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 of them 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.
I don’t think I would have ever read Storm Front, by Jim Butcher, if it was not for the book club. I do like urban fantasy and I do like some crime novels, but not usually the two together. It reminds me more of Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking which is the only other novel I’ve really read along this line and although I did enjoy it’s quirks I didn’t really care about the story.
The same goes for Storm Front. I enjoyed the quirks, I liked the interesting characters that were not human, I thought the main plot was readable and it was enough to keep me reading, but I did not have any curiosity for any side stories and there were a lot of little side stories or at least background dropping (possibly so the author could branch off and keep going with a series?).
I actually feel more compelled to rip into this novel then to share anything positive which I would prefer to avoid, but at the same time I just can’t get over some of the things about this novel. Why? Because I think the main character Harry Dresden is a tool. I also can’t figure out why anyone would love this series, especially if they are a woman (unless they think it’s the right thing to be described by your sex). Yes I have heard that this series gets better, but how on Earth did the writer end up being published and becoming so popular after this first novel? I’ve read some excellent first novels in recent years and I just don’t see how it’s justifiable that Storm Front should do so well that a series will be born from it.
Why oh why does Jim Butcher have to summarise every piece of action that is going on in just about every chapter? Does he not realise that the people reading his book are actually reading his book? Or maybe he realises that his character Harry Dresden is such a tool and that his book is full of so much sexism that the reader may not want to stay focused on it. A summary every chapter is not going to help. Nor is a joke at the end of just about all of them either.
Sometimes I think the sexism is born from Butcher trying to put some sexuality into his story, trying to make it attractive, but it just turns around and bites him in the arse. It ends up making you wonder if Jim Butcher himself is a sexist pig who needs to get out there in the world and realise women are people, not sexual objects.
There’s also aspects of his writing that had me literally putting down the book every chapter and finding something else to do for awhile. I needed a break from it. It grated on my nerves by the last half. I noticed Butcher seems to pick a word to describe something at the start of a paragraph and by the end of it he repeats that word again. I was questioning where his thesaurus was.
Then there is the whole sexual gender thing going on which leads me to believe that Harry Dresden is a Gary Stu (there’s plenty of other aspects of the character, but I believe this is my tipping point). Yes there are other male characters, but the main characters that surround Dresden most of the time are female.
It is not all bad I did enjoy Bob who was refreshing. There was quite a bit of intrigue with the main story which I thought was a good plot idea, but at the same time it felt like the story was mainly focused on the character Harry Dresden which is understandable for an introductory novel. It also felt to me that the concept of the magical world and how the magic was used in the book was thought out really well because it did work together and in such a way that the magical concept makes sense for magic. So not all bad, but still enough to grate on my nerves.