Okay, so the first of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Storm Front.
What to say, what to say...
I guess I'll start with the basics - like this book was recOkay, so the first of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Storm Front.
What to say, what to say...
I guess I'll start with the basics - like this book was recommended to me by a friend from work who graciously loaned me the entire series (my eyes goggled when he handed me thirteen books!), raving about how good it is and gushing about how there is still seven amazing books to come in the series.
Let me just say, either me and my friend have ENTIRELY different tastes and perspectives on what constitutes an amazing literary piece of work, or he's been severely deprived of good literature for the better part of his short life.
Now this is not to say that I am about to condemn the book and say that it never should have been written because it's a load of shit and a waste of ink and pages. It wasn't that bad. On the contrary, there were a few parts I enjoyed, some elements that I could give the thumbs up, and some writing conventions that Mr. Butcher managed to pull off rather well.
What got me so annoyed with the story was more the fact that Butcher created the character Harry Dresden, wizard, and goes about proclaiming Harry to be quite the efficient wizard and pretty competent in his filed of work - magic.
Yet throughout the story Harry fumbles and fumbles again, and I never did get to see him perform any 'wow factor' magic. He continuously comments on his stellar abilities, but then contradicts such statements by getting himself into trouble and being unable to save himself using magic because doing so would only kill him in the process.
I have a feeling I'm starting to babble and what may make perfect sense to me in my head probably isn't coming across very well in my review.
So again, back to basics:
Harry Dresden: A well thought out character with some interesting quirks and witty remarks, but very disappointing that he did not deliver as a wizard. I did like the fact that he was rather clumsy and gawky and bordered on being socially awkward - it was a nice change, having a main male protagonist NOT be some drop dead gorgeous badass capable of killing several someones with his bare hands who is just a hit with the ladies. Harry was quite the opposite, and the personal development of his character had me laughing out loud in places and kept me interested enough to read the entire book.
Bob: The talking skull was a hoot and provided quite a bit of comical relief. I did think he was a bit unnecessary to the plot and story as a whole, but then again, Butcher did a fine job of sneaking him into the book without me as a reder going "What the hell is a talking skull doing in this book taking up 30 odd pages when he doesn't need to be!?" so that was definitely a bonus.
Murphy: Always nice to see a kick ass chick acting as a police investigator and heading up a paranormal division. Murphy was just the right amount of tough cop, and I like that Butcher didn't exclude any and all feminine qualities to her character, otherwise I wouldn't have believed in her as much as I did.
The plot: Entirely too predictable, but then again it is extremely hard to find a plot nowadays that drives you crazy with not knowing what's going to happen next. Some parts felt a bit vague towards the end too, but not so much that I got annoyed with it and tossed to book (in this case a bad idea considering it's not actually mine!) but I still would have liked better explanations for a couple things - can't remember what off the top of my head though!
The most annoying part of the book was the way it wrapped up. I don't know why but it really really bugged me that in one paragraph Harry tied up all the loose ends neat as you please and pretty much said see ya later! It felt rushed, and more like a cop out than an actual ending, like Butcher was in too much of a hurry and was probably thinking - "Woohoo, I've hit 300 pages, bad guy's been dealt with, let's just throw the other sub plots together and wrap those up and I'll chuck this to the editor!"
Sadly I will be reading the rest of the series because once I start something I have to see it through to the end.
I do hope that it improves drastically, because while I was able to read this from beginning to end, it wasn't really holding my interest....more
What to say, what to say? While I absolutely idolise Kenyon and her God given talent for creating a world I desperately want to be a part of, I’m not sWhat to say, what to say? While I absolutely idolise Kenyon and her God given talent for creating a world I desperately want to be a part of, I’m not so sure I loved Infamous as much as I should have.
There were definitely some parts in the story that left me baffled and turning back pages to see if I’d somehow missed a chunk of it. But no, I’d just stumbled across a piece where it was so jumpy and sketchy it took a few seconds to make sense of everything.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s break it down a bit, shall we?
