Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Storm Front, Jim Butcher

1 star 2 star 3 star
Harry Dresden: Wizard.

Yeah, so most folks think he's a whack-job, but then again, most folks would be wrong. Harry's the real deal, and when a couple of bodies show up, killed with magic, Harry is the Police Department's, White Council's, number one suspect... and about to find himself in a whole world of trouble.

The clock is ticking, and Harry has to find a murdeous Dumbledore wannabe before he becomes the next victim.

I first learned of the Dresden Files series in the short story by Butcher in Many Bloody Returns. I then watched the TV series, and it was finally time to read the first book.

Well I liked Storm Front. Harry is wise-cracking, cocky, smart-assed and self-deprecating, which makes being in his head fun. The mix of hard-boiled detective fiction and Harry Potter is both funny and clever.

My only issue is that every now and then it sounded like Butcher was trying so hard to make Harry cool in a careless 'I'm not even trying' kind of way (sweatpants? really?), and I kept getting pulled out of the story. He has his cool-boy duster, and he's badass, but there are other aspects of his character that felt slightly incongruous... but I'm beginning to think this was really the point: Harry is a lost boy. No family, few friends. Despised, distrusted, and never allowed a normal childhood. He's a walking contradiction. He's seen enough in his life to make him jaded, but he still cares. He's done bad, bad things but he wants to be good. He tries to be good, but sometimes he needs to be bad to do the right thing. He's powerless against the powers of the White Council, or human law enforcement, but has the power to change the world he lives in for good or bad. He's caught in the middle of two worlds--the one he belongs in, and the human world he tries to make his home in--and this is of his own making.

Ultimately, Storm Front is great fun, and a good read I'd recommend to anyone who likes their detective stories with a pinch of magic.

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