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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    15,540
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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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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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  • Marc
  • Blooomington, IN, United States
  • 03-14-12

Story petty good. Need a better narrator.

What did you like best about Storm Front? What did you like least?

Story is a twist from old detective books. The same with a dash of magic. I wish they found a different narrator. He almost seems bored.

What other book might you compare Storm Front to and why?

Again, old detective books with magic.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Need to find a narrator that can make the book come alive. He sounds like he is serving community service.

Do you think Storm Front needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I don't know if I will listen to the other books because of the narrator.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding performance, ok story

Weak start compared to later books in the series, still, there are chuckles aplenty for us hardboiled detective fans. James Marsters is so good his voice has become dresdens in my head - oozing world weary cynicism, self mocking wit and outrage at the bad guys in equal measure. Start here and don't stop, this series is a jewel in the genre.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • bebe
  • South Carolina
  • 02-04-16

Harry is a Good Wizzard

Any additional comments?

Harry Dresden is a good Wizzard, but his finances are not so good. From time to time he works by the hour as a Consultant for the Police Dept. He also takes on private clients. In this book he has a private situation that overlaps with a Police situation. He is going up against a VERY bad "person" and will definitely need his considerable wizzard skills. Harry is an engaging character and the story is fast paced and interesting. However, I do wish that Harry would do a better job sharing information with the police, specifically Detecctive Karen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Solid

Old style detective story told about a wizard. Good story, well paced, kept my attention throughout.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KP
  • United States
  • 10-06-13

WRONG Combo of Story and Narrator

I wanted to like the main character, Harry Dresden, and the story, especially given that this book was highly rated when I came across it, and the concept of a modern-day wizard detective (as Dresden is) holds good entertainment potential for me.

However, from his heavy sighs to sharp intakes of breath to sounds of his mouth opening and closing to mumbling, the narrator made listening to this story a torturous experience for me. I struggled to finish and was relieved when the book was over. (I could have stopped midway and returned it, but I really wanted to give the story a chance despite the flaws in the delivery.)

I chose this book because I was hoping to get wrapped up in a new mystery series and this is the first book. Maybe I'd consider another if there is a different narrator; however, at this point, I'm planning to try my luck elsewhere.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 02-05-13

A good start to an intriguing series

Can't say if I will continue with this series, but it does have potential. Kinda like those TV shows whose pilot episode always have too many characters and information, their was a lot of stuff happening that seemed extraneous but could be useful in later stories. Maybe I will give the next few books a chance. Always up for a decent wizard detective. Also it takes place in Chicago which is where I was born, so that's a plus.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, and series,

Would you listen to Storm Front again? Why?

Great story line, this book has brought back some of memories of the tv show series. <br/><br/>

Who was your favorite character and why?

<br />

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Desmond
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • 10-21-11

Good but...

Butcher is a good story teller but I do think that he made Dresden to be a bit too useless and too full of baggage. My friend said that Dresden gets better in the later books

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Linn
  • Scottsville, VA, United States
  • 03-10-11

Favorite story, mediocre reader

I am a big fan of the Jim Butcher Dresden series, so I was excited to see them on Audible and by an actor with whom I'm familiar. Unfortunately, the production values on this reading really put me off. There was a very casual, over-the-phone sense to the reading and the breath-sounds were entirely too noticeable. It felt like he was recording in his closet with a cheap microphone. I listened to the end and did my best to tune that out, since I love Dresden, but I was really disappointed with the quality of the recording.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 07-20-10

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Little Miss Happy
  • 01-26-10

Surprisingly brilliant!

I bought this book out of complete curiosity - a private detective who happens to be a wizard? I was hooked within the first 30 minutes - BRILLIANT narrator (one of the best I've heard) - excellent storyline - the magic side of the story grows as it progresses - fun and creepy, fantastic and mystical all at the same time. Harry Dresden is a great wizard - the magic weaves through the story ending in a brilliant action blasting conclusion. I found it a really good read and hope to be reading more of this series in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-04-16

Annoying narrator

Would have enjoyed the book more with a narrator who wasn't always swallowing puffing and huffing and making horrible noises. I like a clean listen and this wasn't it

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs
  • 03-07-17

Lacklustre, immature and sexist !

This is a very average sophomoric story more suited to teenagers . I would lend it to my son but it's too sexist! Like a lame James Bond meets a dull Harry Potter but without much of a plot . The narrator isn't too bad, but you are subjected to heavy breathing , sighs and swallowing throughout . Buy this if you have nothing else to listen to and if you don't want to use any part of your brain!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • SuzD
  • 10-12-13

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 :)

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter Boswell
  • 12-04-17

Perfect Narration

Fantastic descriptions of characters, effects and magic with a narrator who’s brings it to life as Harry Dresden himself. Great book and fantastic narration. Will have to buy the rest of the series.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-17

Loved Harry Dresden. Will be getting all the books

Jim Butcher writes a fab story. just the right amount of magic humour and action. James Marsters was the best - the story flowed so well with his voice. five stars performance.

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  • Julia
  • 11-14-17

A wizard who is also a detective?????

A Wizard who is also a detective what a wonderful idea, I didn't know there was a TV series so I come to this book fresh with no expectations, and so, therefore, had a wonderful rollercoaster of fun, I loved this book, I'm really NOT into fantasy, but this book is different, I loved the tongue in cheek humour, This was a book that kept me awake at night wanting to listen more, and you don't get what you expect to happen you get more with icing on top,

I loved the characters who were so vivid and interesting and Dresden, a maverick of the wizard world who gets blamed for everything and has to prove his innocence whilst fighting off demons and oversized insects,

The narrator James Marsters did a superb job, he has the character of Dresden down to a fine art. and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.


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  • W K Gleeson
  • 11-06-17

A good story interrupted by the narrator

The story is good fun and interesting but it is constantly interrupted by the narrators apathetic breathy sighing. Hopefully future books are more hard boiled noir narration rather than the sighs of a teenage diary.

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  • Barbara
  • 10-30-17

Brilliant

Highly entertaining the story interesting ,basic good and evil made into a thrilling story, with humour thrown in

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  • Brody
  • 01-09-15

phwoar

my brother has been hassling me to read these so I thought I could just audiobook it, well worth it and apparently this isn't the best book in the series.