4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
Ace/Roc Books, April 1, 2000
I always like talking about what inspired me to read a certain book and for this particular novel it was my mother. She read Jim Butcher’s Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) many years ago. She told me to read it, but I was too focused on being “cool” so, ya know, I got a little behind in my fantasy reads.
The book was also turned into a show on the SciFi Channel (now SyFy) for one season, of which I also didn’t watch, but Paul Blackthorn is the only person I could imagine as the main character, Harry Dresden (see below).
The first novel in the Dresden Files series introduces readers to Harry Dresden, a Wizard and private investigator. He works as a consultant for the Chicago Police Department on unusual crimes that might be explained by magic (since it’s known by the general population that magic exists, as well as vampires, demons, and other weird things). He works with a tough detective, Lt. Karrin Murphy. She calls him onto a case where a couple’s hearts literally burst out of them from the inside out. The magic is very advanced and the cops eventually suspect Dresden of the crime, which also raises the suspicious of the magical White Council, plus Dresden’s keeper Morgan. It doesn’t take long for Dresden to get himself caught up in lies, but by the end he clears his name.
What I enjoyed most about Storm Front was the voice of Dresden, he has a sense of humor that I rarely see in fantasy books. Butcher doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. But also, I found my self getting into the narrative very easily and could pick up the action at any time. There’s a problem when you read many books about magic at one time, you start to feel magical yourself–that happened with me (get a grip, Heather!). It’s important for writers to give the reader a place to escape, so props to Jim Butcher for that accomplishment. I never felt the heaviness or excruciating detail that other fantasy novels have (i.e. A Song of Fire and Ice). It read very quickly, like the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. The most humorous scene was when Harry had accidentally booked two dates on the same night, but then a demon comes to his home to kill him as he’s getting out of the shower so he’s trying to protect one of the women, the first to arrive, while running around in a towel. He ends up outside in a storm, naked, with his magic rod pointed toward the clouds and hands toward the demon, using the storm’s power to kill the demon. Butcher painted such a vivid and graphic picture. O_O
There was a few moments that could have been explained better, like Harry’s past with the White Council. I felt like there was more there that was left out (probably for other books), but it felt like there was some history that we needed–we don’t fully understand the importance or severity of the Council in Dresden’s eyes. Also, the writing was kind of repetitive.
There’s a place for both seriousness and humor in fantasy writing, and I know it’s needed. This is a FUN read. I’m glad I read this novel, sorry it took so long, mom.