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Harry Dresden Book Reviews:

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front Review  five stars
by Jason Venter  

There are some books that don't look happy no matter which section of the library you find them in. Thankfully for Storm Front, fantasy and science fiction books get lumped together. Though I usually find that annoying, I think it's appropriate for the first novel from author Jim Butcher.

Storm Front is a story that has a lot to do with magic. Yet it really doesn't fit the 'epic fantasy' category... not at all. The setting is modern day Chicago, perhaps even a few years in the future. There are police, whores, gangsters...everything you expect from the Chicago scene. There are also a large number of modern references, ranging from Jolt cola to Arnold Schwarzenneger. These references put you at home in the world Jim has borrowed, and cause the fantastic events that take place throughout the novel to become all the more chilling.

The hero is Harry Dresden, a wizard. It sounds at odds with the setting, but it's not. You get to know Dresden from about the first paragraph, and his wise-cracking nature immediately endears
you to one of the most likeable protagonists since Riggs from the Lethal Weapon series.

In fact, you'll find as you read that Storm Front shares a lot of similarities with that film series. About halfway through the book I let it rest on my lap for a moment and thought how amazing this
novel would be as a movie. Then I thought, "What the heck am I doing thinking when I could be reading the next chapter?"

It's that good.

Without giving away too much of the story, Harry is involved in a homicide case. He gets called in because it's something regular cops can't handle. Soon, he discovers that it's a challenge for anyone to handle this. Someone is going around killing people with magic. That's against the rules. The problem is that it's also against the rules to go out and try to stop the villain. So, without breaking rules and getting himself executed, Harry has to go up against a huge baddy who isn't afraid to break every last rule that exists.

Sounds like a recipe for adventure, and it is. There are several truly enjoyable scenes in this book that rival the best of Dean Koontz. I would summarize some here, but I think you'll want to experience them for yourself. Do yourself a favor and pick up Storm Front today. You'll want to experience the whole thing. And once you read it (I dare you to try and stop after page 50 or so) and see how tightly crafted it is, how exciting some portions are, how intriguing the rest is... you'll
kick yourself for not trying it sooner

 

Storm Front Review five stars by Martina

Take traditional hardboiled fiction, give it a mind bending preternatural twist and you have Storm Front, the first book in a  new series with the potential to send author Jim Butcher to the top of the gumshoe sub-genre of horror/fantasy fiction. Harry Dresden, the series' protagonist, is everything that's great about the hardboiled anti-hero, with a twist: 

He's a wizard trying to make a living working practical magic in a modern world that's foolishly rejected the supernatural in favor of science and technology. Part average guy, part renaissance man, Harry's got a dark side, a wicked sense of humor and a deeply rooted, personal code of honor that drives him to risk everything to fight the supernatural forces preying on his clients, an attitude that puts him at constant, dangerous odds with both the bad guys and the authorities alike. In Storm Front, when a routine murder investigation turns out to be anything but routine, the police reluctantly turn to Harry for help. But a case that started as a way to pay the rent soon gets complicated for Harry when he's forced to cross paths with the Chicagomob and a mysterious figure known as the Shadowman, drawing Harry into a web of black magic and danger.

Already under the Doom of Damocles (a form of probation placed on him by the White Council who oversee the ethical use of magic in the world of the mundane) Harry himself falls under suspicion and is forced to risk execution to solve the mystery and stop the Shadowman, before the killer takes another victim.

Storm Front is a riveting, action packed roller coaster of a novel, a darn good mystery with compelling characters set in a rich alternate reality universe where anything can happen. There's a little something for just about everyone here from black magic and the Chicago mob to vampire madams, demons and the fey.

Storm Front  Review  five stars by Chris

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden's a wizard (amazingly enough, the only one listed in the yellow pages under "Wizard"), often solving crimes with a supernatural twist. So when the Chicago PD brings him in to consult on a double murder committed with magic, Harry sees a way to pay last months' rent.

Unfortunately, not only does he have to find the black mage responsible, but the magic he needs to call upon might bring the unwanted attention of the White Council. They've already placed the Doom of Damocles upon him, and dabbling in black magic will mean a death sentence. And then there's the brothel owning vampiress who'd like to see him dead. And a mob boss who'd like him to mind his own business... or he'll see him dead. You start to get the feeling that Harry's not exactly the most popular guy in town.

The plot combines elements of a detective novel and modern fantasy, with a healthy dose of dark humor, for an intriguing debut novel.

Storm Front Review five stars by Tom

Magic is in the here and now !  Storm Front book one will show you where! Magic, sorcery, good and evil in the present! I have had the pleasure of reading a number of books across varying levels of reality, but my favourites are always those that can introduce the realms of "magic" into our lives and reveal why we do not see it in our normal mundane lives. Jim Butcher writes with an experience that shouts where is the second in the series and itches that the history of his ideas are explained with his particular twist of the other realms. The story was dark but never heavy. If you like Mike Hammer, or Philip Marlowe, but with magic, this is a book for you.

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