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Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Book Name: Storm Front
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher(s): Roc
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Release Date: April 1, 2000

Chicago’s mean streets are probably the last place you’d think to look for a fully certified, practicing wizard, but that’s exactly where Harry Dresden decided to set up shop. You’d think being the only wizard listed in the windy city’s telephone directory would make him a pretty popular guy. It turns out, however, that when most people see Wizard listed they tend to think he is the kind that pulls rabbits out of hats, not the kind that solves cases using true magic.

So, with the rent on his office and his apartment both a month overdo, Harry is surprised to get two clients on the very same day! The first a woman named Monica searching for her missing husband, the second Lieutenant Murphy of the Chicago police department needing his ‘special’ expertise in the case of an unusual double homicide. The first case seems to fizzle out soon after he starts the investigation, but the second drags him deeper into Chicago’s criminal underbelly then he had ever wanted to go. Mafia, supernatural creatures, powerful spells, and magical cults stand between him and the answers he seeks. Can Dresden find the murderer before they kill another victim? And can he do it without getting himself killed in the process? Or will the gathering storm spell the end of Chicago’s only practicing wizard?

– – –

Storm Front by Jim Butcher is the first in The Dresden Files series, but even as a standalone book it’s a great read. The story is written in the style of a typical noir detective novel, but the addition of magic gives it an added level of interest. I think the thing I liked about it most was that magic made total sense in the setting, which seems weird even when I think about it now. You would imagine, for example, that if a wizard ran a detective agency he would have an unfair advantage over his competition and do very well for himself. But just like technology sometimes makes things harder than they should be (like when my computer crashed halfway through typing up this review, requiring me to start all over again), magic can be a useful tool but it doesn’t solve all of your problems, and sometimes it can even make things worse.

Harry Dresden isn’t a successful, respected member of society, using his magic to solve the world’s problems; he’s a poor, frustrated private detective struggling to get enough money to pay his rent and buy himself (and his cat) food. And that is exactly why this book is so good. Harry Dresden is the perfect guy to root for. He is honest, chivalrous, hardworking, and he still gets dumped on throughout the entire story. You want him to succeed, you want him to find the killer and escape whatever predicament he has gotten himself into this time. His easy to relate to, snarky personality makes him one of my new favorite characters and I will definitely be reading more of this series.

You might remember I reviewed Furies of Calderon, the first book of Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera, last month. There has been a lot of talk in the forums about which series is better. Well after reading the first book of each series right after each other, I’d like to give you my thoughts on the discussion. I gave Furies of Calderon 4 out of 5 stars, which is exactly what I’m giving Storm Front, but for completely different reasons.

Storm Front was a great book with an awesome main character and a good plot. But the side characters aren’t quite as interesting as the supporting cast in Furies of Calderon. And I will admit here that I’m not as big a fan of urban fantasy as I am of traditional fantasy. If you are an urban fantasy fan or a noir mystery fan for that matter, I think Storm Front approaches five-star status rather quickly. I also think that Butcher is more comfortable writing in the modern setting, and because of that the story in Storm Front seemed to flow a bit better then in Furies of Calderon.

In the end, the biggest difference between the two is a flavor difference. If you like your fantasy epic with fantastic landscapes and great battles then try out the Codex Alera series. If you like an urban, gritty fantasy with intrigue and mysterious goings-on, then definitely try out Strom Front and The Dresden Files. But whichever way you lean, I would suggest at least reading the first book of each series, because both are great stories with great characters, and really that’s what awesome books are made of.



  1. Avatar Sonia M. says:

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Dresden series. It’s on my list. Thanks for the review!

  2. Avatar Khaldun says:

    Loved the first couple of books in the Dresden files. Not mind-expanding or anything, but fun, quick reads with an awesome protagonist. I’ve heard they get better as you go, so I’m looking forward to having some time to finish the series!

  3. Avatar ibeeeg says:

    I read this book a while ago and enjoyed it greatly. I loved the character of Harry, and think this series has potential of being fun reads. Like Khaldun, I too have heard that series gets better as it goes along. Not certain why I have not read the rest of the books; probably because I have ton of others books beckoning my attention.

    Thanks for the review and a reminder to get going with book two.

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