Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front

 

Book one in the Dresden Files series: Published April 2000

I own a used copy of this book

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Harry Dresden — Wizard Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, 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 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 black 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.

 

My Review:

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It is the first published work by a popular author, so score on checking off one of my challenge requirements, but it felt like a first novel of an author trying to work out some of the kinks.  So while I might not be as kind in this review as some long-standing fans, and I know there are many out there… I am going to give this series a few books to find its voice, because I do see the potential here.

So lets start sifting through my thoughts and see if I can figure out what sort of rating I want to give this book.  The positive up first and the over all impression is this was a fun read.  It had that good vs evil going for it that I enjoy.  Reminded me a lot of some of my other favorite authors and series: Kim Harrison’s The Hollows, Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski, and Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires.  It also reminded me a bit of the recently canceled Forever TV series and dare I even confess it the hollow deck Star Trek episodes where Picard plays a detective Dixon Hill.  Alright now that I have unabashedly outed myself as a total geek, lets move on.  I enjoyed running around Chicago with this magical private eye as he sorted out all the puzzle pieces and went after the bad guy to save the day.  No matter who all tried to stop him, he kept at it and didn’t just sit back and say to hell with you all it’s not my problem. Harry is a great guy, a bit on the geeky side himself, but I’ll have more on that in a minute.   The supporting cast was alright, comments about the women to come, but in general I like the neighborhood Harry lived in, the people he interacted with.  I especially found the spirit and Mister a lot of fun and enjoyed what they added to the story. I am torn on what I think of Morgan,  I have a feeling he will be around for a while, but I think he might be an interesting antagonist for Harry.  Another plus for me is this world of magic felt more science based than religious based.  There might of be some faith like principles, but the crafting of magic felt more alchemy based.    Like I said this world has potential and I see why it has such a loyal following.

Now on to the less than flattering thoughts on the story.  I’ve seen most of the really negative reviews tend to dwell on one fact.  Harry is a misogynist.  Now I am going to disagree and agree on this.  Yes Harry’s thought on women are pretty sexist at times and there wasn’t a woman in this story that he didn’t find cute or attractive is some shy way.  I think it is a little more of a juvenile attitude toward women than a sexist one.  Harry approaches woman like a 12-year-old geeky boy.  He is uncomfortable with his and their sexuality, or the author is, and it led to all sorts of odd and sexist interactions.  The one “date” scene is just cringe worthy and I wish it had been left out.  It  quite honestly felt like it was the fantasy or wet dream of every socially awkward geeky boy on the planet.  It wasn’t needed and I think the story would have been stronger without it.  I did like how the lead detective he deals with was a strong female, but again half the time he is referencing her appearance, sexuality or some other gender based stereotype.  Just let her be a strong female detective, and either make her a love interest or a professional partner that is Harry’s equal.  After all Harry can’t be romantically interested in every single woman he comes across.  It leads to problems like people thinking your main character is misogynist.  There were some other eye roll moments in the plot, some situations that felt a little Star Wars and its force inspired…

Not awful, but not great at times.  Still I’m intrigued and will give this series a few books before I make up my mind on it as a whole.  I’m going to give Harry a chance to grow a bit before I give up on him.

My Rating: 3 Stars

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11 thoughts on “Storm Front by Jim Butcher

  1. lol, nice review! Im a longtime fan of the series and I have to say that they do become much stronger as the go on. Things really pick up in book 3 and then again in book 5 onwards. I never really thought of him as being misogynist, but you are right, especially the first book or two can definitely come across that way. Later books deal a lot less with Harry’s romantic interests, but there are always attractive women in each book. I’ve always thought of him more as chivalrous and a lover of women, than as a misogynist though. I think he just sees the beauty in women, which is why each one is described as beautiful! But through out the series Murphy is a total and complete bada** and he never treats her as anything less than competent and capable, so I do think later books have a bit less of the misogynist feel to it!

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    • Thanks! I’m glad I didn’t offend a longtime fan. whew! I kept reading that word, misogynist, in other one star reviews. Personally I think it might be a tad harsh. It is more like he is old-fashion in his thinking. Not that that can’t run misogynistic, but I get that it is a characteristic for Harry. I keep hearing that it gets better and that is the main reason I’m going to hold on for a few books. I kind of figured there would be an attractive damsel featured in each book, but in the first one he seemed to become infatuated with each female that walked onto the page. Thanks for the comment! I’m looking forward to the next book even more. Cheers!

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      • Lol no you are right, he totally is focused on the ladies lol And everything he does is almost always to save a woman. Id never really thought about it before. But at least the series has women who are capable or even villainous in addition to just damsels in distress so it evens out a bit lol And through out the series other characters do often remark on him being a sucker for damsels in distress so I guess at least the author is aware of the trend :) Now I keep thinking back to all the books and I can’t think of a single one that didn’t involve a woman in some way lol you are so right

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  2. I’m also on the fence about the series itself, though I do find that I enjoyed reading the graphic novels of Dresden much better. That’s how I’ve been reading the second book anyway, lol. Will probably try to pick up the next books in the series if only to add quicker reads to my TBR. (I’m swamped with thick ones! *sobs*)

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    • I’ll have to check into the graphic novels, it would be interesting to see if that makes the first book more enjoyable for me. Not that I didn’t like it, but like you I’m on the fence. Might make for a fun compare and contrast review between the two formats. Oy I need some quick reads too, I sick of being behind. Next year I’m thinking no Goodreads challenge at all.

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      • Haha I’m actually doing well on my goodreads goal, but horrid on all my other reading challenges! My fault entirely though, I keep picking books up depending on my mood…

        I’m not sure if they have a graphic novel for stormfront (they might, I haven’t checked), but I know Fool Moon is a graphic novel and a few other Dresden shorts that are exclusive to the graphic novel medium. They’re worth a try, certainly, even if you only like to look at pretty pictures of werewolves and magic and stuff XD

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      • I’ve decided to make the other two challenges I’m doing besides Goodreads a multi-year goal. Mainly I’m just going to try and cross everything off eventually, because it isn’t going to happen this year. What is it about January and making unreasonable commitments…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This was one of the books I was looking at just last night when deciding on a next read. I’ve had it in my pile for quite some time. I often find first novels in a series not as enjoyable/good/whatever as the author is setting up the characters and as I am getting to know them and to figure out which ones will be continuing. So I am with you in almost always proceeding to a second and sometimes a third book if I generally like the first one.

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    • This was the same problem I had with the Chicagoland Vampires series and now it is one of my favorites. This one was good and I hope you enjoy it too, just needs a few books to iron out the rough spots and find its voice.

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