Jim Butcher’s Storm Front: “Book One” of the Dresden Files

This week I will be reviewing a book that was an impulse buy: Jim Butcher’s Storm Front: Book One of the Dresden Files. Storm Front follows the exploits of Harry Dresden, a private eye who experiences more of the world in one day than most people even realize exists. Dresden is a professional wizard, who uses his talents to solve crimes that extend beyond the mundane. Naturally, the majority of humanity has absolutely no idea that the supernatural world (vampires, werewolves, warlocks, ect.) exists, so Harry’s work is sort of an underground movement. When a woman comes to Harry’s office to ask for his assistance in finding her husband, a beginning magician, Dresden soon finds himself deep in a crime ring that almost certainly doesn’t have humanity’s best interests at heart.

Jim Butcher does a very good job with Storm Front. I have read instances of authors’ tying to mix fantasy with modern crime/mystery, and they rarely work. In this case, Butcher has created what is simply one of the coolest premises for a novel I have read in a long time. In terms of writing, Butcher does the job well enough. It isn’t going to leap off the page at you, but the writing and development is solid, and accomplishes the goal of accurately informing the reader. The real gem in Butcher’s work is the imagination he has obviously utilized to make Dresden’s world. The big, fantastic concepts are all there: orders of wizards, temptation, greed, ect. It’s the little details that pull it all together. An example would be how Dresden has a tough time around any mechanical technology. Magic is a sort of machination in and of itself, so it tends to disrupt human engineering and make it act erratically. The actual detective elements of the novel are also well thought out, and are inter-mixed with the supernatural elements of the book in a realistic way (Think of the show “Supernatural” without the Impala, and replace the Winchester brothers with a wizard). Will readers be pouring over Butcher’s word choice for generations? Perhaps not. I, for one, certainly hope that following generations of writers incorporate some of Butcher’s ideas and thematic elements into their work. If you like fantasy that may not be so “heavy” as the A Song of Ice and Fire series (George R. R. Martin), or you like mystery and detective novels, then check out Jim Butcher’s Storm Front: Book One of the Dresden Files. It has enough of both genres to, ideally, pull in both sets of readers.

Source: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer