Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia Publishing
Publishing Date: February 2 2003
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Audio Book (unabridged)
Storm Front did not seem like my kind of book. A family member has been pestering me to read them, and I have resisted, only because it does not sound like ‘my’ kind of thing. I mean sure, urban fantasy, a wizard in a real world situation, that sounds cool. But there’ s two things about the book that is not my favourite thing to read: it’s an adult book (as opposed to young adult, not X rated), and it’s protagonist is a male. Now, I’m not biased against male protagonists. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them: I simply tend to identify more with female protagonists and enjoy their stories more. (That is not a slight against male writers: I have found several superb male writers who write women just as well as women themselves.) I tend to find I am less interested in male-centric stories because there are so damn many of them out there: this is why I prefer YA, where a glut of female-centric stories abound.
So to make it clear, I did not particularly want to read this (I had resigned to reading it after I have read my 400+ other books on my to-read shelf). But I travel – a lot. With this same family member. So we decided to listen to the audiobook, because I do love James Masters: I think he is a brilliant and completely underrated actor. His delivery of this Dresden novel was simply amazing. Really breathtaking. His voice changed so subtly as he read it, to give an insight into the emotions and physical sensations Harry was feeling. His accent and voice changed dramatically when he read the dialogue of other characters. I really enjoyed his performance.
Butcher is also a fine writer – there’s nothing clumsy or inexperienced about his prose. His descriptions are fine and neither overloaded nor sparse. I took a long time to get into the novel because it read like a police procedural for the first third or so: it’s only when the demons came out of the dark and Harry really got into using his magic that I actually started enjoying the book. By the end of the novel I wasn’t opposed to listening to more of them: Harry is a great character, proud and stubborn and wise and clever. I often squirmed when Butcher just threw more and more bad things at Harry: it was like the poor man’s worst day ever.
Overall, by the end of the book I wanted to continue with the series, but not with great urgency: more of a mild curiosity and the fact that my family member kept telling me ‘THEY GET BETTER!’ I find Butcher to be a humorous writer who is not afraid to put Harry in extraordinarily bad situations. I find Harry an agreeable characters whose experience, training, and intelligence serves to get him out of most jams – not necessarily unscathed. Overall it’s a good combination and I can see the mass appeal.