Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)

 
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Product Description

Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost items found. Paranormal investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, 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 of them don't play too 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 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.

Customer Reviews:

  • If Reading's a Chore, Read This
    Do wizards really exist?" Well the novel Storm Front by Jim Butcher is about a wizard named Harry Dresden in modern day Chicago, who can not pay his bills, until the police call him about a gruesome double and they need him to investigate. They think the was caused by magic, and stuff that regular people haven't seen before.
    I normally I don't like to read. but this book made me change my mind. I recommend Storm Front to anyone that likes books that have things you will never expect to happen.

    Mrs. Sage's Class
    -Tyler Meredith
    ...more info
  • Not deep, but action packed and fun to read
    An entertaining, short fantasy read (the book is only 322 pages long).

    I stumbled upon this author (Jim Butcher) while reading someones' review; I've always enjoyed fantasy so I decided to give it a try.

    'Storm Front' is the first of a series of books (now 10 or so books) starring Butcher's hero, Harry Dresden. Dresden is a wizard/part-time private investigator who often gets involved, with or without the police, in investigating paranormal occurrences.

    The writing quality is reminiscent of your typical detective/sleuth novel...only better. What I really liked was the way the story really hooked you into reading on and on; there was always something happening, or about to happen, to keep your interest at a high level.

    Also, it was not hard to identify and like Harry with his self-depreciating and cynical humor. Other characters, although not greatly developed, are intriguing and easily fit into the frame work of this story. And as you might suspect, there were some interesting confrontations involving humans as well as your evil fantasy types.

    Conclusion:
    A short fantasy read that is well presented and fast paced. It has an interesting hero and the storyline that will tweak your curiosity to the very end. 4 1/2 to 5 Stars.

    R.Nicholson


    ...more info
  • An amazing novel
    This is the first novel I have red by Jim Butcher and the first of this genre. The plot is interesting and original (at least to me). I think this is a good book for people looking for light reading. I am actually excited to read the rest of the series to see if his writing style and techniques improve as he writes more novels. However, even if I don't like his flow or style, I still found the plot exciting and am able to finish his novels in less than a day.

    The first novel in the series deals with a good wizard, Harry, dueling a bad sorceror. Harry is a professional wizard who is struggling to stay operating. He works as a consultant with the Chicago PD on gruesome crimes, but when crimes are low, his pay is slow. When people's hearts begin exploding out of their chests, the police call Harry. Harry makes use of different tools to catch the murderer. I like the weapons Harry utilizes and sidekick Bob.

    Overall, this is a quick, light read. If you are looking for heavy reading, this is not it. I liked it, and will finish the series, but I don't see myself reading these books again....more info
  • Freaking Awesome
    I haven't been this excited and absolutely addicted to a series in YEARS! I love the characters. They are somewhat flat at first but flesh out really well in later books. I totally love that most of the characters are snarky, flippant geeks of one sort or another. The dialogue is good, and I can be found to laugh-out-loud at times!

    BtVS meets classic noir. Totally freaking awesome....more info
  • Loved it!
    I started reading this at the urging of my husband. I loved it. Harry Dresden is very witty. It's definitely worth the read....more info
  • strom front
    The Dresden Files series is my new guilty pleasrue. It is not a masterpiece of writing. It is often hackneyed in language. The characterization of the minor characters is thin. All that said, it is a fun read. The story is engaging and the character of Harry Dresden himself is interesting. The combination of the fantasy genre and the noir dtective is brilliant. Butcher combines these two genres seamlessly and engages the reader which is imperative in a good mystery. If you are looking for a good, quick, fun read... go for it....more info
  • Escapism for the desk-bound? Computer-geek reborn as private eye wizard?
    Your lead, Dresden, is a rather emotionally dense male. He strikes me as the sort of character that would appeal to a young male reader who hasn't yet had much luck with women, who enjoys fantasy novels and who longs for a bit more power in his life. There's something in this book that appeals to the old Dungeons & Dragons player in me... but that's a part of myself that's pretty well gone and done.

    There's a certain charm to the book. Dresden is a casual narrator, chatting with you like some guy at the bar. In a similar fashion he talks with with a lascivious skull on his desk, and interrogates a puff-chested little fairy. There were enough curiosities dropped along the path to keep me going, for a while. But Dresden is a pretty geeky loner: he gets irked when people mispronounce "Tarot," likes to hold the door open for women, and doesn't ponder things too deeply. He seems, in short, emotionally and morally limited.

