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Saturday, September 08, 2007

cover of Storm Front

Harry Dresden is a working wizard (at one point he calls himself a blue-collar wizard), listed in the Chicago phonebook-- not for parties or entertainment, but to use his power to help people, find lost items, etc. He also consults with the police on unusual cases, and this book finds him getting drawn into the investigation of a gruesome double murder which his own people (the White Council) think he may have committed. The book is narrated by Dresden, and at several points he talks about a wizards' perception; he's careful not to meet people's eyes, because if he looks for too long he sees into their soul and they see into is his, which apparently can be quite a shock. He also recognizes the non-human creatures around him that normal people don't see (and are generally safer because they don't know). When he's thinking about the power and movement in a storm going on, he gets an insight that opens up the case he's working on-- he realizes that the dark wizard he's trying to find is harnessing the raw power of the storm to do his dirty work.

An engaging story with an interesting mystery, and sub-plots that connect in fairly believable ways. I like the way the otherworld of magic and monsters is integrated into the regular life of Chicago. But sometimes it wasn't the magic that strained my credulity. In one long scene Dresden is fighting for his life against a demon summoned by the dark wizard he's trying to track down-- but the whole time he is supposed to be naked, with shampoo suds running down from his air into his eyes (he jumped out of the shower suddenly and grabbed a towel, but he loses it pretty quickly), and then of course the lady friend that is trapped in his house accidentally drinks a love potion (which is really more of a lust potion) instead of an escape potion. I'm not sure why this bothered me so much-- it just seemed completely superfluous and unnecessary. It doesn't advance the plot any, it doesn't really convey anything about Dresden's character (is it supposed to make him tougher that he survives in spite of these facts?).

Not a perfect book by any means, but it's a fun read and a great idea to stick a wizard in the middle of Chicago. I'll probably read more Dresden Files sometime.

Title:Storm Front
Author:Jim Butcher
Date published:2000
Genre:Contemporary Fantasy
Series:The Dresden Files
Number of pages:322


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