10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Demons and wizards and vampires, oh my
If Raymond Chandler had written about wizards, vampires and fairies, the result might have been something like the Dresden Files series. And it opens on a high note with the gritty urban fantasy "Storm Front," introducing us to a solid wizard hero and a complex new universe.
Business has been slow for Harry Dresden, the wizard PI, so he's eager when two new...
Published on April 27 2007 by E. A Solinas
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag for me!
I really like the idea for this series. A wizard PI (Private Investigator) is a great premise and mostly I found the book enjoyable and real page-turner. However some things irritated me, like a couple other reviewers have mentioned (I'm obviously part of the the minority here due to the wave of glowing reviews here). Namely some plot holes, lack of realistic motivation...
Published on April 30 2004 by A. Tsurukame
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Demons and wizards and vampires, oh my,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)If Raymond Chandler had written about wizards, vampires and fairies, the result might have been something like the Dresden Files series. And it opens on a high note with the gritty urban fantasy "Storm Front," introducing us to a solid wizard hero and a complex new universe.
Business has been slow for Harry Dresden, the wizard PI, so he's eager when two new cases come at once: a missing husband, and a couple slain in the middle of sex -- their hearts exploded from their chests. Talk about a heart attack. As he tries to investigate both cases at once, he finds himself suspended between a vampire madam and a gentlemanly Mafia don.
Unfortunately, it seems the White Council of wizards also believes that he did it, and with his proximity to some nasty magics, Harry faces execution in just a few days. And as he unravels an increasingly dark web of drugs, demons and sorcery, Harry discovers that he is the next intended victim...
Ever since Laurell K. Hamilton turned to porn, I've been on the lonely long hunt for something similar in theme, but with fewer throbbing body parts. With his wizards, fae, icky vampires and demons, Jim Butcher's series fits the bill -- and exceeds it in every way.
He's got the hard-boiled noir thing down, even in modern Chicago -- dark rainy streets, femme fatales (some vampires), and a literally fiery climax. The entire book is an upward spiral of suspense, with the dual threats against Harry's life getting more intense, until it literally seems like there's no way out.
His writing strikes a nice balance between stripped-down Chanderlian prose, and detailed horror-fantasy (such as our first look at the grotesque vampire madam Bianca). But Butcher knows how to inject some dark humor and action, such as poor Harry trying to battle a toad-demon with an artificially lustful woman pouncing on him. And some nicely snappy dialogue ("Subtle and quick to anger?" "Not so subtle").
Harry Dresde himself is a great lead character -- he's wry, amusing and a little offbeat, but with some dark personal history that tends to haunt him at the wrong times. The only problem with the characters is that in this particular book, most of the human characters seem rather 2-D, compared to Bob the talking skull or Toot-toot the pizza-loving fairy.
"Storm Front" is a solid debut to a solid horror-fantasy-mystery series, with a likable lead and some nicely evocative writing. Definitely a good read, and promises more by the end.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cocky wizarding ride,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)A good friend of mine suggested I have a read of the fantasy crime novels of Harry Dresden. It took me only four days to read this book because I loved it so much.
This is the first book in the series about a wizard named, Harry Dresden. Thus, the series are called The Dresden Files. As I am new to authour Jim Butcher, I was swept up into his humourously engaging writing about the interesting world of Mr. Dresden.
If you're after a book that's gripping, hard to put down, has a good amount of quick witted humour and colourful characters, then this series is for you. I plan to read more of this series and then start another one that Jim Butcher has written, The Codex Alera series.
