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Storm Front (2000)

Storm Front (2000)
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Rating
4.02 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0451457811 (ISBN13: 9780451457813)
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English
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publisher
penguin roc
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Storm Front (2000)
Storm Front (2000)

About book: Reviewed by: Rabid Reads3.5 starsLover of Urban Fantasy that I am, it may come as a surprise that before now . . . I have never actually . . . read Jim Butcher . . .I KNOW. I'm such a poser.In my defense, I haven't had much luck with male authors in the genre, and come on . . . we're up to what? FIFTEEN installments, with the SIXTEENTH already in the works, so yeah---DAUNTING. Cut me some slack.  And besides, better late than never, right?Also, I'm holding all of you partially to blame, b/c someone should have told me that around book 3 or 4 the series becomes seriously FAE oriented. So what's up with that, huh? I've said more than once that Fae are my FAEvorite, and based on the PUNS in Storm Front alone, I'm the one who should be feeling betrayed, not you.*snickers*Okay. I have adequately blame-shifted, so moving on.I knew going into this that I'd be entering a longterm relationship with Harry Dresden. I was willing, but skeptical. Even with the image of Paul Blackthorne firmly planted in my subconscious, I knew from experience that commitment requires more than a pretty face.Little did I know how right I was.You see . . . longterm relationships are WORK. And often, the things you love the most about another person are the same things that enable that person to drive you NUTS.I love how realistically flawed Harry is.I hate how realistically flawed Harry is.He gets himself into a tight spot, so he rationalizes: "It wasn't as though I was actually going to be doing any black magic, I told myself. I was just going to be figuring out how it was done. There was a difference. I was helping the police in an investigation, nothing more."But then he immediately calls his own bluff: "Yeah, right. And maybe one of these days I'd go to an art museum and become well rounded."He's also incredibly self-aware. He knows his weaknesses as well as his strengths, and he presents both sides very matter-of-factly. It was refreshing. There was no false modesty or self-deprecation. No melancholy search for affirmation. Harry Dresden just lays it all out in plain site, do with it what you will.But that same openness allows you to see (over and over again) how hapless he is when it comes to the fairer sex . . .You know . . . for a self-proclaimed, socially awkward wizard with very little relationship experience, Harry Dresden finds himself surrounded by beautiful, flirtatious women with uncommon frequency . . . *rolls eyes*But then he gleefully reveals his boyish, mischievous side by the sheer delight he takes at pulling one over on someone who has underestimated him. *rolls eyes again, but this time while grinning*One second I wanted to smack him on the back of the head, and the next, I wanted to ruffle his hair and kiss him on the cheek.So that's Harry.There's also Bob the (peeping) Skull, Toot the pizza-loving faery, Mister the cat, Mac the surly pubkeep, Murphy the hard case female cop, and glimpses into possible future interactions with a literal faery godmother and the mysteriously intimidating White Council.The plot was . . . eh . . . *shrugs* I'm giving it a pass this time, b/c I'm pretty sure a lot of groundwork was laid for future installments, and while this was a fairly entertaining read, it was also fairly predictable, and Bad Guy was just a stock power hungry Bad Guy.On the world-building front, we were given a lot of hints, but nothing substantial, but that was okay, b/c so far, we've only been in the real world, so as much as I'd like to know more about the Nevernever (RIGHT NOW), there's plenty of time for that when we get there.Overall, I definitely see this series being worth it (and not just b/c if I read this one, I will have read every, single one of the Big Deal UF series . . . which may or may not be a personal goal . . . *shrugs noncommittally*). Harry Dresden is a realistically likable character who I have a suspicion will turn out to be quite formidable, and Butcher lays a promising foundation with this first installment. Will it live up to my expectations? Only one way to find out . . .My other reviews for this series: Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2) Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3) Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4) by Jim Butcher

