Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Digital Audiobook narrated by James Marsters
Published by Penguin on April 1, 2000
Series: The Dresden Files #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Length: 322 pages or 8 hours, 1 minute
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HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get interesting.
Magic - it can get a guy killed.
Heyyy, d’y’all remember The Dresden Files?
It was this short running series on Syfy back in 2007. Basically, you’ve got your Gandalf-style old-school wizard in the modern era, only his name is Harry Dresden and he doesn’t have the big beard. He does have a staff. In the case of the TV show, it was a hockey stick.
You know, The Dresden Files. Like Legend of the Seeker and other “look, we’ll try to give you some fantasy, but honestly, it isn’t selling right now” TV shows of 10 years ago that you may have seen while flipping through the channels. Maybe you even stopped to watch it for five minutes. I did!
Anyways, the show didn’t last long because like many other things in that weird era between Lord of the Rings and the Superhero revolution, TV was still learning how to handle fantasy and science fiction. It’s still learning how to handle those things (outside of the superhero genre… I think we’ve got that all figured out). Sure, we have successes like Charmed or Supernatural, but there are two dozen failed shows for each of those. However, even though a lot of shows like these failed, but if you stopped and watching them through… they were interesting.
I was interested, anyway. Which is how Storm Front ended up on my TBR six years ago. And, in typically bookworm fashion, I read it last week.
I gotta be honest with y’all, The Dresden Files seems like it’s just another series with a Paranormal Investigator Who Knows A Lot of Cool Things and Almost Has Sex A Lot And Gets The Job Done. I had eye roll moments, but unlike my high school favorite Anita Blake, Harry Dresden doesn’t get a whole lot of genuine action. Even his love potion goes awry. So that was sort of great.
You have to feel bad for Harry. He doesn’t get a break. Storm Front takes place over the course of four days, during which he is broke, repeatedly punched, gets in trouble for doing legal magic, gets attacked with black magic, and literally nobody believes anything he says. It’s a tough gig, being a wizard in modern Chicago. It made the book interesting, but also a bit exhausting because honestly? Just let the guy have a twenty minute peaceful nap.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of things that I liked about this book, enough to get book 2 on my TBR where I’ve lost interest in similar series like Anita Baker, Vampire Hunter and Kate Daniels. Here’s a few things that made the book stick out to me:
- Okay, so I know it’s a trope, but I love the grumpy wizard bit.
- The magic system here is really traditional and really interesting. The details are really well thought out – everything to the meticulous methods of potion making to fact that tech goes haywire around him because it doesn’t mesh with magic.
- There’s this one unfortunate encounter where Harry ends up fighting a demon two streets from his apartment in the middle of an intense thunderstorm… completely naked. I gotta be honest, that takes balls. Loved the fight.
- ALL the fight scenes were so well-paced.
- The cat doesn’t die. This may seem dumb, but do you have any idea how many fantasy books end with cats being sacrificed or eaten? #notafan
- Harry’s crew were just… interesting. I mean, they’re a bit cliche over all – Lois Lane style reported, angsty lady cop, spirit sidekick that lives in a skull and likes crashing sororities… oh wait. 🙂 They’re all actually fun and good, even the not-so-original ones.
- The pub scene at the beginning was fun too.
As a whole, the book felt a bit dull and draggy, but I couldn’t help but to like Harry. Scene by scene, I enjoyed the book, but I definitely found myself zoning out at times. It’s a paranormal investigation story. I’ve read these before, you know? I didn’t guess everything, but I guessed a lot.
Still, there were enough quirks that I powered through Storm Front and plan to read more of the Dresden Files.
Maybe revisit the show, too. 😉