I rate this book 5/5
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag for me!,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)I really like the idea for this series. A wizard PI (Private Investigator) is a great premise and mostly I found the book enjoyable and real page-turner. However some things irritated me, like a couple other reviewers have mentioned (I'm obviously part of the the minority here due to the wave of glowing reviews here). Namely some plot holes, lack of realistic motivation for some of the character actions. Also Harry Dresden, the first person narrator, seemed a bit too smug in his world-view. After a particularly rough day on the job, Harry ends a chapter with "Do I have a great job or what?" Instead of coming across as a comedic or ironic counter-point to the obvious depression and despair Harry is feeling at the time, it comes across as a bit whiny, cliched and too cute. Sometimes I cringe at the lines Harry utters. Maybe I just read to many PI novels so Harry Dresden seems like a bad cross between the wise-cracking Elvis Cole from Robert Crais books, and the hard-hitting Heronymous Bosch from Michael Connelly series, except without as much humor and toughness from either character (both great series btw). Having read the gritty but fabulous sci-fi noir book, Altered Carbon, featuring Takeshi Kovacs, probably didn't help me endear myself to Harry Dresden either.
The other point I want to make is the lack of intelligence I sometimes feel from Harry Dresden. Often a good PI character is more insightful or more crafty and generally more "with-it" than the reader but a couple times in this book I went "huh, why didn't you do this instead." Case in point, Harry comes across a certain piece of evidence, two duplicate tiny containers if you will.(I don't want to write any spoilers so I'm deliberately vague here). One container holding something important, the other one empty. At one point in the story he reluctantly has to trade the full container to person in exchange for information. During the converstation, Harry, as a form of payback, uses his magic to destroy the container with fire thus foiling the informant's hopes to use it for personal wealth. I'm thinking if Harry is such a high powered wizard, why didn't he trick the person and give the empty container to the person and keep the full one for himself, especially since Harry ends up destroying the traded item anyway before the informant can open and check the container. What Harry destroys would be vital I would think, to his case and to Murphy, his cop friend.
Anyway, despite this I'm curious enough that I'll pick up the next book. The action in the book was nicely depicted and got me turning the pages in the latter half of the book. I hope Harry Dresden's character gets "smarter" and more insightful in the next novels. Sometimes its painful to read the events through Harry Dresden's eyes, especially after reading some books from masters of PI/Noir type novels. Check out a Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, or Andrew Vachss book for some tough PI characters. Or for some truly funny PI's, check out the Elvis Cole series from Robert Crais, or the PI novels from Kinky Friedman. If those are too traditional and you want a mix of fantasy, horror or sci-fi. Read Joe R. Lansdale's Hap Collins-Leonard Pine series for tex-horror, or Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs sci-fi novels.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this series,
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This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)With this being the first book in the series, it is a little hard to find now but it is a great book to read. Especially if you want to read the rest of the series.
4.0 out of 5 stars B+ for "Storm Front",
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)B+ for "Storm Front"
The first two books (the first being Storm Front by Jim Butcher) are great urban fantasy mystery novels sprinkled with bits of humour (of both dark and light varieties) and they come highly recommended for anyone who likes either fantasy, mystery, or urban fantasy novels.
Characters: 9/10 (while some of the secondary characters are left undeveloped, Dresden himself and his self deprecating humour is a pleasure to read)
Pacing: 8.5/10 (The story keeps up at a good pace, although I didn't feel it was as tight as the first novel)
Plot: 7.5/10 (While events tied together nicely in the end, I sometimes find it difficult to question to motives behind actions that drive the plot as they are often hidden and/or explained sometime after they've occurred)
Worldbuilding: 6/10 (The White Council is there, Harry's shop, the police station, but I've yet to see much in the way of long-term forecasting. Still, I've heard later books get better, so don't miss out based on this!)
Style: 8/10 (Harry Dresden's style of narrating is great fun. He is a character used to getting into the worst possible situations and then squirming and kicking and blasting his way through to success, or at least some measure of non-failure. I enjoy Butcher's style).
Total: 38/50 (Don't be fooled though, this is a fantastic read that will have you devouring the pages and having a great time of it as you go), mainly on the strength of the protagonist of the series...
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something a little different,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)This story is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's like an The Maltese Falcon and Storm Born were joined together in unholy matrimony and had a weird kid.
