Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1)
Published: 2000 (ROC)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars
Harry Dresden, Wizard and P.I. Need something found or having a supernatural issue? He’s your man. He also works as a consultant with the Chicago P.D., helping out on those cases that don’t quite make sense. You’d think being a highly trained, elemental-wielding wizard would pay the bills better… well, you’d be wrong.
When he gets a call from a nervous woman looking for her missing husband, Harry doesn’t have the luxury of turning her down. Even though it’s a case that would most likely be better suited to the missing persons unit, the rent needs paying. Before he can start on that case though, Murphy, his contact with the police department calls him in. Two people have been murdered by what looks like dark magic.
Seeing as he is the only wizard in town, the finger quickly gets pointed in Harry’s direction. Not only by the human police but also by the White Council, the governing body of wizards. He’s already in their bad books, having narrowly avoided a death sentence and these murders have pushed his parole office into executioner mode. Utilizing all his years of training and with the help of ‘Bob,’ a spirit trapped in a skull with an encyclopedic knowledge of magic, Harry must catch the real killer before he takes the fall… or becomes the latest victim.
Storm Front reminded me of those old 1940s noir movies about P.I.’s, the ones that start “this broad walked into my office and I could tell she was going to be trouble.” The difference here though is that Harry isn’t your typical hero. He isn’t a smooth-talking ladies’ man. He certainly doesn’t have everything figured out and trouble has a knack of finding him no matter how good his intentions are.
What he does have is the ability to channel emotion and the earth’s energy into spells and potions. This is an open world where supernaturals are about as popular as the mob bosses who run Chicago. I really enjoyed the direction Jim Butcher took with the magical element, especially when it came to the ritual and practice. There is quite a bit of world building, seeing as this is the first in the series, but the pacing doesn’t suffer. Just about everyone in this book expects Harry to have all the answers and the pressure and action soon beings to build.
Harry’s narrative is witty and fun to read, but his isolation from those around him is what stopped me from completely falling for this book. Since it’s from his perspective I felt I got to know Harry well, but with so much suspicion surrounding him, he never truly gets close to anyone. For me this meant some of the secondary characters fell flat. There are the beginnings of a deeper connection with one of the characters but as there is such a large cast there wasn’t really enough time for it to develop more.
Storm Front does a brilliant job of introducing Harry and his world, with the paranormal aspects lending themselves perfectly for hijinks. While I may not have been totally sucked in to this series yet, I’m excited to see where it goes and will definitely be picking up the next book.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex