Storm Front – Jim Butcher (TMWTR #2)


About this Book
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the onlyat what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. 

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get interesting. 
First, let me say that this is the second book on my “tell me what to read” list. Let me also say that I’ve already offended at least one person by not enjoying this book. I had no idea I wasn’t allowed to like books. So, please allow me a head start before you throw things at me. I’d appreciate it. 
Harry Dresden is a literary figure I have been hearing about for quite a few years now. Everyone’s been telling me that I simply must read The Dresden files. It’s been an experience.
Jim Butcher knows how to write, and how to tell an interesting story. He has somehow managed to take a genre of overdone, typical characters and molded them into his own, unique vision. Harry Dresden is a narrator that almost everyone, man or woman, can probably relate to. He’s just trying to pay his rent. He is a wizard who has an ad out in the yellow pages. That’s real.
The first fourth of the book really sucked me in. The story was interesting. Butcher really fleshed out his world and because of that it really shines. In fact, Harry Dresdin’s world is the most interesting part of the entire book. It’s populated with neat creatures and colorful tidbits and though nothing in the book is really new, per se, it’s all unique enough to capture my attention and keep me interested. In fact, the world coupled with Butchers simple but effective writing  has the ability to make this book something special.
And then it happened and the tale turned on its head.
Butcher is really trying to do something new here. He’s using a small sized book to lay the foundation for a massive series and that’s probably why I have the problems with it that I have. If the book had been longer, perhaps I wouldn’t take as big of an issue with its flaws, but as it was they glared at me. Suddenly, after a fourth of the book, Butcher seems to realize that he has laid the groundwork for a great story but he needs to catch the reader up on the details of his world. The book suddenly becomes massive, tedious info dumps punctuated by moments of great story.
Usually if an author partakes in the tradition of info dumping they do it in an somewhat interesting way, like in a classroom in Spellwright (by Blake Charlton), but not here. This book is told in the first person and most of these immense info dumps regarding the magic system, world traditions, energy or whatever else are done in a boring, first person inner monologue with absolutely nothing to punctuate it and make it interesting. It really made the book drag and made me appreciate those interesting bits of story a bit less when they did peek through the info dumps.The info dumping doesn’t last the whole book, but if he’s not info dumping Dresdin is having some long and evolved internal dialogue about some observation and then a drawn out explanation of said observation. It just got to be too much for me.

For all the attention Storm Front has, as well as its huge fan base, I was expecting something new, unusual and refreshing but there really wasn’t anything amazingly new in it. Butcher has, however, managed to take old ideas and cliché’s and throw them into a very well done, realistic world. He should be noted for that. If I did have problems with being able to suspend my belief, and some of Dresdin’s actions simply did not make logical sense to me, the world itself was easy to enjoy and the characters in it were colorful and compelling.
I have been told that the series doesn’t really “take off” until book two. In fact, several people have told me that they couldn’t stand book one and now absolutely love the series. I do plan on giving book two a shot. While this book frustrated me, there is potential here. Butcher can write. I love the world he’s created and Harry Dresdin is an everyman type character in the sense that everyone will be able to relate and sympathize with him in some way. There is a diamond in the rough for those who don’t mind slogging through the info dumps and uninteresting internal monologue.

I’ll try out book 2. I’ve been assured on many fronts that it’s far and away better than Storm Front. I feel like I cannot adequately judge the author, or the series off of this book. 
I’m rating this one a very hesitant 3/5 stars.