By Jim Butcher
Released: April 1st, 2000
Genre: Fantasy (Urban)
Genre: Fantasy (Urban)
Source: Library Loan
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m the scum of the earth when it comes to book nerds. You know those illiterate morons you come across at work or school, who think they’re too cool to read? Or those stuck-up people who turn their noses down to any genre other than their favorite? I feel like one of those assholes right now. Simply because I spent the first 24 years of my life without reading a Jim Butcher book.
Yep, definitely the scum of the earth. But first, let me back pedal a bit and fill you in.
About last year, a good friend of mine started reading the Dresden File books and quickly claimed it was awesome. She started nagging me to read them, but I was too busy on my steady diet of Young Adult and Amish fiction (yes, I know, a weird combo) to give it much of a second thought. That was, until around last week, when I finally got my hands on a copy of the first Dresden Files book, Storm Front. It wasn’t even available in my town’s library branches! (That, in and of itself calls into question the integrity of our literary resources of my town – remind me to file a complaint later.) So, I borrowed my grandmother’s library card, who lives in a larger town about thirty miles away, and finally got my copy. I cracked it open about eleven o’ clock at night. And I had to be a work the next morning. That was a bad decision. I stayed up reading that book. All night. And it was that awesome.
Storm Front begins by introducing us to Harry Dresden, who is the only wizard for hire in all of Chicago. Seriously, look him up. He’s in the phonebook. Anyway, we’re told that magic exists in all sorts of forms, right alongside humans on a daily basis. There are fairies, demons, witches, trolls, vampires – everything. And while Harry is trying to run a struggling private investigation business, he occasionally gets called into crime cases with a supernatural aura about them by his detective friend Karrin Murphy. On one such case, Murphy calls Harry in to help solve a double murder in which two individuals were killed in the throes of lovemaking – by their heart exploding right out of their chests.
It’s up to Harry to try and figure out who the murderer is before any other people – especially himself – get killed. What ensues are action packed scenes with just the right amount of humor, grit, suspense and mystery!
For those of you who know me, I’m a huge sucker for a good mystery book. While I like to stick to cozies most of the time, I really like mystery books with a supernatural twists to them. For example, Dark Currents by Jaqueline Carey was very good. And this book is similar in taste. But while I remember the main character from that series, I don’t really remember much more about the side characters and the love triangle and what-have-you. Everything that I thought could’ve improved with Dark Currents was achieved in Harry Dresden.
First of all, the characters of the book are outstanding. Harry is the main character, and – of course – you’ll root for him from page one. He’s snarky and sarcastic, and sweet and awkward. He’s a realistic hero – one who gets himself into all sorts of serious trouble trying to solve his cases and, more often than not, has an even harder time getting out of the trouble. Then the side characters – Murphy, Susan, Bob, Marcone – just about everyone you meet has a distinct personality all their own. There were times when I even felt sympathetic for the villains and bad guys. Rarely can an author create such a find cast of characters. This is all a testament to how wonderful a writer Jim Butcher really is.
The mystery aspects of the novel? They’re fantastic. I’ve read two so far and, more often than not, I’ve been left completely clueless until all the final pieces of the puzzle fall together. All the elements of a good mystery are represented in Storm Front and you’ll be guessing who the bad guy is up until the final chapters!
All in all, it was a great mystery book and everything a good urban fantasy reader could want. I’ve already spent half my paycheck getting the rest of the series. Thank God Butcher’s written, like, fourteen of them already. I’d have gone absolutely bonkers waiting for all of them to be released. Even now, I still have to wait for at least six more to be published! Until then, I’ll be eating this series up like potato chips.
Also, did you know he wrote another high fantasy series called The Furies of Calderon and that it’s based off of Pokemon? Yes, for real. Is it on my bookshelf now? You bet it is. I have no doubts it’ll be just as awesome as Harry Dresden.
Do yourself a favor and go read this book and the rest of the series now. Don’t be like me – don’t be scum.