    Perhaps the book is more of an audition for Dresden than a novel. It's Butcher's sketchpad: he's jotting down ideas, getting a wizard private eye fleshed out, testing the character's voice, running him through some exercises. But Dresden is rather casual about the murders he's looking in to, and about his own potential execution by the council of wizards. You could say he's a bit blas®¶. It's hard to see what drives the man, or why we should join him. Without much of a plot or main character to hold on to, I let the book slip through my grasp and donated it, half-read, to the local library. ...more info
  • The first novel of the Dresden Files, now reissued in paperback to celebrate the television series
    When you're the only publicly practicing wizard in Chicago and no one believes in magic, business is never good. "Storm Front", the first novel of the Dresden Files (now reissued in paperback to celebrate the television series on Sci-Fi Channel), follows wizard Harry Dresden and his quest to pay the rent. One of Harry's only regular clients, a police detective named Murphy, calls him in to consult on a set of grisly murders. Harry also gets a cautious client who's willing to pay well to find her husband; while business certainly is beginning to pick up, Harry may not survive to enjoy it. Drawing heavily upon elements from classic detective noir, "Storm Front" is witty, intriguing, and will hook readers on the entire series. Highly recommended for community library fantasy collections seeking something outside the sword and sorcery field....more info
  • A beginning !
    book one of what has become a 10+ series. Read from the beginning because this series is great but needs context....more info
  • Storm Front
    For A First Time Author, This Book Wasn't Half Bad. I Didn't Like How He Had Put It In A First Person View The Entire Book, And It Seemed All He Did Was Run Around With His Brian Turned Off. Would I Recommend, If Your Bored Then Yes, Otherwise Don't Bother....more info
  • I liked it, I look forward to reading more of this series.
    Some friends of mine turned me on to this book. I like it. I'll read more of them....more info
  • From what I hear it only gets better....
    As a reader of paranormal fiction, it was only a matter of time before I had to read Harry Dresden. Harry is the only wizard located in the yellow pages in a modern day Chicago. People seem aware, but only to a certain extent, that there are things out there beyond reason. Harry finds himself mixed up with some bad stuff. The council that oversees magic is on him about mishandling some things and they are looking for for any reason to have his killed. Then there is a really bad wizard out there killing people and selling some magic kind of drugs. Guess what? He wants to kill Henry too. This story was exciting and it was a change of pace for this reader to read about a male protaganist. Harry is a goofy, but likeable guy and I found myself cheering him on. The writing was good, but not great. I wish I could have been more excited by this story, because it does work. I think that this author needs to mature in his writing, but I hear these stories only get better. So while this book certainly could be improved upon, if not in plot, in follow through, I am still eager to read the next novel and I anticipate this story line just getting better....more info
  • Never received this
    I never received this product. I have no response from the seller regarding the status of this shipment. Very unsatisfied. Would not waste my time or money with this seller!...more info
  • Good book, Good reader
    An excellent hybrid fantasy/detective novel. Jim Butcher does a good job creating a magic world at the edge of our everyday world. There is a bit of humor mixed in with the tension. The only short coming for me was that occasionally Harry's (Dresden) angst is over done. Spike ... err James Marsters does an excellent job reading Storm Front. ...more info
  • A fantastic series!!!!!
    This series is innovative, fresh and original. I highly recommend it to any and all who happen to come across it. ...more info
  • storm front
    great start to a great series, so glad to finally have it in hardcover, as my paperback has fallen apart....more info
  • Original
    First, I'm somewhat of a lenient reviewer... I tend to start off anything with 5 stars, then knock-off stars based on dislikes, or even if I find something is just on-par and not above-par. Book 1 of this series is a home-run. It has a somewhat of a "Law and Order" feel mixed with "magnum PI" and a down-to-earth Wizard thrown into the mix... in a world where a Wizard is ranked along the same lines as your run of the mill phsychic, but this guy is for real. Very fast paced... and I gaurantee if you like mysteries and if you like fantasy/sci-fi's, then this book will have you flying through the electronic pages because you want to find out what happens next.... Highly recommended!...more info
  • Fun and Exciting...
    This was a great way to start off the Dresden Files. I had fun reading this book all the way from the start to the finish. I don't want to write anything about the story as it could be a spoiler, but I can say if you like odd Private eye books this is the series for you. I have spent years reading the Vampire Files and now I have this series to look forward to....more info
  • Really enjoyable book
    I really enjoyed the story, and at this point, I'm ecstatic that this is an ongoing series. I'll have plenty to read for quite awhile.
    ...more info
  • The beginning of a great relationship
    I came across the 10th audio book and after enjoying it thoroughly, I decided to start with book one. I was not disappointed and am hooked. Can't find audiobook #2, but started #3. Wondering what is going on so far. But Book #1 was great fun and very worth every penny for the audio book. ...more info
  • Very Good Book
    This is the first in Butcher's "Dresden Files" series. From some of the more negative reviews here, I was a bit worried about it. Fortunately, I found the book more in line with the positive reviews: the writing, characters, and plot are all very good. My only complaints are that 1) Butcher only hints at the magic system and the world behind it, and 2) in one scene in his office (near the end), the number of errors Dresden makes just becomes silly. But, as other reviewers have noted, this is not high literature. For a dark, fantasy/gumshoe mixture, it's very good and is definitely worth reading. As such, I rate it at a Very Good 4 stars out of 5....more info
  • Great book!
    I really enjoyed the TV series, and my husband recently bought this book for me not realizing that the show was based on it. Really great book & a fun read. Even better than the series. I just ordered the rest of the books in the series and can't wait to read 'em!...more info
  • A Wizard Investigator-Consultant at Work
    Having read and reviewed a couple Georgina Kincaid novels, a suggestion by an Amazon friend to try a Harry Dresden novel didn't seem quite so mad an idea to me. I have not previously read works on vampires (outside the classics, such as Bram Stoker's novel, of course!), wizards, demons, and so on as a part of my repertoire. So, following the suggestion, I acquired Jim Butcher's novel, "Storm Front." It turns out that this was a pleasant romp, introducing the reader to wizards, a vampiress, a demon, and other odd creatures. As well as a talking skull, with expertise in potions and a 30 pound pet cat.

    There are humans, too, such as Police Detective Karrin Murphy, in a unit dedicated to solving very odd cases and who has a consulting relationship with Dresden to help solve out of the ordinary crimes. Or the reporter for the newspaper catering to stories of the occult and paranormal. Or the gangster leader and his minions. Or. . . .

    Anyhow, the story turns on two separate plots that, eventually, come together into one central plot line. Dresden's sleuthful adventures after being called to duty by Murphy because of a horrific double murder are complicated by a wizard assigned to track Harry for possibly violating the rules that wizards are supposed to follow, under a threat of being killed if he is found to violate the rules.

    Lots of adventure. The action is nonstop. Many of the characters are rather one dimensional, but the book is so much fun and moves so fast, from one dangerous situation to the next, that one has little time to reflect on that. Sometimes the dialogue seems a bit too familiar from the zillions of detective novels out there.

    But the book does grow on one. At the outset, Harry's powers are not well outlined. By the end, the reader is amused and amazed at the breadth and power of his wizardly skills, although he does bumble quite often (forgetting his cane and so on). His final confrontation with the evil wizard at the heart of the murders is well crafted. And one comes to understand the importance of the title of this book.

    So, count me as a Harry Dresden fan. I'm not sure that I'm going to be reading anymore, but I guess I have warmed up to a genre that I once paid little heed to.
    ...more info
  • LOVE DRESDEN FILES!
    Harry Dresden is a private detective, but his cases are not the kind you'd expect. In fact, Harry's not what you'd expect. On a daily basis, he puts up with snorts of disbelief when people learn he is an honest-to-goodness wizard, clients who have otherworldly connections, demons who trash his beetle, his office, and/or his apartment, and murder investigations where he discovers he's the next target, not to mention brushes with organized crime, vampires, werewolves, faeries and other wizards. The books are fast-paced and I love Jim Butcher's wit. ...more info
  • Great premise, slightly mishandled.
    I know there are a lot of fans of this series, and I desperately wanted to be after I'd first heard of it. But after reading Storm Front, I just couldn't completely buy in. Part of it is that I didn't jibe with Butcher's writing style.

    For starters, his female characters seem a bit two dimensional, as their only available reactions seem to be fear, anger, and horniness for Harry Dresden. Seriously, this guy is broke, wears a cowboy duster around present-day Chicago, advertises himself as a wizard detective, (and in one scene, reveals he doesn't even trim his nails), and these women are throwing themselves at him? What, were all the winos taken?

    Then there's the setting - Chicago. I didn't feel like this was a "Chicago" story, nor a very noir story for that matter. There were noirish elements, but I felt like the story could have taken place in any city. I love the city of Chicago, and it feels like there's a much grittier, darker, gothic side to this setting that could have been injected into the story.

    There are flashes of brilliance - his "hard drive" Bob, some of the action scenes, Harry's intriguing history, McAnally's Pub. But I found myself wishing for more as the story went on. It just felt too simple or too easy for a premise this awesome.

    I don't know - I wanted to like this, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I was hoping for a grown-up Harry Potter (`cept with, you know, sex and stuff) that takes place in a rich, textured world full of whimsy and magic, but also populated with dark spirits and ancient evils. For me, Storm Front kind of fell short in all those departments. This wasn't a world I couldn't wait to slip back into.

