Here’s another book I read some time ago — back in June, in fact. It’s one I’ve often heard mentioned in the fantasy sphere, so I decided to finally try it when I was at a loss about what next to borrow from the library.
Dresden Files, book 1
Storm Front is urban fantasy and the first novel in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. It follows a wizard for hire named Harry Dresden (Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, to be exact), who uses his wizardly skills to help people find things… or other people. I thought of him as a wizardly private investigator. He even pitches in at the Chicago police department sometimes. For this story, he’s helping a woman find her husband, who seems to have gotten mixed up in some dark magic doings, and helping his detective friend (a woman whose name I forgot) solve a series of grisly murders that seem to point to Harry as the probable perpetrator. (Goodreads)
As far as the plot goes, that’s as much as I can remember in the five months or so since I read it. The story was interesting while reading, but I completed the book feeling underwhelmed by it and not liking the protagonist or the writing much. The protagonist, especially, was unappealing. I think it’s because of how he’s portrayed. I think the attempt was to make him likable, but instead he came across as quite sexist. The supporting characters didn’t stand out much, and I did not like how the women are portrayed. I often rolled my eyes reading their descriptions, which also included their type of makeup, sometimes described as “of sufficient quality” (what does that mean?).
The part of the story that almost made me give up reading it was the bit where Harry had to save himself and a woman by remaining inside a wizard circle (something like that). For some reason they were both naked (if I remember correctly), and the woman was highly turned on and trying to copulate with him despite the danger and scary situation they are in. The entire thing was over the top and made no sense within the narrative. I was just deeply annoyed by it all.
So, yeah, I didn’t have a great reading experience with this, as I thought I would. However, although I didn’t get as much worldbuilding as I would have liked, I was a bit intrigued by the fact that it is a detective fantasy story and there was a spark of interest when the fairy Toot and Bob the Skull popped up. Plus, despite its failings, I know that if this was a TV show, I would have been hooked, and this is also Butcher’s first book (I think), so I think I’ll give the series another go and will read the second book, when I get it from the library.
A popular urban fantasy that wasn’t as enjoyable or entertaining as I thought it would be.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
I intend to continue with the series for now just because I’m still a bit curious, but it’s not one I can recommend. However, many people like it, and I’ve seen it mentioned that it gets better several books later, so… those are things to consider too.