Science Fiction Book
Distributed By: Roc
Click Here To Buy Now: Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)
Reviewed by Ismael Manzano
A couple of weeks ago, I heard through the grapevine of a new science fiction series called the ‘Dresden Files,’ coming to the Sci-Fi channel. It seemed interesting enough, but what caught my attention was when I found out that the series was based on a series of books by Jim Butcher, the first of which is called Storm Front. Being the curious and avid lover of fantasy books that I am, I decided to read the book first before watching the show for the now famous and highly revered 'First Impressions' segment.
Storm Front, follows the life and adventures of Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, practicing wizard, part-time police consultant and essentially, a private investigator. Harry’s life at the beginning of the story is relatively normal; he’s nearly broke from lack of legitimate cases, every piece of electric and mechanic equipment that he comes in contact with, sooner or later, malfunctions, and the White Council—a ban of elderly wizards in charge of overseeing the behavior of all wizards—doesn’t trust him. In fact, for the murder of his former mentor, Dresden has been assigned a guardian, Morgan, who has been charged with the task of reporting to the Council any violations of the Laws of Magic by Dresden. The sentence for breaking any of the Laws—death. Not exactly fair, in Harry’s opinion, since the murder he’d committed was done so in self-defense against a dark wizard who was trying to recruit him into a war against the Council. And Morgan is all too happy to wait for Harry to make a mistake and carry out what he believes is a well-deserved and long overdue sentence.
Storm Front, sees Harry Dresden pulling double duty, investigating, for the police, a brutal double murder in which both victims’ hearts had been ripped from their chests mid-coitus while at the same time, for a client named Monica Sells, looking into the disappearance of Victor Sells, husband, father of two and recent dabbler of magic. Two simple cases quickly become less simple when it turns out that one of the two exploded bodies was the favorite thug of Chicago’s most prominent gangster, Johnny Marcone who ‘warns’ Dresden not to investigate his bodyguard’s death, all the leads on Victor Sells abruptly falls flat, Murphy, the detective who hired him as a consultant begins to suspect Harry of the murders, and the only way to figure out how these murders were accomplished was to recreate the spell himself—an act which could potentially earn him a death sentence from the trigger-happy Morgan.
Things gets even more dicey when his only lead in the murders ends up with her own personal whole in her chest and someone is sending thugs, poisonous bugs and summoned demons at him to stop him. As things come to a head, Harry is left surrounded by looming doom on each side, with Morgan itching for his head, a warrant for his arrest on another side, and the killer with a lock of Harry’s hair—a powerful weapon for a practitioner of magic—ready to rip his heart out too on another side. Can Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, practicing wizard survive the killer’s intentions and prove his innocence with the police and the White Council before it’s too later?
Overall, I really liked this book. The first person prose was well written and very conducive to the effectiveness of the gumshoe narrative. Butcher builds the suspense and draws the reader in with razor-sharp precision and accuracy. The magical elements in the story were not overly done, not campy—like I thought it might be—and the rules Butcher puts in place in his world really help to ground the characters. Somehow Butcher makes a character that carries a pendant around his neck, two bracelets on his wrists, a rod and a staff—all magical—likeable without being hokey. I’d recommend this book to any fan of science fiction novels.
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