    I don't know whether or not the series would improve for me in the later books, but right now I just can't motivate myself to find out. ...more info
  • Fun romp, disappointing narration
    I love the camp, clever tongue-in-cheek and knowingly absurd (hey, I own every Dr. Who episode ever there was), so I found the premise of somewhat bumbling, hard-boiled wizard detective who is scrupulously loyal to his own morality quite appealing. The story was fun, and once I started the CD's, I had to keep listening until I was done.
    The only character who was a little puzzling was Harry's police contact. Why is she so unremittingly hostile, even from the very beginning? I can understand irritation when she feels he is holding out on her midway through the story, but she is unreasonably angry before and after the episode. If she has so little faith in Dresden or dislikes him that much, why continue to use him?
    Because of my busy schedule, I have no time to sit down and read, thus listen to audio books. I was really excited to see James Marsters as the narrater, seeing as I am an unabashed fangirl. Like others, I was somewhat disappointed. He does have Harry down pat. But there is practically no other variation for the other characters, something that is suprising with his acting ability. After some thought, I've decided that so much of what Marsters does is physical -- the smirk, the sucked in cheeks, the head tilt -- just doesn't translate onto audio alone. His voice is still lovely and the stories are still such a fun, outrageous exciting romp that I'll still collect them all.
    Not the absolute best, but still good enough for me to collect!...more info
  • Another sense entirely
    Even if you've read the novel more than once (as I have), it's another thing entirely to hear a Harry Dresden-like voice shouting down a Loup-Garou. Get a hot cup of tea, or coffee, or Mac's best stout, and sit back to enjoy a really tense novel read by a really tense gravelly voice with nothing better to do then sound beat up, angry and still pulling the heroes out of the fire. Go Harry!
    (And bravo James Marsters!)...more info
  • Blah.
    Even though Dresden has noble intentions and desires to help humanity, he practically sedates himself with nonchalance. I don't enjoy looking through the eyes of a fully functioning man (mentally) who can't face reality and has as little ambition as Dresden does. I did, however, find the community that goes to Mac's bar to be very interesting (though it was barely touched upon) and liked how the author tied magic into a drug feud. I also don't like the author's portrayal of white magic. Particularly how he ties it to the pentacle. The magic in this book borders on real "magyk" which I believe is entirely unnecessary....more info
  • decent pulp, but the seams show too much for my taste
    I read this; it was okay.

    I have several friends who love this series, so I was disappointed not to be more impressed. I struggled for a while to articulate to one of his fans my problems with it. Not really believable worldbuilding, maybe--the magic system feels both arbitrary and like it should imply a far more different society, and even the ordinary events in the book don't seem to go quite sensibly. But that didn't quite get at it. After some thought, I came up with this: rather than the events developing naturally from the interactions of his world and his characters, he seems to force everything (character motivations, rules of his magical system) to line up just right to make each big dramatic scene happen. Like a dot-to-dot. My companion responded with raised eyebrows, "Have you read his writing guide?" No, I hadn't. Apparently that is exactly how he writes, and recommends writing. Your seams are showing, Jim.

    If you enjoy pulp fiction of either the detective or the fantasy variety, you'll probably like the Dresden Files just fine. I might read more, but only if I'm temporarily out of new fiction for some reason. The next two things I read were by Peter S. Beagle and Lois McMaster Bujold. Mmm, that's good fantasy writing. I don't see any reason to settle for okay. ...more info
  • storm front review
    I was recomended this book on goodreads and Im very happy that I read this book! I now have a new favorite series I was totally engrossed from the 1st page I read it in one sitting loved it!I highly recommend this book to fantasy/horror/thriller readers it has a little of everything!
    If you like wizards and alot of action with a humorus twist then pick up the 1st in the Dresden Files series and let Harry into your heart!...more info
  • fun book
    I enjoyed reading this book and finished it less than a week (I am a slow reader). The book was exciting from start to finish and I will continue reading other books in the series....more info
  • Great Reading
    If you like Harry Dresden you will enjoy this reading very much. The whole book is included, and James Marsters (Spike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) does an Outstanding job of reading it. I intend to get all these books (with James Marsters reading), and urge the production of ALL the Harry Dresden series using Mr. Marsters as the reader.
    ...more info
  • The TV show was better
    I had high hopes for this book because I liked the series, but they were dashed by the end of page one. First of all, the writing is mediocre at best. As a writing teacher, I expect published authors to rise above first year writing students stylisticly. Too much repitition, some confusing sentence structures, cliches, unrealistic dialogue, and not very inventive (Nevernever was the best name the author could come up with for the alternate magical world?). Characterization is lacking. Dresden's maturity rarely rises above a teenage boy, and his wardrobe makes him come off pathetic. The only people who wear dusters and think they are cool are cowboys (admittedly cowboys do look cool in them), school shooters, and D&D groupies. The tv show was smart to change the duster to a bomber jacket and the VW to a Jeep. The women are interchangeable with little done to develop them. This could have been very compelling reading if the writing were more polished and the characters given a little more thought....more info
  • If Anita Blake were a guy she'd be a lot like Harry Dresden.
    If Anita Blake were a guy she'd be a lot like Harry Dresden. That is
    both a plus and a minus. Harry is a wizard PI who consults for the
    police on paranormal cases. Like Anita Blake, he's smart and somewhat
    jaded. He also would be better if he was a woman. Because of the
    1st person POV we know what Harry is thinking throughout the book,
    and his thoughts would have made more sense coming from a woman. Not that Harry is in anyway feminine, but I kept wishing he was a girl. I
    would have liked this book better. As it is, it was not bad. but
    not great either....more info
  • A fast pace and good read
    This book was a fun read. Harry Dresden is hired by the police to investigate whether magic was used to violently murder a hooker and a mob enforcer during a night of love making. During the course of a few days, Harry is ordered off the case by a mob boss, confronts a vampire and must deal with his overzealous watcher, who by the way thinks that Harry is the killer.

    At the same time, Harry is working on a second case involving a wife's missing husband.

    Jim Butcher creatively combined classic PI detective and fantasy. I'm normally a slow reader, but the story was so entertaining, I found that I had a hard time putting Storm Front down.

    The Friday House
    Lost Hours
    Xiii...more info
  • This book is better suited for a child between the ages of 10-13. Very short. Little detail.
    I was disappointed in this book. It could have been a 200 page book had the font and margins been typical. Short. Lame... Just really a kids book. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone with a college education. Possibly even a high school education....more info
  • A flighty and inconsequential paranormal fiction...
    I had read a lot of Harrison to this point and was eagerly looking for something along similar lines. To my surprise I started reading Storm Front and found that they were so similar in many ways. What surprised me even more was that he began his series 4 years before Harrison, which threw me for a loop. Where Harrison succeeded in many ways, Butcher fell short.

    Butcher used the myths and folklore behind the paranormal quite well, incorporating many facets as well as hinting at other facets to be used in later books, such as Trolls and Elves. We see, quite obviously, a lot of wizardry, demons, faeries and so on. Dresden uses a lot of magic throughout his unbelievably packed weekend. The faerie isn't too impressive, as well the demon who seems tough and dangerous, but only because Butcher tells the reader, not because the demon itself does it.

