Review: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher

Rating: 10/10

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 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.

Review

“My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I’m in the book.”

Wow. This was a fantastic book. There have not been many books recently that I would label as “unputdownable”, but this was one of them. I read this in 2 days (322 pages) and that is really fast for me as I usually finish this size book in about a week or so.

The worldbuilding in this one is minimal, but purposeful. There is enough information provided to understand the present story, while at the same time providing little enough to grab my attention and leave me intrigued. To be honest, this being Urban Fantasy I didn’t come in expecting a lot of worldbuilding. A lot of it takes care of itself by the story taking place in the somewhat familiar setting of Chicago, Illinois. However, I did love getting a few glimpses of the different creatures and monsters (who knew faeries love pizza?) and how they interact with the world. I can’t wait to learn more about them and understand the rest of the world within the Dresden Files!

Storm Front tells its story at a breakneck pace. There was so much going on throughout this novel that I felt like I hardly had time to catch my breath, in the best of ways. Harry Dresden goes from one spot of trouble to another and because of that the tension was almost always high.

Although the plot was incredibly fast, there were still meaningful moments. We are introduced to Harry Dresden in this book and through his wizardly characteristic of being “terrific at brooding” and his charmingly, sarcastic wit we are able to see what kind of man he is. The closest comparison I can make is that Dresden reminds me of an older and maybe a little wiser Locke Lamora.

There are very few books that I’ve encountered where I was able to form a bond with the protagonist so quickly and so deeply. Harry has a dark past. There are some things that he does not want to think or talk about. He often uses humor to lighten the load of his thoughts and be brave in the face of fear or insecutiry. Although I have not had nearly as bad of a past as Harry Dresden, I can relate to doing that in my own life and can say for certain that it is incredibly well done.

“There’s a reason I’ll go out on a limb to help Murphy. She’s good people. One of the best.”

This is a single POV novel so we don’t get any other character’s perspective besides Dresden, but another character that is critical to the story is Karrin Murphy, or just Murphy as Dresden calls her. She is the Director of Special Investigations at the Chicago Police Department. She is also the liaison between Harry and the police department when a case seems more than just mundane. Even though we don’t get Murphy’s POV, she has a strong voice. Her friendship with Dresden was something I was immediately invested in and continued to care strongly about throughout the story. She often calls Harry out on his bull crap and I think we all need a friend like that sometimes.

“I don’t want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower.”

As I said, the plot was fast and exhilarating. However, there was also a large part of the story that was investigation into a crime that served to slow things down at times and allow the reader to catch up a little bit without releasing the tension that had been built up so far. The mystery, action, world building, and character development all lead up to a thrilling climax that left me wanting to pick up the next book immediately.

If these books only continue to get better (most people say this series really hit its stride around the 3rd book) then I can confidently predict that this will be one of my favorite series of all time. I am so excited for book 2 and can’t wait to see what Jim Butcher has in store for Dresden in the future.

6 thoughts on “Review: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher

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