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 rec...moreOkay, 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.(less)
Well, I had high expectations for this book, which is maybe why it ended up only being two stars. All I can say is, I was very disappointed once I reac...moreWell, I had high expectations for this book, which is maybe why it ended up only being two stars. All I can say is, I was very disappointed once I reached the end and had to talk myself into continuing the series.
The book follows CIA operatives Jaz Parks and Vayl on their quest to rid the world of high class terrorists. Along the way they come across a couple of complications and have to factor in the resurrection of a soul eating goddess hell bent on unleashing the laboratory made Red Plague into the world to dwindle the population. Sounds like a promising plot, full of action scenes where two kick ass agents kick some major butt to ultimately save the day, right? That's what I thought. Instead I got a whiney heroine, who at the best of times managed to muster up some sort of self preservation long enough to get herself out of a sticky situation, a renowned, lengedary vampire (Vayl) whose reputation did not precede him but rather made him out to be more than he actually was, a plot that had so much irrelevant and distracting information thrown into it I could hardly concentrate, and a writing style that was just as uneasy to follow.
In the beginning of the story Jaz makes herself and Vayl out to be two of the best agents in the CIA. Having finished the first book, I am still wondering when their deadly skills and competence for the job will kick in. At the best of times they were just above average - ertainly nothing to write home about. Vayl, for all his centuries old expertise in the area of assassination and living in general, was a bit of a let down. His character was at odds with how Jaz described him. She almost seemed to worship him and his godike status. For a kick ass vampire, he didn't do much at all in the story from beginning to end. Jaz's charcter was another disappointment. I was excited to read about a CIA operativ who was a woman and one of the best in the industry. But if that is truly a taste of what the best are capable of, I feel sorry for American's. Like I said before, she was whiney, and when she wasn't whiney, she was on the verge of blacking out from panic, from nerves, from the reminder of bad memories. Seriously, the girl was a danger to herelf and others more than a help. I found it hard to reconcile her being terrified of every little thing with the statements she was making about how tough she was and how much of a killer she was.
One thing that almost had me returning the book to the library unfinished was the amount of unnecessary stuff in the book that wasn't relative to the story at all and didn't serve to help the book but make it nearly impossible to read. It seemed that every second or third sentence contained some silly simile or comparison. Yes, a few would serve to humour the reader, but after seeing them littered all through the book I got the feeling Rardin was trying to force humour where none was necessary - especially in a tense, emotional scene where the reader is being given a glimpse of the mainn characters past pains/grievances. If you were to take out all of the waste sentences and things that had no place being in the book to begin with, I think you'd be left with a hundred pages of good, solid writing. Hopefully the series improves as it goes along, because I will be continuing it.