    In the end I found Butcher's writing style very flighty and inconsequential. He seemed to use magic as a crutch, for when the story is backed into a corner, why not use magic, right? Jumps in logic for the characters sometimes didn't seem believable because the logic was meant to further the storyline rather than to make the characters believable.

    A very noticeable example of something being used to further the storyline is at the end Dresden latches handcuffs to a rail, handcuffs that were already shut and locked up, but it helped the story if the handcuff was unlocked. He failed to show how Dresden unlocked it. In fact Dresden spoke about using magic to pick locks a couple of times throughout the book, so why didn't he do this originally instead of leaving himself handcuffed? None of it made sense, but it was used because it furthered the story.

    I liked the notion of Morgan as a Warden and a governing body of wizards called The White Council, but the flighty style of writing made Morgan a bumbling idiot on autopilot. Morgan and The White Council have beliefs and opinions of Dresden that are completely unfounded. Not that Dresden couldn't be a practitioner of the black arts as they suppose, but that the way Butcher writes it you in no way can take their reasoning or line of logic and at the least see where they are coming from. Instead we are told, and you never once believe or begin to doubt Dresden, or even ever feel that Dresden is in real danger from The White Council. And if Morgan is supposed to arrest Dresden and prevent him from using magic to harm someone, why would he stand outside a burning building and watch Dresden stake on the Shadowman and not try to "prevent" Dresden from harming another being? It is stuff that had to be written in in order to back himself out of a corner.

    In the end I think I will still read the next in the series, if only to see Butcher progress as a writer and see if his writing improves and his characters are more believable. A decent freshman book and first of the series. A tentative recommend.

    3.5 stars....more info
  • Loved This Book
    I am thrilled to have discovered The Dresden Files series thanks to all of you Amazon reviewers. I frequently read Amazon reviews about books to see if I might be interested in a new author and that's just how I happened to discover Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. I noticed how many 4 1/2 and 5-star ratings his books consistently got and I thought "Well, they've got to be good with ratings like these and so many enthusiastic reviews" so, I bought Storm Front and I was not disappointed at all! Jim Butcher has a great imagination as an author and knows how to write a good book. I know it's a good book when I think about it alot while I'm not reading it and can't wait until I have time to pick it up and read more. In other words, it's hard to put down. I also found it easy to visualize certain scenes in the book which made what was going on that much more exciting and suspenseful. While these books are not "high literature" they are darn good entertainment and well-written. I was surprised, actually, at how much I enjoyed this book and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Fool Moon.

    Thanks everyone for turning me on to the Dresden Files!...more info
  • Wonderful Fantasy/Wizard series...horrible audio CD
    I have read all ten of the Harry Dresden books and I have to say that they pull you in from the very beginning. They have a wonderful mix of wizardry, romance, suspense, violence, you name it. It all blends together in a way that leaves you longing for the next book in the series.

    I must caution you though on the audio versions of the first 4 books that have been released. When I first saw the audio book versions, I was very excited until I heard them. James Marsters is the narrator and he is horrible. I highly enjoy watching James Marsters act (Buffy, Angle, Torchwood, Smallville) but narrate...he cannot. He just sounds bored. Only on characters that are not Harry Dresden does he seem to try...

    If I would have started the series with the audio books...I probably never would have given them a chance and truly missed out on a wonderful series.

    My advice. Read the books...enjoy the short lived TV show...skip the audio books....more info
  • Sam Spade meets Gandalf, not quit, but a nice mixture of the two
    I got attracted to Mr. Butcher's Dresden series after watching The Dresden Files. Since the series has been cancelled I decided to start reading the novels that drove the series. This said, I'll open by saying that the books are not the series, there are differences between the two and while highly similar, I'm viewing them as two separate items (as much as possible).
    Mr. Butcher opens by giving us a basic description of Harry Dresden, the only practicing magician advertizing in the Yellow Pages. He makes his living working for people who'll pay his fee and for the Chicago police. This said, Harry is being watched by the White Council to see if he's practicing Black magic (if so, he's to be terminated). While waiting for some work (he's a little on the poor side), three different groups come seeking his employment, one looking for a missing husband, the Chicago police are looking for a murder, and a crime lord looking for Harry to just take a paid vacation.

    My Likes
    Harry Dresden's character is nicely developed. I love how Mr. Butcher expands Harry Dresden from someone we don't know feeling like he's with us telling us his story. This is shown nicely with the interactions between Harry and the other characters and as we hear what Harry thinks about things. I have to believe that part of the reason for this is that Mr. Butcher made Harry Dresden from himself.
    I also love the way Mr. Butcher employs magic. Rather than being strong or all empowering, Mr. Butcher weaves it in with a look and feel that maybe it could work and be a part of our world. I admit that I was a little surprised at how strong Black magic could be, but Mr. Butcher provides an interesting delineation between White and Black magic.
    I really enjoyed the merger between magic and a detective story. While Harry Dresden isn't a Sam Spade, Mr. Butcher does a great job delivering a mixture between the two. I was always looking forward to the next event.

    My Dislikes
    While I loved the way Mr. Butcher evolves Harry's character I felt that Murphy's character should have been better developed. This shows when Mr. Butcher talks about Murphy's Aikido trophies. As a practitioner of Aikido I know that we don't have trophies. The only schools that have competitions of any type (where a trophy might be awarded) is Tomiki. Aikidoka would have letters from the seminars they'd attended or from the kyu tests.
    I also didn't like the way Bob was described. I admit that I was prejudiced by the TV show (I really liked the way he was played/presented) and after seeing Bob on TV I felt that he was under sold by Mr. Butcher, treated more as a friendly reference manual or computer.

    The Rating
    A solid 4 star book. The story shows that it's an early work of Mr. Butcher's; nice development but a little immature in spots. Mr. Butcher does a good job bringing his storyline out, showing us White magic, Black magic, and implying that there's more out there (we're introduced to the Fey and the vampires; I tend to believe that the Fey will become important in a future novel). Because of how nicely the book is put together (and the fact that it's not real complex) it's a quick read and I look forward to reading more of Mr. Butchers Dresden Files.
    ...more info
  • Awesome
    This is a really good start to the Dresden Files...I enjoyed reading it and the writer sure knows his stuff......more info
  • Not Bad, But You Can Put It Down
    I really wanted to like this book, as I'm always looking for new authors and new series. It's not a bad book, but it's certainly not a book you can't put down.

    The protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a modern-day, mortal, wizard living in the Chicago area who struggles to earn a living as a Wizard and moonlights as a consultant to the Chicago PD.

    The plot is well-covered in other reviews, so I won't review it again. The writing is a bit hackneyed (does it get better in subsequent books?...I'm trying to decide if I will buy the next in the series to figure that out), and most of the characters are predictable.

