Etta

Review: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1)

Published April 1st 2000, 384 pages

Author: Jim Butcher

Overview from Goodreads:

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.

Personal Review

The Dresden Files intrigued me because it reminded me of the older Sabrina the Teenage Witch type novels. (Not in story or character, but just in overall style.) There is some storylines that flow through the entire series, but the majority of it is one mystery per novel.  As this is book number one, there is a lot of world building and set-up of all the characters so it does start off a little slow. You get glimpses into the backstories of our main protagonist while leaving more of his character to explore in future novels.

Harry Dresden is a dynamic character that is self-aware of his pluses and also of his faults. He is the last remaining wizard and he’s also a private investigator. He takes the odd jobs here and there to help him pay the bills and works on special cases with the police department.

You have all the classic characters of a private consultant who assists with the police department. There’s the higher up officer that beings Dresden in on all the cases where they have the witty banter with each other. There is the sexy love interest that is connected to these cases, in this series; it’s a reporter who wants to find out about all these mysterious happenings. We also have the surly bartender who’s rough on the outside and seemingly kind on the inside. This series really has all the players that you would expect in this type of genre. They all work together and each plays their role while still being interesting to stand out on the page. It’s a great balance on the author’s part to write familiar types of characters, but still make them worth reading about.

Each novel in the series follows a mysterious murder and Dresden has to experience many obstacles in order to solve the case and find the murderer. It’s nice to have the case wrapped up by the time you finished the book as it allows you to pick up any of the novels in the series and have a general idea about what’s going on with the characters (it seems from other reviewers that you can pick up any novel in the series and be okay without reading the rest, but it’s more advisable to read them in order to avoid missing any details.)

The writing is easy to follow and the pace is decent. It’s a little slower in the beginning as we built up to Dresden chasing after the murderer, but once we’re there it becomes a page-turner where you keep reading to find out who the culprit is. The villain in this case was a little disappointing, but I have faith that future novels will bring better bad guys. The magic is what brings this story to life as it is a new take if your first thought when you hear magic is something like Harry Potter. This type of magic is all about rules and spells. It has the familiar concept from other magic series of a Council that oversees all magical activities; in this case it is the White Council. You briefly hear about them in this novel so it’ll be interesting to see how they’re explored in future books.

Overall, I think this series is worth trying for anyone who has an interest in mysteries and fantasy genres. Harry Dresden is a fantastic main character and I can’t wait to keep reading about his next adventures. This particular novel does feel like an introduction so it is hit and miss in places, but I have hope that it’ll all go up from here and the series will just keep getting better and better.

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