Sunday, 1 December 2013

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

So, I've finally read the first Harry Dresden book, bringing my grand total up to two. My husband assures me they get better, and that's good to hear, because although this was fun, it also did not live up to my expectations, given all that I've heard about these books.

As you all undoubtedly know, this book introduces Harry Dresden, wizard. Who works as a wizard-for-hire, despite being under a suspended death sentence from the Council. For vague crimes in his past. (Okay, they're not that vague, at this point, but I'll refrain from spoilers.) He's an occasional consultant for the police, so he gets called in to a rather gruesome case where hearts have been exploding from chests. One of those chests used to belong to an enforcer for a local gangster, so not only is Harry under pressure to come up with results for the police, the gangster is gently suggesting that perhaps Harry just take a pass on this one.

And all this while Harry is just wanting to get back to his office to talk to his first client in months.

Storm Front does a good job of outlining the world and its rules, and I know the mythology behind this series grows considerably. The two cases intertwine interestingly, and in the best noir fashion. And poor Harry gets the shit kicked out of him, progressively. His dogged determination is impressive.

I liked the fairy and Harry's interactions with him. I liked Harry's complete anti-hero persona. But Bob has not grown on me yet. I remember that character fondly from the brief TV show, but this Bob seems to have only one setting so far - horny. Which is vaguely amusing, but not really enough.

The chauvinism is not so cute, and not really excused by the faux apologetic "I know I'm a chauvinist, so get over it!" or "If it's chauvinistic to treat women well, then I'm a chauvinist." Well no, of course not. What is chauvinistic is to treat women like they're less than capable, while telling me how great they are. And admitting it? Doesn't make it go away. It just means you expect your in-my-face edginess to make me, what? Swoon? Nod, and say "oh, sure, that makes it okay?" "Congratulations?"  Ugh, whatever. Fortunately, it's not so frequent as to really get under my skin, but man, if he keeps excusing his chauvinism with "well, I know I'm chauvinist, but...," that's going to get really old, really fast.

Other people than I have reviewed these books, and with far more knowledge than I. But from the bird's-eye view of an almost complete newcomer, this was fun, vaguely noir, and not quite as engrossing as I was hoping. But interesting and light enough to make picking up the next one nowhere near a chore.

4 comments:

  1. Harry is, emotionally, a teenage boy, especially in the early books. It's not even remotely charming. I always got the impression that in the early books, it is supposed to be.

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  2. Yeah, I feel like it's supposed to be, but I am not even remotely swept off my feet.

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  3. My sister and her daughter had bugged my for years to read these books, so what...6 years ago maybe, I picked up the first four at 1/2 Price. The first one was pretty good, call it a 3 star, although that may be influenced by how much I like the series as a whole now. The second one, I barely made it through. I remember calling my niece and asking if she was SURE that this was worth wading through when I wanted desperately to a) Slap the stupid out of Harry, and b) Choke the bitch out of another character. She assured me it was worth it, and she was so right. I've read them all, some more than once, and am at the bookstore bright and early on release day to pick up each new book as it comes out. I keep thinking that Butcher can't possibly keep up the quality but so far, he has. Many of the more recent books have left my with my mouth hanging open after the last page saying various things like WTF? OMG he didn't just do that? Damn him. When's the next book coming out.

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    1. I will go on eventually - I'm just not in that much of a hurry right now.

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