    The problem for me, and perhaps only for me, is that while Harry has substantial wizardly prowess and uses it, he's frequently in situations that it seems his wizardly prowess ought to get him out of with ease, but for some reason or other does not. Perhaps I'm not willing to suspend my disbelief to the extent necessary, but there's inconsistency in Harry's magic and leaves me somewhat dissatisfied....more info
  • Clever title...
    ...but nothing else. I'm so angry at this book. How dumb does this author think we are? Within the first 30 pages all of the characters are introduced, as well as the killer. It was so painfully obvious who the killer was when Harry Dresen went to the scene of the first crime. It certainly doesn't take a genius to figure it out. This is supposed to be a mystery book. There was nothing mysterious about it. As for the supernatural aspect, there was a fairy for a page, and a vampire for 2 pages, that is it. Harry is a wizard, nothing too special about that, he can create some air and put up a shield. This book would have been wonderful if there was a point in reading it after Harry investigates the first crime scene. He isn't too terribly likable, and the other characters aren't really special enough to care about. I would read more of these books if the author decides to write an actual mystery instead of this nonsense. ...more info
  • A Lot of Fun
    I've jumped on the Dresden Files series very late in the game, but that hasn't makde it any less fun as I plowed through the first book, "Storm Front" in two sittings.

    Butcher has created an entertaining world based in modern Chicago but filled with Wizards, vampires, magic swords and one horny skull. Dresden is a great character, both sardonic and idealistic, scraping by a living performing small miracles such as finding lost keys even though he knows he is one of the most powerful wizards around.

    The story adeptly ties together both the search for a missing man as well as a set of murders where the victim's hearts literally explode from their chests. It is silly and not great literature, but it is a lot of fun to read and will make you laugh. Highly recommended....more info
  • Great Character and solid plot!
    This book really has a great lead character and does an excellent job of creating a fantasy world that is understandable. All of the characters are solid and so is the plot. It definitely leaves you wanting more!...more info
  • Don't touch this book.
    I pick up this book thinking that it had a promising plot, but i soon came to realize that it sucks. I hated this book, the characters were ridiculous and what could have been a good premise was absolutely wasted. Do not under any circumstances try to read this book. I had to put it down around half way through. I would much rather stick to George R. R. Martin....more info
  • Only wizard in Chicago
    Harry Dresden, only Wizard in the Phone Book, works with Chicago PD as a consultant, and doesn't do card tricks. He's hunting for a user of Black Magic. To find that person, he makes use of various connections, including the head of crime in Chicago.
    For a first novel, Butcher does extremely well, populating his series with foes, friends, family and assundries that pop in and out but have no definitive place or definition. He should have included a text or pamphlet entitled "Tricks to Play on Faeries for Fun, Game and General Annoyance", but that most likely would have been taken literally....more info
  • An auspicious beginning
    The introduction of Harry Dresden to the Fantasy world is a mixed bag in many ways. It definitely shows Jim Butcher's infancy as an author: the mystery is not as deep, the villain more obvious, and the diction simpler than in his later work. However, even amidst that, you can catch the glimmer of the golden goose Harry would become for Butcher.

    One thing that is not missing from the first Dresden Files, is the frenetic pace and killer action that is now a welcome trademark of Harry's adventures. Jim Butcher reminds me of a modern day Edgar Rice Burroughs or Robert E Howard; a guy who can write deeply imaginative and thrillingly fast paced adventure fantasy.

    Even as you feel Butcher finding his legs in Storm Front, you are still compelled by the character of Harry and the inventive Urban Fantasy world he inhabits. While thinner and less nuanced than his later Files, the villain is still villainous, the danger just as real and puns as bad as ever;)

    It is even better in retrospect. I just re-read it for the 3rd time in preparation for the latest book, Turn Coat, and it was as good as ever, and even better in some respects. Reading the series again really lays out the growth for Harry Dresden, both as a Wizard and a Person. It works so well because as you see the Author's infancy, you also see Harry's. So you can forgive a little more since Harry is not as seasoned or as powerful as he becomes. It only makes sense that as he has grown into an incredibly powerful Wizard, that Jim Butcher has grown into a very good author.

    The Dresden Files has become, for my money, the best 1st Person Fantasy series out there and it all started here, with a simple but thoroughly enjoyable lightning quick ride through the Storm. Complete with an Evil Sorcerer, a Toad Demon, a Vampire Madame, a Mob Boss and an angry Wizard Cop all gunning for our Harry: Isn't his job great? :)

    308 HC pages. 3.5 out of 5 stars...more info
  • Gumshoe detective who happens to be a wizard
    This series sucked me in from the start. I've always enjoyed wizard/magic/monster stories, but this one added a fun twist. The protagonist, Harry Dresden, is a wizard like no other I've read. He's a gumshoe detective who happens to be a wizard. He's always getting into some kind of trouble (whether he goes looking for it, or more likely, it comes looking for him).

    Butcher's writing style is oftentimes hilarious making Dresden's internal dialogue one of the most intriguing parts of the story to me. I love the following excerpt from the book:

    "My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. I'm a wizard. I work at an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only 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 in there. You'd be surprised how many people call just to ask if I'm serious."...more info
  • MST3K in Book Format
    Storm Front / 0-451-45781-1

    Fans of the cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) know that some things are so bad that they're good...or at least good for a laugh. "Storm Front", the first book in the Dresden Files series, falls squarely in the laughably bad category, with emphasis on the 'bad'.

    Harry Dresden is a practicing wizard in the Chicago area. He is, he assures us, the only openly practicing wizard in the whole country, so solitary and alone that they had to make a brand new category just for him in the phone book - he's the sole name under "Wizard", which I thought was incredibly accommodating of the Yellow Pages.

    Harry doesn't really *do* wizardy things for hire like create love potions, tell the future, perform at bar mitzvahs, or summon demons for odd jobs around the house. He mostly advertises as a wizardy-detective, and he consults with the police for his bread-and-butter. The police tend to need him on occasion, because even though nobody believes in magic (or do they? - more on this problem later), it turns out that Chicago is chock full of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, and rogue wizards, all hell-bent on being poor citizens.

    All of this is a decent setup for some good science fiction / fantasy drama, if a bit cheesy, but no more so than the usual, fun-loving Buffy / Angel / Charmed cheese that we all know and love. Problem is, Butcher is (in my humble opinion) possibly the worst writer I've ever read. That's a strong statement, and it needs to be backed up by some equally strong fact, so I will try to elucidate.

    First, Dresden is the worst Mary Sue character I've ever seen. Dresden is the best wizard around, because he is "trained" and "experienced" and Butcher describes him as such at least once per chapter, often twice or three times. He's just that good. The reader isn't given any real details about Harry's "training" or "experience", though surely it could be quite interesting and/or pertinent to the story, but outside of one poorly timed, Dues Ex Machina flashback, Butcher is wholly uninterested in providing details in that regard. "Tell, don't show" - that's Jim Butcher's motto. The reader is also told, regularly, that Harry Dresden is really tall, really strong, super awesome, and ruggedly rugged in his cowboy-esque duster. The women around him - and there are quite a few women in this story, and each and every one of them fits an insulting sexual stereotype - all want him, or at least want something from him, and the men... well, the men don't generally like Harry much because he's intimidating and super-awesome. Nevermind, Harry doesn't need men in his life.