PLOT Weird. Very, very weird. Like, I get the overall goal and what they were trying to accomplish, but it just played out a bit weird. One second I thought Grim was going to teach Nick silkspeech, but after one short lesson we never heard from Grim again until the very end. Then I thought the focus would be on the surfacing material at the school, but again, the story jumped from that to keeping Nick out of the Nether Realm (Did I get that right?) but oopsie-daisy, he end sup there anyway. There was no explanation on what the Fringe Realm Nekoda kept dragging him into was which was disappointing. There was also no real transition from Nick in hospital to Nick being drugged by the nurse/Adarian in disguise to Nick back in the Nether Real to Nick four days later alive and healthy. I mean, call me highly suspicious, but wouldn’t Acheron have been the least bit aware of what’s going on? The guy is supposed to be ALL POWERFUL AND ALL SEEING! He couldn’t even make out a demon possessing a nurse to drug a teenage boy to lure him back to the Nether? And after all the shit went down in the Nether and Nick returns and we MISS four days of his life, it’s just business as usual.. It really felt like I was missing a chunk of the story and I even had to glance down at the page numbers to see if they were still counting upwards correctly.
The ending happened way to fast, and was a bit muddled. Things were brushed over, almost like Kenyon was in a hurry to finish it. More detail and explanation would have been great, even if the story did end at 468 pages.
The suspenseful ending: Nice touch! Talk about getting a girl eager for the next instalment. How’s Nick gonna react? Will he believe death? Will he confront her? Ooooh, it’s doing my head in thinking about it!
Nick Gautier: In the Dark Hunter series Nick was one of my favourite characters - until he went over to the Dark Side that is - and it’s easy to see how Nick in his own series is just like Pre-Dark-Side Nick from the DH series. Fifteen years old, he has all the normal worries of a teenage boy, trying to please his girlfriend, stay on his mom’s good side, and get through high school without being clobbered to death by the bullies. His utter devotion to his mother had me going “awww” throughout the series. That boy would do anything to keep his mama happy, even if it meant ending up in the hospital with a bashed in face (yes, it totally happened and it was ALL her fault! Sorry Cherice, but you told the boy not to fight and as a result he let some little snot beat him to within an inch of his life with a plank of wood!) I liked that the Lord of Sarcasm also had a mature side where he rationally and calmly explained his side of things to his mother - who was so stubborn about her opinions it would take nothing less than a severe concussion followed by an extreme case of amnesia to sway her in her opinions and beliefs.
And that brings us to Cherice:
Mixed feelings. I understood her need to be stern with Nick, but she did tend to overreact, and despite her insistence that Nick was a good boy, anytime something went wrong and Nick was a suspect, she immediately thought the worst of him and was quick to punish him for things he hadn’t actually done. The glimpse into the past that showed us how close she was to taking the easy way out endeared her to me, simply because most fourteen year old girls would have jumped at the opportunity to relieve themselves of an 18year burden and Cherice showed she had the backbone to take a horrible situation and make the most of it, even if it meant giving up a certain lifestyle.
Nekoda and Caleb: Kody and Caleb were great throughout the book, especially Caleb and his unfailing loyalty to Nick. I mean, I know he supposedly has ulterior motives and no choice but to watch Nick’s back, but I believe Caleb has come to like Nick more than he should and would gladly - okay well not quite gladly, more like grumbling and moaning about what an idiot Nick is - follow him to battle. I love how Caleb becomes all badass demon and slaughters everything trying to get at Nick, but also knows when to step back and let Nick learn for himself. Kody’s a bit of an enigma. I like her, but I don’t. And her situation isn’t quite black and white, nor is it clear. I know the basics of what she’s doing in Nick’s life, but I’m yet to find a clear definition of who and what she is, and who or what she’s working for. Her reluctance to answer any of Nick’s questions also grates on my last nerve - whenever he gets close to finding something out and she shuts down I’m like, “Nooo! I just wanna know!!”
The Dark Hunters: All I can say is, IT IS SO UNFAIR THAT THEY ONLY APPEARED FOR LIKE, TEN SECONDS! When I saw Ash’s name, I was like *hyperventilate, SQUEEE, hyperventilate* Him and Kyrian definitely needed more spotlight time. Oooh, but Ash and Kyrian being all badass when Adarian was in Nick’s hospital room was O for OOORSUUM!!!
My favourite line out of the entire book had to come from Bane. “Yes. The baddest ass in all the universe is attacking us with big giant bugs. Help me, I’m being clobbered by a flea. Quick, Malphas, fetch the Raid.”