The Dresden Files is one of those books that's intimidating to approach. It has a hard-core fan group that will scream its praises from the top of the roof. Usually, I would approach with extreme caution. I rarely read a series when I've been assured that it gets good after six books. When people tell me that, I simply quietly encourage them to read the Fever Series and avert eye contact.However, after a discussion regarding male readers and writers of the Urban Fantasy genre, I felt I should give this series a go since the UF male demographic tends to be on the small side.The Dresden Files has an immersive, interesting world. It's magical lore is possibly the only original thing about it. Which doesn't say that much for the book.It's exactly the same half-assed compliment you'd give to Meyers...Don't get me wrong. Harry is a solid, interesting character and the mystery and action in this book was great. There were plenty of tense moments, laugh-out-loud moments, and clever, witty escapes.But that doesn't mean that anything in this book was actually original.Paranormal private eye? If there ever was a cliche in this genre - there it is. Can't they ever have a different occupation? If you have some magical ability is this your only career choice? Honestly. I think Anita Blake, Rachel Morgan and Harry Dresden would make GREAT pizza deliverers!Guaranteed they'd still manage to get in a shitload of trouble though...What's the draw to being private detectives or retainers for police investigations? They're always struggling with money, almost getting killed to solve cases that don't pay, for people who don't like them and never really trust them. Insurance salesmen, guys. If people are going to treat you like dirt, you might as well be fucking them over equally as bad!Besides, most of the characters in this book could have come out of ANY mystery novel about a rogue private eye solving mysteries and helping the police.You have:1) The toughass female cop with a heart of gold.2) The asshole cop who gets in the way and hates the protagonist for no reason.3) The surly bartender who knows everything and likes the protagonist. Usually more than he likes most people.4) The sexy reporter who flirts with the male protagonist in order to get leads for a story.5) The male protagonist who is awkward with the ladies, self-proclaimed non-lothario but still has at least one woman through themselves at him.I appreciate characterization that encompasses flaws. Sometimes though, being too nice is a character flaw I get sick of in books. That's like going to a job interview and listing workaholic as a personality flaw.Listen, Dresden. If someone explicably involves you in a murder case, doesn't give you enough information, doesn't inform you that they're an accomplice to the crimes, knows that your involvement will surely mean your death, and then tells you to go away and die somewhere else because they don't want your heart to burst out of your chest and stain their lovely carpet - YOU'RE OFFICIALLY ALLOWED TO BE A DICK TO THEM. You know what you're not allowed to do? Feel like an asshole for getting information out of them that will save your life. That is NOT an asshole thing to do! And maybe you don't have to put your ass on the line to spare every single other person when you're likely to die as a result.For goodness sake, let the immortal wizard and the warrior ranger take the fucking ring to mordor!Just sayin' is all... Over all, I liked this book. I will read more of these books - but I AM still waiting for the magic to hit me and turn me into a crazed Dresden fangirl. [image error]
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Reviews
Patrick
I never got around to reading these books until The Name of the Wind was published. And when I first did, I was a little pissed. First person point of view. Magic based on thermodynamics. Gritty, realistic world. Arrogant wizard who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. It struck rather close to home.... Some people say that the first few books of this series were kinda rough. But I didn't notice anything particularly untoward about them. In fact, I burned through the whole series (11 books at the time) in about two weeks. As a side note, James Marsters reads the audiobooks. And while his first one was a little rough, all the rest are very enjoyable.
Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire. His advert even says so. Enter a very interesting character in the urban fantasy genre. Having grown up in the Chicago area, it's very cool to see this fine city through the eyes of an interesting guy like Harry. In some respects, he's a very normal guy. However he truly is a wizard. He inherited his magical abilities from his deceased mother, and makes a living at it. Helping people. He also works for the Police Department solving crimes of an unusual nature.This is like most starter books in a series, it doesn't exactly get off the ground running. But that's okay. We get to enjoy the experience of getting to know Harry. Things I liked about him that endeared him to me: He doesn't date much. He says himself he doesn't have much luck with women. He's a catlover. He has a big, huge kitty named Mister that eats better than he does. He's got a great sense of humor. This book is in the first person, so you are treated to Harry's very wry but perceptive view of the world. We are not on the same page about Christianity, but I don't hold that against him. How could I when he's such an ethical, caring person. Harry's a bit of a soft touch, going out of his way to help people, even to his detriment. Some readers might get annoyed at how often Harry gets hurt. I like that about the series. He's not invulnerable. His magic can help him, but he can die just as easy as another human, and he almost does many times. That raises the stakes, because Harry can't seem to stay out of trouble. I love watching Harry get dressed for battle: fedora hat, cloak, oak staff, pentacle pendant from his mom, and her ring. The latter are his magical accoutrements used to focus the natural magic that flows through him and is in the environment. Let's not forget his .45 gun for extra insurance. It's like watching Batman put on his suit and all his gadgets (yes my not-so inner geek is coming out).The world that Harry inhabits is much like the one we live in, but magic and creatures we consider mythical actually exist. There is a White Council (They are the governing body over wizards to prevent them practicing black magic or using magic to harm people) who is holding the Doom of Damocles over Harry's head for killing his uncle (done in self-defense, although few would argue that he didn't deserve killing). So we see Harry trying to stay one step ahead of the very intimidating magical enforcer, Morgan. We also see Harry deal with a fairy who loves pizza to get information, while trying to avoid his godmother who really is a Fairy, the Queen in fact, and to whom he owes a favor. And Harry has to deal with the very shadowy Red Vampire Court, not to mention a very nasty demon assassin that interrupts the first date that Harry's had in a very long time. Try having a love life around all of this. Then there's the fire spirit Bob, who's beholden to Harry, helps him work his spellcraft, and lives in a skull.These books are pure fun, but there are moments of tension and thrills, as well as moments that will stir poignancy in you. If you like the genre of occult detective novels, this book is the start of a series that you must add to your collection. I must say I love the later books more because the introductory stuff is out of the way, but this was a solid entry and a grand introduction to the wonderful, endearing Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Unexpected BR with my girls Robin & Shelly. And some other people. But I have no idea who they are. I'm sure they're lovely. Then again they might not be. Oh well. It wouldn't make any difference if they were. I'm a total BR slut anyway.→ Robin wants it known that she didn't recommend this to me. I wonder why. (view spoiler)[Your bad Robin. See how well this went?:P (hide spoiler)]
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