Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Audiobook Review: Storm Front

Storm Front (Dresden Files 1)

Written by Jim Butcher
Read by James Masters
My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I'm a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I'm the only one there.
With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters to vampires, while he himself is under suspicion of the crimes. One thing is certain, if he can't stop whoever is on this killing spree, Harry will be the next victim.

In the interest of full disclosure I have read all the Dresden files books previously and think these books are one of the strongest Urban Fantasy series available. However, I have always thought Storm Front wasn’t one of the strongest books in the series – just a good starting point. So when I decided to trial Audible Storm Front is the first book I wanted to listen to, mostly because it is read by James Masters who I have loved ever since he rocked into Sunnydale early in season two of Buffy.

Harry Dresden is an openly practising wizard in Chicago (you can find him in the book) who occasionally consults of the police for those cases of a ‘different’ nature. When he is called to a murder scene, he discovers a couple who have been murdered by a black wizard and has now set their sight on Harry. Harry is a lonely figure with few friends in this book and a lack of social life and the sword of Damocles handing over his head. As a result it is a little difficult to warm to him, but as the story is told in first person we can see the heart behind the quick quips.

Personally I think this particular story works much better in audio than it does in written word, James Masters captures Dresden’s world weariness and cynical perfectly – and this does give more depth to the story. A large proportion of the story is Dresden running around being beaten up or going up against various supernatural threats. Butcher’s take on vampires is scary and different with Madam Bianca coming across as a frightening vamp – in more than one way! The action is swift and exciting, while the magic system is interesting – with plenty more left to explore.

Overall this is a decent start to a great series – brilliantly read by a great narrator. The story is probably only a worth a 7 but I had to add an extra point for the narration!

Recommended for fans of Kevin Hearne and Kate Griffin. 8 out of 10.


  1. As much as I don't like audio books, I would be tempted by James! *grinning* I wonder if he would do more books like that, not only Dresden Files? Sharing the love her, Mel! Lovely review!

  2. I do not know..perhaps cos I have never read a UF book with a male lead, I just do not know if it's my fit

  3. SPIKE!!! Oh I wanna hear this one just for that. :)

    I have this book on my tbr. I so need to push it up the list. I like cynical. Matches me perfectly. ;)

  4. Hang on Melissa! Spike is MINE!

    I've been dying to get this series on audio so I could listen to James Masters as Harry! I've given many an audiobook an extra point when the narrator does an excellent job, and I think your right about James' ability to sink into Harry's character.

  5. LOL! I've heard Spike does this reading. Um, you three Melissa's... Spike is here in my home with me. ;P"" You all lose! :D LOL!!!

    I have to say I wasn't completely gripped with this one, but I will have to keep going in the series, as I'm told it gets better and better. :) Thank you!

  6. This is the only audio book I have ever listened too, and yes it was due to the narator!
    I wasn't sold one the first two books in the series (which I read rather than listened to in the end) but book three has got me a bit more interested so I may have to stick with it!

  7. There's an awful lot of mouth noise on this recording, and to my mind, a little too much of the sigh-y breathing. I like the story, and I like James Marsters, but the extra noise makes this hard for me to listen to