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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
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

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong start, but falls apart near the end
This is a mixed genre story, combining supernatural elements with a murder mystery. The protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a wizard/private investigator who also consults for the police. As the story begins, he's called in to help the police on a particularly grisly murder. The general tone and content of the book is very similar to the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by...
Published on Dec 15 2003 by Gary Riley


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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, April 27 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars B+ for "Storm Front", April 11 2010
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...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Magical Debut, June 21 2004
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars While not for everyone, those it is for will love it, May 23 2004
By 
Vorago (Windsor, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
First and foremost, I must say this book is not for everyone. But then, what book really is? Just a warning, the book takes place from Harry's point of view, which results in constant thought and perspective on the current situations from him. And as my friend put it shortly after finishing this very novel, which I got him addicted to...
"Harry is sort of an arse"
(yes, yes, I censored it a wee bit)
Which is true, but a lovable one. But everything in the book is filtered through harry's eyes, which I know could be a turn-off for some people. But I encourage you to pick this book up to see if the style is something you like, there are many worse ways to spend 6 dollars I can think of, and who knows, you just may like it.
I love the books because of Harry, he treats the magic with enough sarcasm and respect to make it truly believable, something beyond the usual all powerful stuff that people can just whip out of the air at will that tends to permeate other fantasy. It has logical and interesting rules and barriers that keeps it constrained and confined into as realistic as a device as you could expect magic to be.
It makes for a very refreshing change of pace.
Plus, Harry is just such an interesting character. He isn't the strongest or the fastest, he is just a good guy doing what he can to survive the day.
Man, going to sound like a broken record at this rate, I will cut it off. Harry good, magic good, book great, buying book the best. I hope many of you will thank me for it, heh. I got a bunch of people hooked on the books within hours of finishing this one, many of which cursed my very name for causing them to spend money on the rest of the novels instead of food and whatnot. But it was worth it in the end, I am quite sure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Phillip Marlowe meets Harry Potter (with a dash of Buffy), April 12 2004
By 
Marcus Bailey "Marc 'grailwolf' Bailey" (Darnestown, MD) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
I've been a fan of the fantasy genre for as long as I've been able to read (we won't get into just how long that is, thank you very much, just suffice it to say that it's been quite some time). I particularly love good modern/urban fantasy (the names Tanya Huff, and Charles DeLint spring to mind), and I prefer it to be a little on the dark side. And if you throw in some good humor to the mix, you've got my eternal devotion.
Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden has just entered the pantheon of my "best-of-the-best" and he's a welcome addition. I won't go into the first novel's storyline, as many other reviewers have already done so. Let me just say that this is one of the few novels I've read that actually made me laugh out-loud at times. The fantasy aspect is also handled extremely well, and the film noir detective spin is an ingenious device for this character. In my opinion, the mystery element was fairly obvious. But as long as that's not what you're reading for then you should come away pleased by this unbelievably well-written first novel.
I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of these.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher!, April 1 2004
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
I've been a science fiction/fantasy fan for over 25 years, so I hope you take me seriously when I say that the entire Harry Dresden series is fabulous. High fantasy like LOTR this is not, but Butcher writes books in which the dialogue is laugh-out-loud-witty and the plot is can't-put-it-down action-packed and tension filled. The Dresden series is based in the "real world" (modern day Chicago). Storm Front sets the stage for the rest of the series by explaining magic and magicians like Harry (our self-deprecating, disheveled, tongue-in-cheek, can't pay the rent private investigator and hero). Each book in the series is a fantasy mystery (Storm Front is a magical "who-dun-it" murder mystery) with great action and character development. Storm Front is a wonderful book, and the rest of the series is even better. If you like Charlaine Harris' "Dead.." series, Laurell Hamilton's Obsidian Butterfly, or the Simon R. Green "Deathstalker" series, you will enjoy this book and the rest of the Dresden Files.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner!, March 7 2004
By 
Elizabeth "lking173" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
Okay I fell in love with this book. I am a usual fan of vampires and werewolves and that sort of thing, but while hunting in the sci-fi section of my store, I came across this book. All I can say is I just fell in love with Harry Dresdon, wizard extraordinare! He made me smile, he made me laugh, and he kept his cool in all kinds of situations. After finishing the first novel, I immediately went out and bought the remaining series.
