters=Dresden

Marsters is more than any narrator, he is a voice actor. Most narrators just read and do change up in voices. For example a character will same something, then the author will write something like and he laughed, and the narrator just reads the line straight. James will add that laugh when he is speaking. He also does the breaths, sighs, adds tension, etc. He brings real emotion and life to the characters. Butcher does a great job of doing this book in 1st person, not many writers can pull it off. Patrick Rothfuss is a good example of poor 1st person writing for comparison. What I like about Butcher is his owns the vamps, zombies, werewolves, fairies, etc, and breaths news live into them. I so loathe vampires any more, but he makes them refreshingly interesting. If you ever watched the TV show it is nothing in comparison to the books. There are somethings that do bother me though, like wizards foul up technology, wish is cool. But revolvers that do work and semi auto pistols don't does not really add up, since revolvers can have more parts than an auto does and semi autos are not that much older than modern cartridge revolvers. Also he can drive a car but can't own a frig? All a frig is a motor, pump and temperature switch. A car has more moving parts than that. Those are small things but easily forgiven since it does not effect the story that much and probably something only a person like me would notice. Highly recommend that you read the books in order as they will make more sense that way, but each book can stand alone. Also read, Side Jobs after you read book 12 or it will spoil the plot of the other books. Ghost Stories book 13 is due out in July 26, 2011.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Reader was terrible

The story itself was pretty interesting but the reading was flat. I don't know if the character was supposed to be bored through the entire story but the reading sure was.

19 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Avoca Beach, Australia
  • 03-19-12

Spit or swallow, don't talk with your mouth full

Any additional comments?

Story isn't bad. Mainly well written and generally enjoyable, although the seemingly pointless antagonism between Dresden and pretty much everybody comes across as forced.

There is however a glaring issue... constantly having to listen to the narrator sucking and swallowing. Ask a 5 year old a question during dinner and you'll get a similar sort of sound. And then there's the regular inappropriately timed sighing. If it's that hard a job being a narrator for audible I would suggest he find another line of work.

Second thoughts... he should probably find another line of work regardless.

19 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Smack, Slurp, Swallow, Sigh---Repeat

My first Dresden book, I almost thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hard to get past the various mouth noises by the narrator, which my have been by design--I'm not sure. After I heard that first "smacking" noise I couldn't NOT hear them.

However, I really liked the overall story. Harry, the good Wizard who likes to read and has a fabulous sense of humor, and fights crime! I can see why these stories have such a large following.

If you enjoy off-beat crime/fiction with some fantasy thrown in, I recommend it.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Not that bad, not that great

Whether or not you like Harry Dresden will depend on your tolerance for annoyingly cliched tools used to entertain you. I mean, I like reading Ian Fleming, so it would be silly (or at least inconsistent) for me to claim that Jim Butcher is particularly egregious or untalented. Butcher is not a great writer — at least not in this book — but he's not an altogether bad one, and Storm Front is a moderately entertaining caper about a Chicago wizard/PI who has the usual problems of scraping up rent, a missing person to find, mobsters on his case, shadowy nemeses who want him dead, femme fatales, and magic and vampires and faeries and a lecherous talking skull thrown into the mix for fantasy flavor.

Suspensions of disbelief are always required in UF, and my biggest one was actually a fairly prosaic concern: dude has magic powers, in a world where those are pretty rare (the book is not altogether consistent about whether the wizarding world — yeah, I'm gonna call it that — is "secret" or just generally goes incognito) and yet he's struggling to pay his bills. Okay, I get it, Magic Has Rules and you can't just conjure up a pile of gold, but still, as the only wizard in the entire Chicago area, and supposedly a pretty formidable one (despite the fact that he gets his ass kicked by everyone he meets, magical and mundane alike), you'd think Dresden could come up with more innovative ways to profit off of his talents than advertising in the phone book as someone who will find your lost wallet.

Some of the worldbuilding is intriguing (the White Court, the rules of wizardry which seem to be reasonably well thought out without being excessively infodumped) and some are just lazy (vampires, faeries, ghosts, etc., Butcher seems willing to drop the whole fantasy kitchen sink into his universe).

As a character, Harry Dresden is a neckbeard's wet dream, a clueless virgin who most of the gorgeous women he meets (all of the women he meets are gorgeous) throw themselves at, so he can manfully refuse their advances and congratulate himself on what a stand-up guy he is for not exploiting the chicks whose boobs he's totally not ogling. We get lots of passages about what a tortured bad-ass he is: his "soul-gaze" routine, where he looks into someone's eyes and they see into each other's souls and most people faint because Dresden is so, so dark inside, man! — is kind of contradicted by everything else he does, which is bumble around cluelessly, get bushwhacked by thugs with baseball bats, bullied by cops and mobsters, and try to figure out those mysterious confusing lady-creatures.

That said... the book was fun in a well-trodden way, there were some small bits that were neat, and I found it passably entertaining. Do I really want to go on and read the rest of the series? Practically every Dresden fan says that the first few books aren't very good but Butcher gets a lot better deeper into the series. That's not exactly an alluring prospect: "Read two or three mediocre books before you really get into it." But at some point I'll probably pick up the next one.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • saiyen2002
  • 06-06-16

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin Goddard
  • 04-23-16

Lots of noise

Would you try another book written by Jim Butcher or narrated by James Marsters?

Yes. Great story but the narrator seem to be digesting food a lot.

Did James Marsters do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

He was good at showing the differences.

Was Storm Front worth the listening time?

Probably

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • L
  • 02-19-16

Terrible narration.

