Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Dresden Files # 1
Publisher: ROC Fantasy, Penguin Group
Number of pages: 322
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked
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.
* * *
Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire, and you’d think that people would start to take him seriously with all the weird things happening. But no. He gets more prank calls than jobs, and he needs money to pay the bills, fast. It was just timely that he got called to the Chicago Police Department to help with a gruesome double murder case that reeks of black magic, and a woman comes to him to ask his help to find her missing husband. As Harry works on the cases, he encounters the city mafia, bribes a fairy to give information, battles an acid-spitting demon and run around with zero sleep, all the while rushing to catch the culprit before someone else — including him — gets killed.
You know, all in a day’s work.
Storm Front is one of those books that I would never have noticed or ever picked up, if not for some bookish friends who featured it on their blogs or talked about them because it was their favorite series. I hardly peruse the science fiction/adult fantasy shelves in the bookstores because frankly, the covers intimidate me and I wasn’t one to do an impulse buy on a genre that I still don’t know well. So I really wouldn’t have discovered Jim Butcher if it weren’t for these friends who posted about him online (and they say book blogs don’t help book sales — huh?). It took me a while before I finally found a copy of the first book in Fully Booked, but when I finally did, I used it as a bribe so I can reach a specific word count in my NaNoWriMo 2010 novel. It worked, but obviously, it took me a while to finally get to it.
Storm Front is fun. Most of the fun comes from Harry Dresden himself. Jadedness and grumpiness aside, Harry’s sarcastic quips were laugh out loud funny, and I found myself chuckling at his lines in the book. Most of Harry’s bluffs were really just that — bluffs. This self-preservation act makes him seem like a total jerk sometimes, but in truth, he was an old-fashioned guy who just wants to do the right thing. I think I liked him the moment he said this:
I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers – all that sort of thing. (p.12)
I’m an old-fashioned girl, what can I say.
The story is very straightforward murder mystery. While it wasn’t absolutely obvious from the start who did it and why they did it, I eventually figured it out, sometimes even a step ahead of Harry. Not that that is bad — I liked that it wasn’t hard to put things together and it was more exciting to see everything unfold when you know you’ve figured out whodunnit. I liked how everything unfolded in Storm Front, big bugs and crazy drugs and all. It’s not really groundbreaking as far as I’m concerned, but it’s fun and fun reading is always good. :)
I really enjoyed reading Storm Front. I’m not sure if I am willing to invest on the next books yet (since there are 10 other books, and there’s no sign of it ending anytime soon), but I know I can always borrow if I feel like continuing Harry Dresden’s adventures. ;) Besides, I want to know what happens to Dresden and his female cop friend Murphy. Hee. :P So if you’re in the mood for some fun murder mystery with a dash of fantasy (or if you think some of the popular urban fantasy books — ex. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews — seem a little intimidating), go pick up the Dresden Files.
And speaking of other urban fantasy novels…Harry Dresden is often likened as the male Kate Daniels, and we all know how much I love that character. It may be too early to say for me since I’ve only read the first book, but I don’t see much resemblance yet, as far as being awesomely kick-ass is concerned. I am curious to how they’d fare if they get into a crossover, though. ;) Hm, I wonder.