The story revolves around Harry Dresdon, a wizard. He's a very good wizard, but since the main stream public is not really interested in a real wizard, business is pretty much up and down with Harry struggling to pay the rent. On a good note, Harry also works with the local police dept when crimes involving his expertise are needed. Harry is pulled in by the police to check out a double murder that was done by black magic, and at that point the fun begins. Throw in the local mob; a nosy reporter; faery snitches; and a skull named Bob, and you have the best wizard story of them all!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great start!, Jan. 9 2004
By 
Jason S Robinson (Ft. Worth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a great start to a series that only get's better with each book. The stories are centered on a Private Invenstigator who is also a Wizard. He battles Vampires, Werewolves, Mob bosses, Faeries, etc. and also has friends who happen to be all of the above as well. I like the fast pace of the books and I also like how Butcher has made all of the supernatural things happen in a modern, real world and we see the things happen but we choose not to believe them.
Just a couple of things kept this series as a whole from five stars. The character Murphy kind of gets on my nerves a bit. She is a cop friend of Harry, who is always in a bad mood and really doesn't act like a friend should. I think Harry takes way to much crap from her.
Also, it seems like in each book Harry takes ALOT of punishment from various foe's in which the author describes how banged up Harry is and then the next page he is fighting a new foe. Not a big gripe or anything, I just wish it would be consistant.
Overall, a great series and you should read it if you like books like Simon Green's "Nightside" stories or Neal Gaimens "Neverwhere"
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3.0 out of 5 stars Strong start, but falls apart near the end, Dec 15 2003
By 
Gary Riley (Webster, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a mixed genre story, combining supernatural elements with a murder mystery. The protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a wizard/private investigator who also consults for the police. As the story begins, he's called in to help the police on a particularly grisly murder. The general tone and content of the book is very similar to the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell Hamilton. Unlike Hamilton, however, Butcher has a very lean and fast-paced writing style. The action begins right away and something significant happens in every chapter, moving the story briskly along. You won't find Hamilton's multi-page repetitive descriptions of clothing or supernatural power in this book. So I was somewhat disappointed as the story began to approach the climax, that all the plot elements didn't fit together in the end. There were a lot of places in the story where the actions of the characters just didn't make complete sense once you knew the entire story. For example, near the beginning of the story a crime lord warns Harry to stay away from the investigation, which adds an additional level of danger and suspense, but in the end it didn't make any sense at all when Harry getting involved was exactly what the crime lord should have wanted. Then there were a number of convenient occurrences necessary for the plot to advance, but also didn't make much sense. For example, Murphy, Harry's police contact, gets a warrant to search his office. Now I don't know much about police procedures, so I could be completely wrong, but it struck me as contrived that Murphy was the only officer present for the search (it was necessary for the plot that she be there alone). Finally, Harry's magical abilities seemed to be primarily defined by what was necessary for the plot. For a wizard of his caliber, he seemed unusually weak in a number of circumstances.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Try It! "Storm Front" Is a Delightful Page-Turner, Oct. 5 2003
By 
Jennifer Juday "Working Mom & Cook" (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files (Mass Market Paperback)
Harry Dresden, wizard and detective, is a hard-boiled detective in the tradition of stories by people like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Robert B. Parker. Dresden is a working class detective struggling to pay his rent. The twist is that this Chicago detective is also the only openly practicing wizard in the country.
Like the hard-boiled heroes of Chandler and Hammett, Harry Dresden is a smart guy with an attitude. "Storm Front" opens with a hilarious scene in which Harry meets his new, annoyingly cheerful mailman. Then he gets a couple of phone calls, and we're off to unravel a divertingly complicated plot.
In the dedication, Jim Butcher thanks a group of people ("the original Harry Dresden fans"), "Without the perverse desire to make you guys scream at me to write the next chapter, Harry would never have gotten into so much trouble." I'd have screamed, too. Waiting for the author to write the next chapter must have been delightful agony. I read "Storm Front" in one day and even then was frustrated when there were interruptions.
Try it! You'll love it!
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Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files
Storm Front: Book one of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Mass Market Paperback - April 13 2000)
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