Shannon (Giraffe Days)'s Reviews > Storm Front

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
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Sep 12, 08

bookshelves: urban-fantasy, 2008, crime, mystery-suspense, not-worth-it
Read in September, 2008

This book was recommended to me by several friends on Goodreads, though an equal number weren't impressed by it. I would have to put myself in the latter group, if I had to.

Harry Dresden is a wizard. He has a small office in Chicago and helps people find lost things and investigates ghosts, that sort of thing. He also helps the police in investigations when a crime can't rationally be explained.

It is one such case that draws him into a race against time to save his own neck: someone in the city is powerful enough to make hearts explode from chests, killing a mobster's right-hand-man and an expensive prostitute. A separate missing person's case has him looking for a man dabbling in the arts. Dresden is already on a kind of probation with the White Council, and one wrong move will see him executed - but with demons after him, giant scorpions to kill, damsels to protect and a powerful wizard to bring down, he's certainly starting to wonder if he'll come out of this alive.

Of course, first person narrators never die, so that never feels as dire as it was meant to.

Harry's a tall, lanky fella, a bit of a dag really - often dishevelled, he ends up wearing sweat pants and cowboy boots. He has training and is quite strong in the arts, but isn't too quick, spending most of his time rehashing the situation and thinking over his options. The mystery and its outcome are fairly predictable, there are a few plot holes, and the tense use drove me up the wall. Debut authors have some excuse; proof-readers, none.

It took me forever to read this book, considering how short it is and that it's no great piece of literature. Could also be because mystery/crime books bore me when the characters aren't strong enough to add any kind of depth. Harry's an interesting enough character, with a few interesting quirks, but the others are all very two-dimensional and rather stereotypical. It tries to add humour to the mix, with mixed results: mostly it's just lame.

There's a noir atmosphere to the book which gives it some grit and supports the dark subject-matter, but can't save the prose. This being Butcher's first book, I don't expect an awful lot, but I often found myself replacing words with better ones, or rewriting sentences so that they were either grammatically correct or flowed better. The small plot holes were annoying, of course, but they wouldn't have mattered if I'd been more into the story. For as much extrapolation and introspection - and pondering - as Harry did, it was never very clear why he was doing this or that, and at the end of the day the book just wasn't as clever as it had set out to be - and set expectations for.
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message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 13, 2008 09:51AM) (new)

The only thing I can say in defense of this series, is that the 10th book, Small Favor, is my favorite in the whole series so far. Often, a series with so many books gets worse and worse in terms of storyline and writing quality, instead of better and better.
I will say though, that some of the books in the series didn't hold my attention as well as others. Also, I often would find myself skimming over parts which were more extrapolation and introspection, just so I could get back to the action.
I remember reading the first few books and then losing interest in the series. Later (like a couple of years later, that is) I started reading again and really enjoyed it. Strange, huh? Maybe my mind was just in a different place. *shrug* LOL


Shannon (Giraffe Days) I don't think I'll read any more in the series - I didn't care for Harry, and as a friend said, he's a bit of a condescending prat. Sometimes you do need to be in the right frame of mind to get into a book, but with this one I think it was more a mix of weak writing and superficial characters?


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Yeah, I hear ya. *nodding in agreement* :)

My favorite character in the series is Thomas, Harry's half brother. He's a vampire in the White Court. Naturally, I WOULD like the vampire! ;)



message 11: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt I wouldn't recommend reading further. I made it up to book three, and Harry felt increasingly unable to carry the series for me. He becomes increasingly annoying.

Plus, the stories get if anything IMO weaker. The world building seemed a bit second rate, and it reached the point for me that I started to feel that Harry Potter was by far the more mature story for the more mature audience.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) I started to feel that Harry Potter was by far the more mature story for the more mature audience.

Me too :)


Becky I haven't read any of these books... but it seems to me that if you are editing the book rather than reading it, it's not really worth reading.

Plus, who wants to wade through 9 books waiting for the story to get good? There goes the 100 page rule! LOL



Shannon (Giraffe Days) I've never gone by the 100 page rule (should we be ultra careful about using the word "rule" with "reading" now? SNARKY GASP!), but if the first book in a series doesn't grab me AT ALL then I'm not about to read more.

The first Wheel of Time book, Eye of the World, bored me and I nearly didn't finish it, but just because there were a couple of characters I liked and a couple of things I found interesting, I went on to read the second book and enjoyed it enough to keep reading the series (books 2-6 are really quite good!). Sadly nothing in Harry's life particularly engaged me :(


Becky I don't abide by the 100 page rule either; I stop reading something when I feel my IQ entering the low-level danger zone, or when steam bursts from my ears.

But, I have seen quite a lot of reviews on GR by people who swear by it... I only mentioned it because the concept of going through 9 other books just to get to the good stuff would be preposterous to those people who do abide by "The Rule"... ;)


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Whoa, Becky! I never said the ONLY good book in the series was the 10th book! I guess we just have different opinions on this series, that's all. I'm happy to leave it at that. ;)


Becky Sorry for the misunderstanding Suzann... I probably read too much into your comment!

I haven't read the series, so I technically have no opinion- my comments were based solely on the previous comments here.

My "rule" (if we're calling it that, haha) for when I stop reading was certainly not any hint about these books, as I haven't read them, but rather about books in general.




message 4: by Vi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Vi You stated what I thought about the book a lot more eloquently than I did in my review. :D


Shannon (Giraffe Days) Are you going to read any others in this series Vi? I have no interest in them but a friend recommended Butcher's fantasy series (Codex something) and said it was much better written.


message 2: by Vi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Vi Well, I purchased the first 3 books of the Dresden series so I'll at least read the next two and see if it improves. I hadn't heard anything about the Codex series. Maybe I'll rent the first one of that series from the library and see how it is.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) Good idea :) I have the first Codex book but it's not going to get read anytime soon.


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