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Storm Front (Dresden Files) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2000
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Praise for the Dresden Files
“Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer starring Philip Marlowe.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Tanya Huff will love this series.”—Midwest Book Review
“Superlative.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“One of the most enjoyable marriages of the fantasy and mystery genres on the shelves.”—Cinescape
“Butcher...spins an excellent noirish detective yarn in a well-crafted, supernaturally-charged setting. The supporting cast is again fantastic, and Harry’s wit continues to fly in the face of a peril-fraught plot.”—Booklist (starred review)
“What’s not to like about this series?...It takes the best elements of urban fantasy, mixes it with some good old-fashioned noir mystery, tosses in a dash of romance and a lot of high-octane action, shakes, stirs, and serves.”—SF Site
“A tricky plot complete with against-the-clock pacing, firefights, explosions, and plenty of magic. Longtime series fans as well as newcomers drawn by the SciFi Channel’s TV series based on the novels should find this supernatural mystery a real winner.”—Library Journal
“What would you get if you crossed Spenser with Merlin? Probably you would come up with someone very like Harry Dresden, wizard, tough guy and star of [the Dresden Files].”—The Washington Times
About the Author
A martial arts enthusiast whose résumé includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives mostly inside his own head so that he can write down the conversation of his imaginary friends, but his head can generally be found in Independence, Missouri. Jim is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera novels, and the Cinder Spires series, which began with The Aeronaut’s Windlass.
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Although Butcher has appeared on my “recommended list” from Amazon for quite some time now, this is the first thing from him that I’ve read. I like the Dresden character, although in this first episode at least, I felt that he was a bit underdeveloped. I’ve read other authors that I think could have done a more thorough job of playing up his understated personality and wit. I feel sure that Butcher progressed as an author as he continued the series, so I won’t hold this one against him too much. Dresden’s character aside, I thought the pacing of the book was fine and the overall plot was pretty well thought out and was well presented. I have two more serious issues with the book. First, it was too predictable. If I’m going to invest my time and my hard earned money on a book, I’d like to be surprised sometime. I’d like to have the author throw me a curve every now and then, and I’d like to believe that the main character is in some real danger. None of this happened in the book. There was never a moment where I felt like Butcher had caught me off guard, never a moment that I was really surprised, and never a moment where I really felt that Dresden was in over his head. My second big gripe with this book is the price. It’s ludicrous to charge ten dollars for a relatively short, Kindle edition, version of a book that’s been out on the market for fifteen years. The only reason I went ahead with the purchase was because a friend of mine really enjoys the series and kept asking me to give it a try. Had it not been for that, I never would have paid so much for this book.
All in all, the first book in “The Dresden Files” is pretty pedestrian. No twists, no turns, no danger. The book is not bad, but it’s nothing spectacular or amazing either – very middle of the road. I would like to read more into the series to see how Butcher developed as an author and to see what he did with Harry’s character, but with over a dozen stories in the series now, and at a cost of ten bucks a piece I just don’t know that I can justify it. There are a lot of other books out there that are more competitively priced and interest me more.
I can see why fans find this urban fantasy series so addictive. It's not that Jim Butcher's writing blew me out of the water (although it is very good), or that the mystery was an enigma (it was obvious who the bad guy was early on), but it's because the hero, Harry Dresden, is such a compelling guy. He's a grumpy, paranoid, honorable, nerdy wizard, who has no confidence with women and rotten luck unless his life is on the line. Harry is an unenviable loser 99 percent of the time - just like the rest of us - except he gets these flashes of brilliance and power that turn him into a complete baddie, like watching lightening strike. Those are the moments when we mortals get a vicarious taste of his magic, and we'll always want more.
Like all good urban fantasy protagonists, Harry is a loner, with no parents, no lover, and few friends. I can see Mr. Butcher setting up a magical safety net though, in characters like Bob, the horny talking skull, and Toot, the pizza-loving faery. Given how many novels are in this series already, I imagine that this world becomes rich with character-driven sidekicks and enemies. It's a fun place to visit, and furthermore, Harry Dresden keeps his sense of humor even in dire straights. This story has to have one of the all-time worst first date scenes ever, and I enjoyed how it played out. Only Harry could end up buck naked with a beautiful women under worse circumstances.
Yep, highly recommended for UF fans, and I'm already hunting around for book two, Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, Book 2).