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Book Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher (Audiobook)

9 Jun

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Dresden Files #1

Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia Publishing Corp.

Pub date: 6 Oct 2009

Source: Personal copy

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: James Marsters

Length: 8 hours, 1 minute

Synopsis

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden in a wizard in Chicago. He doesn’t hide this fact. In fact, he is the only wizard listed in the Yellow Pages advertising his services of Paranormal Investigation.  But business is not going all that well. Dresden is just managing to keep the wolf at bay is just about keeping out of dire (read punishable by death) trouble with the magic council. But when a distraught woman contacts him about finding her missing husband, life starts to get even more complicated for Wizard Harry Dresden.

Review

I had been hearing such great things about the Dresden Files series for so long, that I had to try it for myself. Storm Fool, the first in the Dresden Files series is a mix of detective fiction with fantasy. Or a noir cop show with magic. And a rollicking fun ride… if all you want is some simple fun and don’t dig too deep under the surface.

Harry Dresden is a wizard in Chicago who consults with the police when a case appears to have some other worldly element to it. Lt. Murphy who heads the Special Investigation Unit calls on him whenever she comes across a case that has a hint of magic. In Storm Front, Harry is called on to assist in a case involving a series of grisly murders.

This is a different Chicago to the one that we know, filled not only with gangs and tough cops, but also demons, ghosts, a vampire madam, magic council, murder, mayhem and magical serial killers.

Harry is a likeable character. His sense of humour and ability to be witty even when under pressure or threat of life is what makes him fun.

And in talking about the other characters, I will unfortunately have to do what I asked you to avoid and go beyond the surface. To put it simply, cliched. The tough cop with the heart of gold, the nosey reporter, the scared wife and mother, the other cop who hates our hero… It’s rather like many instances of pop culture kneaded into one action filled mish-mash.

Once you start though, you can’t help but see Harry through to the end.

The audiobook: James Marsters does a delightful job with this book. He is understated and Harry’s derision comes through perfectly. He also handles and differentiates the other characters admirably.

In all honesty, the narrator is probably the only reason I will be going back to the series. I am in the woefully small minority here – not having absolutely fallen in love with the character or the series. Yes, I most likely will go on to the next book, but it will be a quick read on a long plane ride or for some easy entertainment on the beach.
But don’t go just by my opinion of this – many bloggers I respect very much have given this book and the series the highest praise. So it might just not have caught my fancy the same way.

Verdict

An easy read and a guilty pleasure for me. Fans of urban fantasy and detective fiction will enjoy the combination. James Marsters is reason enough to give it a listen.

Rating: 3.5*

*See my Rating policy

Find more audiobook reviews and discussion posts at Devourer of Books where Jen is celebrating Audiobook Week.

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