    Which brings me to my second point: Butcher/Dresden has apparently never met a Real Live Woman. Ever. This may seem like a digression from the main point, but it is important to delve into the issues that Dresden/Butcher apparently have with women, or rather with the walking stereotypes in this story that are called "women". There's Murphy, the Cop, who is Short, Cute, and Tough, but in a cute way. She's alternately maternal and mean, and just because she's trusted Harry on many cases in the past doesn't mean she won't irrationally turn on him and accuse him of murder as soon as the story needs her to. Then there's Susan, the Journalist, who is Sexy, Inquisitive, and, uh, Sexy. She's breathy and vampy and she isn't above seducing Harry in order to get the latest "scoop" for her magazine which is apparently slightly less prestigious than the National Inquirer. There's Linda, the Prostitute, who is the obligatory Sex Addict. And finally there's Monica, the Client, who is Slender, Dumb, and reminds Harry of, oddly enough for a grown woman, A Cheerleader. Conversations with Monica go like this:
    ---
    "Is there anyplace he might have gone that you can think of, offhand?"
    She nodded. "The lake house. We have a house down by..." she waved her hand.
    "The lake?"
    She beamed at me, and I reminded myself to be patient.
    ---

    Monica, the Client, is a good segue into the third point, which is that Butcher cannot decide how much his background population believes in magic. After the introduction, where Butcher makes a big point that Harry is the only openly practicing wizard in the country and that no one takes him seriously and the majority of his office calls are cranks and people asking if he's "for real" (who trolls the phone book, honestly?), he has Monica the Client show up for help. She studiously avoids Harry's eyes, as does everyone else in the novel, because - as Butcher explains - "everyone knows" that if you look directly into a wizard's eyes, he can see into your soul. Wha-huh? Talk about whiplash. We went, in ten short pages, from "no one on earth believes in magic or knows that wizards exist" to "everyone on earth knows you can't look a wizard in the eye". Which is it? When Harry later uses magic to decimate a local juke-joint, it seems pretty odd that all those frightened patrons go back to being non-believers later in the series. Worst of all, when the Bad Guy is arrested in the end, Butcher assures us that he goes to jail, but for what? He's guilty of magically murdering two people, but in a system that doesn't acknowledge magic, it's unclear how to prosecute him for that. Butcher avoids this hurdle by, uh, not talking about it. Nice.

    Fourth, Butcher relies too heavily on coincidences to advance the story. This may seem like a small point in a magical detective novel, but it is a large one. A huge part of being a good writer is figuring out how to plausibly make the story move forward. Implausible lurches in the story are jarring and take the reader out of the narrative. For example, when walking around a lake house, looking for a missing person, Harry finds a film capsule on the ground. So far, so good. Several chapters later, Harry staggers, blind with guilt, to the closed crime scene of a recent murder. He flings himself on the floor of the dead woman's bedroom, weary and exhausted, and sleep overtakes him. In the morning, he stretches his arms tiredly and his hands connect with...a film capsule under the bed! Ha-HA! (The cops who secured the scene failed to recover the film capsule because, uh, it was under the bed. Cops don't look under beds.) Literally less than a second later, a Suspicious Character breaks into the apartment, looking for...his film capsule!! What a coincidence!

    An even more frustrating example of Bad Coincidence is that of the Love Potion Conceit. Butcher has decided that there needs to be a cool scene in the book where a woman accidentally takes a love potion at an inopportune time and hilarious hijinks ensue, and in theory I'm down with that. However, in order for this to work, Dresden has to whip up a love potion first, and Butcher simply isn't creative enough to come up with a good reason for Harry to do that. Harry can't make one to sell, because he doesn't do that (too principled). Harry can't make one to use for himself, because he doesn't do that either. So Butcher writes in a conceit so loopy that, well, follow me here: Harry can't put his potion recipes on a computer because computers break when wizards are around. So he uses a horny air spirit trapped in a skull to keep his recipes. Bob the Horny Air Spirit will only make potions in sets of threes, and he demands that the third potion of the day be a love potion because, well, he's horny and he likes to watch. So Harry is simply forced to make a love potion, while silently vowing not to use it, and ta-da!, there's the love potion for later misuse. An *entire chapter* is devoted to the creation of the love potion, and the whole set-up is so painfully obvious that it genuinely hurts to read it. The worse part is that Harry had a perfectly good reason to make a love potion all along - he's decided that the murderer he is looking for *must* be a woman because only a woman could kill someone so viciously (I warned you about his issues with women), so he should be making a love potion on purpose to protect himself from this horrible murderess. Only Butcher doesn't think of that because the murder isn't really a woman in the end, and he therefore forgets that Harry has already decided it must be so.

    Which brings me to my summation: Butcher just plainly cannot write well. "Storm Front" lacks from basic editing and there's no excuse for it. Little things jar the reader - like the fact that Bucher chose to use the verb "snarl" more than fourteen times in the final chapter (it was so distracting, we started keeping count). Butcher is seized with a weird obsessive need to describe clothing and ambient background details during tense fights. When Harry is at death's door because the wizard who is about to kill him just needs a moment more before he can utter the incantation to take Harry's life and Harry needs to burst in on him and interrupt the spell NOW.....Harry chooses instead to dig through nearby boxes to see what kinds of potions the Bad Guy has been making lately. The same stale descriptions and words are used, chapter after chapter, as the reader is beat about the head with "trained" Harry, "cute" Murphy, "breathy" Linda, and so forth.

    In the end, we ended up reading "Storm Front" aloud purely to make fun of how bad it was, MST3K style. Even that lost its appeal over time, though, as we became frustrated at how bad this novel truly is. I think with a good editor, "Storm Front" could have been quite solid, but I suppose we'll never know. Shame. ...more info
  • Perfect? No. Incredibly enjoyable? Yes.
    I really enjoyed this read, and I would definately recomend this book. The positives are many - the book is at times funny, at times suspenseful, at times action filled. It is paced fairly quickly and is an easy read.

    The central character, Harry Dresden, is well fleshed out by the time the book comes to a conclusion with many insights into a complex character, and yet much left unexplored for future novels.

    There is also much that is unique and original, a particular favorite of mine being the 'spirit' that serves as sort of a computer database for him, and lives inside of an old skull.

    The negatives? There are some. I won't give plot spoilers away, but it is not long before who the main bad guy is becomes quite apparent. This is compounded by the utter stupidity of Mr. Dresden in failing to realize this until the near end of the book, despite it's being obvious to any half-way clued in reader.