Odd though this story may be, I like it. I was thoroughly amused by Harry dealing with mobsters and fingerprinting one moment, and then worrying about voodoo and rogue wizards the next. I don't read a whole lot of urban fantasy that's written by men or that has a male protagonist and I think Butcher and Harry put a refreshing spin on the genre. (I had to laugh though, because only a man would describe a woman his main character finds attractive as "stocky.")
Poor Harry is a wizard with a Big Bad Past. He's made some mistakes, and as a result he has the White Council (wizard police) looking over his shoulder constantly. So when magical murders start happening, and Harry is in the vicinity, all of a sudden he finds himself cast as suspect #1. He has to figure out who's really behind the mayhem ASAP, or jail will be the least of his worries. But he's not totally on his own! He has his hilarious sidekick, Bob the Skull (no, really, he's a talking skull) to help him out with magical ingredients. And the enigmatic homicide detective, Karrin Murphy, seems to think he might just be innocent. I really liked the dialogue in this book!
This is great escapist reading, especially for those who like urban fantasy but are maybe looking for something a little different within the genre. This is certainly a break from the norm.
Final word: (4/5) Fast-paced fun for fantasy fans.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarcasm Abound,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)This novel is an amazing start to a series that will surely prove better with every sequel. Harry Dresden narrates in first person and therefore shares his opinions and witty comments about everything from interior design (he prefers interesting textures) to the talking skull he keeps in his basement (he can be a bit annoying at times -- but he's extremely useful).
Throughout this novel, I pictured Harry Dresden as an ass-whooping Ryan Reynolds (star of National Lampoon's Van Wilder), Murphy as a slightly tougher version of Reese Witherspoon (Fear, Legally Blonde), Susan as the very sexy Shannon Sossamon (The Order, 40 Days and 40 Nights), and Gentleman Johnny Marcone as Fred Ward (Enough, Corky Romano, The Naked Gun 33 1/3).
You'll enjoy this series if you enjoy a sarcastic sense of humor (Dresden once refered to it as his "rapier wit") but are looking for a book with more to it than just laughs.
Similar to: Ill Wind, Dead Witch Walking.
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Magic,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)These books are fantastic. I got the first book in the series on a Friday night, Saturday morning I was at the bookstore for more. The books have elements of both the supernatural and some twists and turns in like a good "who done it" so if you like either I would recommend them.
As for the writing style; Mr. Butcher paints very vivid pictures, making it easy to get lost in the story, and the way he writes the characters made them quite believable. No "knight in shining armor" who makes no mistakes and has no fear; Harry Dresden has his issues and was a very believable person as a result.
A fun a fantastic read, I hope the series continues. And don't make my mistake of just getting the first one. Get them all at once and save yourself the trouble!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)When I started reading Storm Front I have never thought that I would fall in love with it. Harry Dresden, the protagonist, is one of the most interesting characters I have ever met. Jim Butcher's style is fantastic. Great Book, worths reading it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Magical Debut,
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)Harry Dresden is an openly practicing wizard living in Chicago, where magic, wizards, faery's, vampires, etc. are still thought of as make believe. In Storm Front Dresden is called in as a consultant with Chicago's Special Investigations Unit (SI Unit). The crimes committed are being done with some heavy duty magic. Open season on wizards, and since Harry's the only wizard in the phone book he'll have to do some hard and fast investigating to find the culprit before this case lands him in jail. With a highly unappreciated dry wit, a spirit in a skull with a photographic memory and a lecherous mind named Bob, and what magic he can call to him, Harry Ddresden is off to catch a killer. His only hope is to stay alive and out of jail himself, long enough to accomplish this. Oh, did I mention that Harry is already under serveillance by the White Council (the governing body of wizards) for an unrelated mishap? The overzealous Warden who keeps tabs on Harry is sure that he (Harry) is the killer. All of Harry's tracking and tracing efforts are being misconstrued by people a lot scarier than the Chicago P. D. Poor Harry has his hands full. Let's hope the Blue Beetle (his trusty, not quite blue anymore VW) will help him speed to the center of this tangled web before he winds up incarcerated or incinerated.
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Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Mass Market Paperback - April 13 2000)
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