Storm Front

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I remember picking up Jim Butcher's Storm Front and Fool Moon and flipping through them at the bookstore when they originally came out. Urban fantasy was not yet the powerhouse the subgenre became in recent years, and I wasn't really impressed by the blurb and the few pages I read then. It's funny what a difference a few years can make. Witnessing Butcher's Dresden Files' immense popularity, I decided to give the series a shot. And a wise decision this was, for Storm Front is an entertaining joyride of a novel!

It's not easy being a true wizard. Though he is a part-time consultant hired by the Chicago P. D. when they encounter supernatural cases that transcend their capabilities, Harry Dresden's career is anything but lucrative. Strapped for cash, he is drawn into a strange case when the police asks him to investigate the magical murder of a high-end prostitute and the bodyguard of the city's mafia kingpin. The deeper he digs, the more Dresden begins to realize that his own life might be in danger if he doesn't let go. But Harry Dresden is a stubborn man. . . And broke.

Storm Front features a first-person narrative, that of Harry Dresden. Such narratives can be tricky, for the entire story is told from a single POV. Hence, if you like the main protagonist, it's all good. If you don't, well everything has a tendency to go down the crapper fast. Just ask Robin Hobb and Patrick Rothfuss. It wasn't a problem for me with this book, for Harry Dresden's witty, ironic, and sardonic voice was one of my favorite facets of this novel.

Although this is a "one man show," the supporting cast is nonetheless comprised of a bunch of interesting characters, chief among those Bob the skull and Detective Karrin Murphy. Still, no matter how much the secondary characters play a role in this novel, it will all come down to whether or not you like Harry Dresden. The guy isn't exactly your typical wizard type, that's for sure. And that's what makes him so endearing.

Jim Butcher paced this one perfectly, and there isn't one dull moment throughout. Everything moves at a crisp pace, and the many cliffhangers at the end of various chapters keep you turning those pages, promising yourself that you'll only read another chapter.

I feel that Butcher did a good job in this opening volume of the Dresden Files. Though quick-moving and entertaining, Storm Front offers us a few glimpses of a richer and deeper tale. It's hard not to root for the down-on-his-luck wizard. Yet there is a lot more to him than meets the eye, and I'm curious to learn about Dresden's past.

Another nice touch was the variety of one-liners bringing a number of chapters to a close. Lines such as So I have a problem with creepy, dead, poisonous things. So sur me., Who says I never do anything fun on a Friday night?, Who says I don't know how to show a lady a good time?, Do I have a great job or what?, Less than a minute on the clock and no time-outs remaining for the quaterback. All in all, it was looking like a bad evening for the home team had me smirking and laughing, and they would carry me on over to yet another chapter. I reached the end of Storm Front a lot quicker than I ever thought. To my disappointment, as I don't have a copy of the second volume on hand. . .

Looking forward to reading the rest of the Dresden Files installments, especially since many fans claim that Storm Front just might be the weakest volume of the series. If, like me, you have yet to give Jim Butcher's signature series a try, then by all means do so now!

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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7 commentaires:

ediFanoB said...

I read STORM FRONT and enjoyed. FOOL MOON is on my shelf but it must wait. My current reading is THE TEN THOUSAND by Paul Kearney (read 1/3 so far) AND
tomorrow I will get all MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN and MALAZAN EMPIRE books......

AC'63 said...

I have every single one of Jim's books.. well worth to read. I'd give them all a 9/10.
I started readig urban fantasy back in the 80's, can't remember the first one I bought - but it was about a detective hired by a elf to find a unicorn.
If you want a good dective/fantasy book give Glen Cooks "Garrett P.I." novels a read.

Anonymous said...

the first two Dresden novels are still just a kind of intro, prelude to the series. it really kicks of with the third and the writing improves even (not that it was too much in need of that).
if you liked 'Storm Front', i'm sure the series won't lose you for quite a few instalments to come..

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm the exception, then, as I absolutely HATE all those one-liners. They make me feel like I'm watching a Chuck Norris movie or something. Hate them, hate them. I like Butcher's explanations for things, and the pace of the books, but I think Dresden is one of the most ridiculous characters I've ever met. I keep thinking of him as a post-Mallorean Eddings character, somehow.

Pythor said...

Don't wait so long to try the Calderon series. Butcher's just as good, if not better, and has a wonderful world to build in the background.

Anonymous said...

The detective hired by an elf to find a unicorn novel is "Stalking the Unicorn" by Mike Resnick. It was written in 1987, but rereleased by Pyr in 2008.

qdony said...

Have you ever tried the Dresden Files audiobooks read by James Marsters? They are amazing.