    Also, some of the secondary characters are a little two-dimensional. There is definate hope of them being more fleshed out in future installments (which I will be begining as soon as I finish this write up for that matter). The fact that Dresden himself is fairly well fleshed out by the end leaves the hope and promise that this will happen soon for the leading secondary characters.

    All-in-all then it was a very enjoyable read and one that should definately be picked up I would think. ...more info
  • Paranormal detective story with something for everyone
    Harry Dresden is a wizard who works as a sort of paranormal P.I. Although a little geeky, Harry has a strong sense of justice and an enjoyable tongue in cheek sense of humor. When a nervous wife hires Harry to find out what her frequently disappearing husband is up to, Harry happily takes the case because it means that he can pay his already late rent for the month. Little does he know that his investigation will open up not a can of worms but a can of scorpions along with conjuring a toad-like demon, commanded by an evil magic-wielding bad guy who wants to kill Harry.

    This series has been around for a while and has been adapted for a television series. I regret not reading it sooner. Harry is a likable character, and his sidekicks (such as Bob the talking skull and Mister the giant cat) inject a healthy dose of humor into the book. This book has it all - a mystery to solve, LOL comedy, hints of romance, and lots of "spell"-binding (ha ha) action. Highly recommended!...more info
  • Strong Start to What Looks to be a Strong Series
    Think Anita Blake. Think Anita Blake, without flowery description, without one-dimensional men in cheesy clothing, and without badly written sex. In other words, think early Anita Blake if it weren't written by a narcissist. If you've been disappointed with Anita Blake of late and are tired of reading badly written fantasy, Jim Butcher is definitely your man.

    It's a little bit King and a lotta bit Angel, but the first novel in Butcher's "The Dresden Files" (titled "Storm Front") still manages to be original. It's a story about a contemporary wizard trying to solve a murder to stop more people (and himself) from getting hurt. It's well written and you can tell that a lot of heart went into this and that Butcher really cares about the story. Dresden is a sympathetic character, but avoids becoming a "Mary Sue" like many supernatural book series protagonists tend to do, because no matter how nice and down to earth the guy is, he's extremely flawed. He's reckless, hardheaded, can be a bit sexist, and works a lot off of hunches. He's a very strong lead, and has easily grown on me enough that I'm planning on buying the entire series.

    "Storm Front" is a great first novel from Butcher, though--like most, if not all, firsts--it's not perfect. The first half of the book felt like Dresden was simply meeting a new character for each chapter. To be sure, that did certainly give the mystery of the book a lot more to work with, but it also felt like Butcher was just stacking up plot points/characters without even looking back to see what he had already established. The book got really good in the middle, though I also thought the build-up to the climax (Dresden driving to and entering the Big Bad's house) took way too long and severely cut down on the momentum Butcher had built up so nicely in previous chapters.

    But all in all, the good stuff in this book far outweighs the flaws. If you've been looking for a strong supernatural series that's actually worth reading, look no further than "The Dresden Files."

    8/10...more info
  • Introducing Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden
    Harry Dresden makes a living (just barely) as a free lance consultant to the Chicago Police Department and by taking a few private cases on the side. Officially the Chicago PD has him listed as a psychic but his ad in the Yellow Pages states his true vocation - Wizard. The Chicago that Harry inhabits is just a half step away from the one the rest of us know, at least we hope it is. In Harry's Chicago at least a few people are aware that there are things beyond the usual mortal realm, that vampires, demons and all the other supernatural creatures are not the stuff of legend and horror stories but are all too real.

    Harry had begun studying Magic early and was a fairly accomplished Wizard but along the way he had also managed to incur the wrath of the White Council, the governing body of the Nevernever and was on probation. As Harry tried to juggle both a private case and a police consultation, both jobs were needed to pay the overdue rent, Harry found himself being hampered on every turn by his lack of status with the White Council. In true detective story fashion though the two cases were found to overlap as Harry uncovered the true natures of the crimes. After a few harrowing brushes with death Harry managed to emerge victorious and vindicated.

    This is the first in the DRESDEN FILES series of books that feature Wizard Harry Dresden. As with most first books in a series much time is spend introducing the characters and setting and providing the backstory. Butcher hints at Harry's past but we are not given all of the details which leaves this reader at least eager to read more of the series. ...more info
  • Surprisingly good
    I was apprehensive at first, several of my friends love this series but their descriptions didn't sound that appealing. They gave me the first copy and I must say that 1/4 of the way through the book I was totally hooked. Some parts of the mystery were a bit predictable, I figured out what was going on early in the story, but even still it was an entertaining and exciting ride all the way through. I quickly went out and bought the next 2 books in the series as soon as I finished. ...more info
  • Harry Potter meets Nick Danger
    Harry Potter meets Nick Danger - magic, bumbling detective. An OK, quick read, better than most of the garbage on TV ......more info
  • Worth it
    I would have to say this was pretty good. I am reading all of The Dresden files from the start . I read the latest one and I needed to see just how it all started and to see what really happened. Now onto book two. ...more info
  • Another Dresden Fan!
    I found this series after reading everything Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, etc... had written. For some reason, I thought this series was more of a "guy" series, though why on earth I thought that, I can't say. I was drawn to it when I got sick of the Anita Blake series losing plot for porn, and wanted something more richly written with great characters, and a lot of books to get into, and this was perfect.
    Great characters, interesting and imaginative plots, and excellent writing- best of all, it seems each successive novel seems to get better. So buy it, buy them all- you really won't be disappointed! ...more info
  • Older Harry Potter With Cooler Attitude And Smarter Mouth
    Two things got me interested in this series a friend at work was telling me about these novels and I saw some of the Dresden files t.v. show both got me to buy the first novel and I have not been disappointed with that decision.The action is great as well as the storyline,characters,and of course the magical developments in the stories. Harry Dresden to me is what Harry Potter should be like when he grows up. Even Though I've just finished the first book I have already ordered the rest of the series up to book ten and with the good discount I've gotten on Amazon it was a pretty good price considering that for eight books at the store would cost about $64.00 I paid $45.00 on Amazon. So I say to viewers if you're interested check out the first book or check out the show
    and decide for yourself if you want to get the rest of this great story-saga. ...more info
  • Ripped through the pages...
    This was such a fun book. It is not perfect, however leaves you rooting for our protagonist, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden.


    This was such a fast read for me (I would rip through 20 pages and be like, OH WOW, what time is it?) My only complaint is the final chapter, an epilogue of sorts, that felt out of tone with the descriptive, beautiful language of the rest of the novel. It felt like it ramped up to a climax, delivered, but then fell off the cliff of story-telling. I wished I knew what happened to the people a little more (although there is book 2)

    If you are looking for a great sci-fi story, including Vampires, Wizards, Demons, and talking skulls, this is a great book that will have you thinking and guessing right up until the end. You won't want to miss a single page of the action. So much fun. Enjoy!...more info
  • What's not to love about Harry Dresden?
    Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques

    Harry Dresden is probably the only publicly practicing wizard out there with an ad in the phone book. Even so, money is scarce and he needs a job. His sometime consulting work for the Chicago PD just doesn't quite cut it.

