Storm Front (The Dresden Files Book One) – Jim Butcher
One of the dangers, for me, of reviewing a series of books is that I read so quickly that by the time I’m ready to write a review I have to review them all in one fell swoop. I won’t do that with The Dresden Files: firstly, because the way they are written demands a review per book to avoid spoilers and secondly because I’m going to make myself do it properly.
This is the debut novel in the series. Harry Dresden (Harry Copperfield Blackstone Dresden, conjure by it at your own risk) is the only wizard/private investigator in the Chicago area. He’s also the only wizard in the Yellow Pages. He is at constant risk of eviction, he’s under threat of death from his own side and he’s also managed to put himself in the way of a black magician, the Chicago police and a bunch of vampires. All that and a new drug hitting the streets which gives the addicts access to their third eye. Luckily, his friends have his back.
This is an excellent intro to the series, Butcher manages to give us backstory in small doses so that we can follow along without getting fed up. The characters are pretty well fleshed out and we understand and empathise with their motivations. Every action taken is logical within the constraints of the story and you find yourself waiting for the end with bated breath.
Merging magic, detectives and all things that go bump in the night could have gone two ways. Butcher has managed to make it work extremely well. He is also a very patient writer (as we’ll see in later books): he is happy to set up a story yet to come in a book and then wait to spring it on us 2 or 3 books down the line – enough time to wonder what’s coming, not enough time to forget that it is coming.
I would heartily recommend this whole series. Jim Butcher has included sex into the books without falling into the trap of making the whole book about sex and turning readers off him. The writing is simple, intelligent and elegant. The motivations of the characters are easy to get behind. Above all, the book is very very entertaining.
Author’s website: http://www.jim-butcher.com/