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Storm Front (Dresden Files #1)

Title: Storm Front
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia
Release Date: 10/06/2009 (first published 01/04/2000)
Format: Audiobook
Links: Goodreads, Author's Website
Purchase: Audible, Booktopia, Book Depository, Angus & Robertson

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever.

There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.

Storm Front is an adult urban fantasy that's light on the lore without skimping on important details, and focuses more on friendship than romance.

I listened to the 8 hour audio book narrated by James Masters (also known as Spike from Buffy), and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I spaced it out over a couple of weeks, catching bits here and there, and didn't have any issues picking up where I left off.

I found Storm Front to have a great pace, and the lore was distributed evenly throughout - just enough for the reader to get a grasp on what was going on, and leave them wanting to learn more.

Harry, the main character, was introduced as a fully fleshed out individual, and information about him and his life were handed to the reader often enough that it felt like there was some character growth - even though there actually wasn't much at all. I find that's an approach I don't read very often, and it was refreshing.

As it was told from Harry's POV, he did come off as a bit morally perfect despite his many attempts to deny it.

A particular aspect that I really enjoyed about Storm Front was that friendship overruled romance. While there were obvious romantic moments, they were brief and not really important to the story. Instead it was Dresden's friendships that helped support the arc of the book.

His friendship with Murphy was particularly enjoyable, and she's a strong MFC that I'm looking forward to seeing more of - and even though there's definitely a foreshadowing of romance between her and Dresden, I'd be quite content if they just remained friends. One of my favourite lines was about Murphy and actually made me laugh out loud - actually, it may have been that entire cuffing scene that had me giggling.

"You stubborn bitch from Hell"

That line definitely sums up Karen Murphy pretty darn well.

Now that we've covered the things I loved about Storm Front, let's move onto the things I didn't. Some things got a little repetitive. Mainly, one meaning/thing would be rephrased and repeated over and over again. I imagine it was for dramatic effect, but it was a little overdone.

Secondly, everything wrapped up a little too neat. All the threads tied into a tidy little bow, as if Butcher hadn't intended on it being the first in a series.

Finally, let's move onto the narration. I'm pretty new to audiobooks, but I already know what gripes me. Namely, very breathy narration and "moist" pauses/audible swallowing. Moist pauses referring to when someone sounds like they've got excess saliva swishing about (sorry for the visual!). I was warned that Master's has a little bit of this, but I was willing to overlook it for Spike (even without the fake accent).

As far as I'm aware, Storm Front is the first book Master's narrated, and if it is he did a darn good job. I felt he put effort into the voices of all the characters, even the minor ones, and I was particularly impressed with his narration of female characters.

All in all I highly recommend Storm Front for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or those looking to break into the genre for the first time.

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