    When a young woman comes to him for help in finding her husband, Harry gets a lot more than he bargained for, especially when LT Karrin Murphy at the PD calls him in to help with a pair of gruesome murders. As Harry investigates, he begins to find connections between the two cases they make him suspect that his client's missing husband is practicing sorcery of the most dangerous kind, and now he wants Harry dead.

    Storm Front is a great start to the Dresden Files series. Action starts on page one and carries us through at an unceasing pace until we reach the conclusion. We have a little bit of everything here. There's plenty of mystery in Harry's search for a missing man practicing black magic and the LT Murphy's case trying to find the perpetrator of horrific murders. We even have a run with the mob and a brush with death at the fangs of a rather angry and gorgeous-in-female-human-form vampire. There is still even more unfolding events and character introductions to keep our interest. How all of these details fit together provides a very compelling thrill ride.

    What's not to love about Harry Dresden? He's an average guy who just happens to be a wizard. He has his flaws and he often fumbles his way through his cases, often finding success in rather unlikely ways. He has his dark side, for which he is now on probation with the council overseeing all wizards, as a result of giving into his desire for revenge and using dark magic to get it. He struggles to pay the rent and buy groceries just like so many of us. And he isn't exactly the most debonair of men when it comes to relationships with women.

    I've been wanting to try the Dresden Files for a long time and just never got around to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the short lived television series so I was familiar with the story in Storm Front. One of the episodes was based on it, though it was changed a bit to fit in the time frame allotted for the show. I love Harry and his acquaintances from all across the board between straitlaced and serious police detectives to deadly vampires, a skull with an attitude and all manner of characters.

    James Marsters does a brilliant job performing Storm Front. His voice is perfect for Harry with his dark and dry humor and he does just as well portraying all of the roles. He has an excellent sense of timing in his reading, knowing just how to string out his words or speed them up to perfectly fit the mood of the scene. I look forward to trying more audio books in the series, especially if Marsters continues to do as wonderful a job as he did here.

    ? Kelley A. Hartsell, May 2008. All rights reserved....more info
  • Wizard in the Yellow Pages
    Compelling action and ironic humor carry the reader into this fun novel and keep the pages turning over steadily. The author has taken a risk by using contemporary Chicago as the backdrop, but Harry Dresden, the hero, has such true Midwestern grit that he belongs in the Windy City.

    Harry is under a kind of magical probation by the White Council, but he's one of the good guys. When the police find a case of out and out murder by black magic, Harry gets called in as a consultant. On the same day, a wife hires him to search for her missing husband.

    Initially, I had some skepticism but Harry won me over because he has a terrible problem with modern technology: it won't work around or for him. So he has to take the stairs because elevators fail; he misses phone calls or can't hear his caller because of problems on the line...and his car, an ancient VW Beetle is well known to his mechanic. That, more than Harry's theatrical battles with demons, convinced me he was a real wizard. We've all had lives like that. ...more info
  • A little bit of Sherlock Holmes, Gandalf, and House M.D. rolled into one!
    Overall a very good read. The characters have depth, detail, and flaws that make them all uniquely human. Harry Dresden is Sherlock Holmes, Gandalf, and House M.D. all in one. Very entertaining!...more info
  • A solid debut, but with plenty of room for improvement
    Over the past decade, The Dresden Files has turned into one of the big success stories of the urban fantasy genre. Set in modern-day Chicago, it follows the fortunes of Harry Dresden, a wizard-for-hire who offers his services to those in need (and who preferably can pay him). Mixing up elements of the supernatural with a detective story format, the series has proven successful on both sides of the Atlantic with ten further books in the series published and a short-lived TV adaption proving a cult hit a couple of years back. Storm Front is the first novel in the series.

    The perpetually cash-strapped Harry Dresden is given some financial relief when two cases land on his desk at the same time. A woman is searching for her husband, who has gone missing after becoming fascinated by the use of magic. Meanwhile, the police have called on Dresden's aid after two people are found dead in an apartment, their hearts apparently remotely exploded by magical means. It isn't long before Dresden is up to his neck in trouble, as the two cases start overlapping with the interests of the Mafia and Dresden's own unorthodox approach soon lands him in trouble with the guardians of magic, the White Council.

    Storm Front is a decent debut novel. The plot clips along at a fair old pace, and as a mystery it's fairly well plotted and laid out. The characters are strong, with Harry making for an engaging protagonist and his circle of friends, allies and enemies all being an interesting bunch. There isn't a lot of 'weight' to the novel, and it feels a bit on the slight side, but there's much fun to be had here.

    However, I wasn't too impressed by the Luddite diatribe we get no less than three pages in, in which all of the evils of the world are blamed on technology and progress. Yeah, it makes sense for Dresden to have those views as a wizard who can't use technology (his magical field causes computers and other electrically-powered items to fritz out around him), but it was a bit too preachy too early in the book and left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth. Luckily this was forgotten within a few chapters as the story picked up and really got going. There are some other problems, though. The 'mystery' is completely solvable by the reader within the first fifty pages (you may be even be able to work it out from the plot synopsis on the back of the book), so waiting for Harry to catch up to where you are can be a bit mildly frustrating. The book is also inconsistent in its worldbuilding: after spending the first chapter or so telling us that no-one believes in magic and most of Harry's callers are pranksters thinking he's a nutter, we then learn that the police keep him on a retainer to investigate crimes and even average people on the street know not to look a wizard in the eye for too long, which seems self-contradicting. There's also the nagging feeling that you've seen this story before, with a few names and roles swapped around, on Angel. But, despite these problems (all of them hallmarks of a first time writer), the book is still reasonably fun to read. Butcher has an easy, approachable and undemanding prose style and after Dresden spends most of the book being passive and reactive to events, watching him go all Takeshi Kovacs at the end is a treat.

    Storm Front (***) is a fun and breezy novel that is more of a light snack than a full meal, but still an enjoyable way of passing the time. I'll be checking out the remaining books in the series in the near future. The book is available from Orbit in the UK and Roc in the USA. A special limited edition from Subterranean Press came out a while ago and you may still be able to track down some copies online....more info
  • A decent start to a series I've heard a lot about...
    I'd heard a lot about the Dresden Files from friends who suggested it as an alternate to urban fantasy that went from 'mediocre' to 'What the bloody hell happened to the books?!'.
    I didn't know what to expect picking it up, but having just finished reading it, I enjoyed Dresden a lot. Sure, he's a bit old-fashioned and probably slightly chauvanistic in his own way, but Harry was a character I could relate to (considering I'm female), and I enjoyed reading a character who stuck to his morals and tried to do what he felt was right, even if it got people pissed off at him in the process. Sure, it wasn't the best book for a first, but Jim Butcher has a lot of promise in developing Harry's world, like our own, and yet, different, so I look forward to the next book.
    Safe to say, I definitely consider Storm Front a keeper to be re-read and enjoyed....more info