The narration on this title is dreadful. You can hear papers shuffling and furniture creaking and moving in the background which is rather distracting and annoying. The story seems okay, but to be honest it's hard to tell.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Mitchell
  • 02-15-16

Great story but narration was annoying

As much as I love Mr Masters, I suffer from mysaphonia and his constant mouth noises and swallowing was distracting and made me want to switch off!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Pringle9984
  • 04-13-13

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Stuart
  • 09-07-17

Contrived and melodramatic, but fun at times

This book promised more than it delivered. I liked the concept and was excited about starting a new series that could keep me entertained for a good long while.
It started well and is reasonably well written. The narrator, while not my favourite, seemed to suit the character of Harry, and did a good job with the one liners, and the slightly sarcastic humour.

BUT.... From what I've read about Jim Butcher, Storm Front was his first book, and I think it shows. He tries way too hard to be "dramatic", and the book is littered with characters doing and saying stupid things, purely because that's what they have to do/say for the author to get to the next thing that happens. So much of it just comes over as overly contrived, and that's a shame.

It shows promise as a series, and I'll probably try the next book, to see if it settles down into a series I could follow. I hope so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Rowlands
  • 07-27-17

An underrated start to a great series

Both this and the second book in the series are generally considered to be weaker than the later ones, but personally I found this one to have more than enough to it that I have been hooked on the adventures of Harry Dresden since the first time I read this one.

James Marsters was still getting to grips with the voices of the various characters that he would perfect in later narrations, but still gives a high quality performance that definitely enhances my perception of this book.

There are some books and series that I will only read or listen to once and never return to them again, but the Dresden Files is not one of them and I particularly enjoy returning to the audio versions of them even more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • nicole
  • 09-09-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • legeon
  • 06-30-13

dresden files book 1.

What made the experience of listening to Storm Front the most enjoyable?

james marsters amazing narration skills.

What did you like best about this story?

jim butchers whit filled writings.

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

i've listened to all dresden files books read by him all very good.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

not in this one no but in later books yes

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon
  • 04-07-13

James Marsters & Jim Butcher a winning combination

James narrates the book with deft ease and brings to life the world of Jim Butcher and his protagonist Harry Dresden. Butcher's world is full of fairies, vampires and demons as well as gangsters, cops and unfortunate victims. Though the ending seems a tad rushed compared to the slow burn of the earlier chapters but this is forgiven because there is a definite sense of satisfaction after finishing the book. James Marsters does a marvelous job and it's hard to think of anyone else who would do better. Some of the themes are a tad dated now, especially the image of the swooning woman who falls for Harry (but for plot reasons). Still I would recommend this to anyone looking for a magic / murder themed book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Adrian
  • 11-14-17

A magic crime thriller

I enjoyed this book. A lot goes on and the world they live in is intriguing. The world is painted very well and the narrator immersed me into it.

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  • 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!

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  • 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

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-22-17

good story

Good story. currently loving Jim butcher.

Many words mispronounced by the narrator. with inappropriate inflections and odd pauses.

the track is randomly segmented, sometimes taking a "chapter break" in the middle of a word.

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  • Garryngirl
  • 05-16-17

Disappointing

Would you try another book written by Jim Butcher or narrated by James Marsters?

A friend recommended this series but I won't bother with the rest of the Dresden Files if this is anything to go by. Storyline was 'predictable'. I didn't find myself engrossed in the story. The narrator was really off putting. Almost sounded like he was bored to tears at having to narrate a boring story with lots of sighing, breathing, swallowing. Oh well I tried but gave up listening to it.

What was most disappointing about Jim Butcher’s story?

predictable, nothing gripping.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of James Marsters?

Not sure

Any additional comments?

Suggest to the narrator to keep lip smacking, breathing noise and sighing to a minimum.

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  • E. J. Phillips
  • 04-27-17

Rollicking first adventure

I've read (and enjoyed) several of the books in Jim Butcher's Dresden series, and I rather enjoy the sound of James Masters' voice, so it seemed like a sure bet to get hold of an audiobook that combined the two.

The three stars on performance are because there are some issues with the reading - stilted delivery in places, sections read more like a grocery list than a piece of prose, and some moments of flatness in the delivery.

That said, a quick search online shows that this was Masters' first foray into audiobooks, so I'm happy to chalk these things up to first-timer related issues and am looking forward to seeing how things might improve as I make my way through the Dresden series, all of which have been narrated by Masters.

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  • Sarah Chilby
  • 04-02-17

Storm Front Review by Literary Wombat

Any additional comments?

Read the full review on Literary Wombat
http://www.literarywombat.com/entry/storm-front-dresden-files-1

Storm Front is an adult urban fantasy that's light on the lore without skimping on important details, and focuses more on friendship than romance. I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Masters who is a total dish to listen to. The book was fast paced but easy to read over an extended period of time. It's characters come fleshed out from the very beginning, which saves time in initial character building.

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  • David
  • 03-25-17

Extremely unpleasant

Sexist overtones in opening scene. Unprocessed audio, prepare to hear narrator breathe and swallow constantly.

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  • Karen Delaney
  • 05-26-16

Love the Dresden Files

Second time around and still loving the whole package, story and narrator both. Wish that there were more books in this series.

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  • The Lazy Book Reviewer
  • 01-13-16

A promising series

Storm Front tells the tale of Harry Dresden who is Wizard struggling to make ends meet. With his rent due a a secretive client sets off a serious of events that ends up in a fight for his life.

Jim Butcher places the world of fantasy and wizards smack bang into modern America and melds into seamlessly into the Gumshoe detective genre. He delivers a great narrative and some very interesting and engaging characters that drive the story along at a comfortable pace.

So if you are looking for something that is off the trodden path yet still very entertaining then look no further. The Dresden Files has moved up my list of must read series.