Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files #1
Adult ∴ Urban Fantasy > Magic, Paranormal ∴ Mystery
Published April 2000 by Penguin ROC
Audiobook ∴ 322 pages, 8h 30m
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.
Why am I doing this to myself again? I recently finished listening to the most recent Dresden File, Skin Game (#15), and I couldn’t believe how much I missed Harry and all of his wonderful supportive women.
I read this for the first time at least 8 years ago, fell out of the series, and read it again about 3 years ago to go on to read the whole series, save for Skin Game. I prefer to listen to these because the one and only James Marsters, a.k.a. SPIKE FROM BUFFY Y’ALL, narrates the series and he’s just perfect. Truly, he’s my favorite narrator, next to Jim Dale who does the US Harry Potter audiobooks.
As I remember from a few years ago, Marsters seems almost bored throughout Storm Front. I don’t know if it’s his first narrative job or what, but something seems a little off. But going in knowing this fact made me less put-off by it than I was originally. I knew it was coming and I know it gets so much better and more engaging the more the series goes on. I’m conflicted between physically reading the series and listening to it because I want to write and make notes in my books, but I also want to hear Marsters’ sweet sweet voice, so I’m listening.
I’m going to try to keep a timeline for this series, because the gaps between books can be a few days to a few years, and it’s important to remember how long it’s been because of the character relations and other… things… I’m going to assume this one is set in the year it was published, 2000, from some context clues and because I have no other basis for a time.
Set: Spring 2000
On to the book. You know, I thought at nearly 27, I was done with book crushes, but I’m not. I would marry Harry Copperfield Blackstone Dresden in a heartbeat. Harry is a chivalrous goob. He’s kinda dumb. Not stupid-dumb, just dumb. He has few friends, no girlfriend, and his cat, Mister, is stronger than him at times. He does odd wizard jobs; finding lost things, small exorcisms, BUT NO PARTIES, until Karrin Murphy, Chicago PD’s head of Special Investigations calls and asks for help on a case where two people’s hearts are ripped from their chests mid-coitus.
Karrin. Oh my lovely smol stronk babby Karrin. How I love thee. She gives no shits. She values her job above most things, which causes some issues in her life in the coming novels. She’s Harry’s closest friend, though she has very little patience for him in the beginning. They have a history before Storm Front, but as this series goes on, they get closer and the sexual tension becomes UNBEARABLE, but we’ll get to that later.
Another *fun* character is Morgan. A guy assigned to Harry because Harry did something as a youth that we aren’t really privvy yet to in this book, but man is Morgan a diiiiiick. He’s constantly assuming Harry murders people on the weekends for fun or likes to teach black magic to children. He always gets there too late and only sees what Harry does instead of what led to Harry doing The Thing. Oh, Morgan, why you a dick?
I love the action in this book. I yearn for more Harry and his knightly nature. It’s a great start to a fantastic series. The interesting thing about The Dresden Files is that, the longer it goes on, the less urban fantasy it is. Butcher starts with a basic paranormal-cop-procedural-mystery-thing and suddenly, you’re in the NeverNever and you have no idea how you got there. I love the smooth transition from urban to true fantasy Butcher makes. It’s nearly imperceptible until you think back on the earlier novels and think, “What happened to Karrin asking for help on a case?”
This is my favorite adult fantasy series and I’m so happy to be starting this again and actually writing down my thoughts about it. I think about it a lot and it gives me so many feels that I kinda want to cry a little. That’s why I’m doing this: for the feels.
I would definitely recommend this series if:
- You’re new to audiobooks. Marsters is a great gateway voice actor
- Aren’t a fan of high fantasy, or
- Would like to get into high fantasy but don’t know how
- Love urban fantasy
- Enjoy painful sexual tension
- Like the Witchy Aesthetic ™
- Enjoy GREAT character development
- Love strong female characters that may not be the MC but are crucial to the MC’s development or success