Book Review: Jim Butcher’s Storm Front

Posted May 23, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jim Butcher’s Storm Front

Storm Front


Jim Butcher

It is part of the The Dresden Files #1 series and is a urban fantasy that was published by ROC on November 6, 2007 and has 320 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mean Streets, Changes, Side Jobs, Ghost Story, Dark and Stormy Knights, Aftertaste, Hex Appeal, Welcome to the Jungle, Dangerous Women, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Fool Moon, Cold Days, Skin Game, Blood Rites, Death Masks, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Shadowed Souls

First in the Dresden Files urban fantasy series and revolving around a wizard named Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, hey, Dad was a magician. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the The Dresden Files books on my website.

My Take

I love the realism of this with a poor, struggling wizard harassed by regular people who think he pulls rabbits out of hats. In the meantime, he’s a Jack Bauer of the magical world, rescuing our world on an almost daily basis. So, not only is our hero struggling to pay the rent, anything electronic goes on the fritz, and most of the cops he works with think he’s a fraud.

On the plus side, he gets a lot of exercise taking the stairs instead of elevators, lol.

I like Butcher’s explanation of magic. It’s a nice blend of poetry and science. Evocation is one type and “the most direct, spectacular, and noisy form” and requires touch while thaumaturgy is created on a small scale before giving it the energy to become big. It requires something of the target — hair, fingernail, blood. The explanation for how to create a potion was good; not at all info dumpy!

Ya gotta love someone who thinks smiling at people is the best way to annoy them…lol… Ya also have to love Harry’s struggle with the power. It reinforces that magic is neither good nor bad; it all depends on how the witch or wizard uses it. A lot like guns or other types of power. They are neither good nor bad. It’s the person using a gun or power that determines whether the tool is used for good or ill. And, wow, it’s definitely a struggle for Harry, which makes me wonder where all this power is of Harry’s? If he has so much, why does he get drained so easily? I love that his mother came back to help him get back on track, back to magic as a tool to discover, protect, mend, help. Not to destroy.

Huh? That detail about knowing true names certainly does make it much more difficult to create that magical link.

It’s a journey into madness as the story is told of one man’s descent into magic.

The Story

It’s a truly gruesome murder that pulls Harry into the CPD orbit and Harry’s hackles are raised when he gets that oh-so-tempting bribe.

But our Harry has a streak of honor a mile wide, and the offer simply makes him more determined. Until Morgan shows up and threatens him with the White Council — a sure execution unless Harry can find the true killer.

Harry’s caught between three evils. And he’s on his own.

The Council doesn’t like a wizard who publicizes his gifts, and the cops don’t like what they don’t understand.

The Characters

The chivalrous Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a wizard and private investigator who can’t resist a lady in distress, although most of his income is from his consulting gig with the cops. He’s under a Doom of Damocles from the White Council. His monster cat is named Mister. Well, his car, the Blue Beetle, used to be blue… Bob is an oversexed spirit entity which lives in a human skull. He’s tied to Harry for the use of his encyclopedic knowledge of magic. His mother died when he was very young, maybe at birth?? His father, an on-the-road magician and hopeless loser but a dear sweet gentle man, died when Harry was about six.

Susan Rodriguez is a tenacious reporter with the Chicago Arcane, a yellow journal that focuses on the supernatural and paranormal. Toot-toot is one of the lesser faeries and loves pizza. Seems Harry is under much more intense scrutiny that he ever imagined. Donny Wise is a photographer.

Special Investigations (SI) with the Chicago Police Department
Special Investigations is a graveyard division, where cops in bad odor with the powers-that-be are sent to die. SI investigates “any crimes dubbed unusual“. Lieutenant Karrin Murphy is its aikido-trophy-winning director. Harry reckons Karrin has lasted as long as she has because she consults him. Too bad she doesn’t appreciate him more… Detective Ron Carmichael is her second-in-command, and he’s one of those who thinks Harry’s a fake. Howard Fairweather is the city police commissioner.

Mac owns the pub, McAnnally’s, a neutral zone for supernaturals. On-site brewed ale and great food. Don’t expect a jukebox. Too many wizards. Mac has a player piano instead. Mike is Harry’s amazing mechanic who somehow keeps the Blue Beetle running.

Gentleman John Marcone
Gentleman John Marcone is the mannerly thug who survived the Vargassi family dissolution in a most efficient manner with his tiger’s soul. The cops, sort of, like him — he brings order to the criminal world. Tommy Tomm, Lawrence, a.k.a., Gimpy, Spike, and Mr. Hendricks are some of his bodyguards. The Varsity is one of his clubs.

Jennifer Stanton worked for the Velvet Room, a high-priced escort service run by Bianca, a vampiress with a lot of influence. Rachel is/was Bianca’s blood source and secretary. Linda Randall used to work for Bianca; now she works for the dead-eyed Greg and Helen Beckitt who lost a daughter, Amanda, in a cross fire.

Monica Stanton Sells is worried about her missing husband, she says. Victor Sells is caught up in a lot more than Monica reveals. Jenny and Billy are their kids. Kalshazzak is the demon.

The White Council is the governing body of wizards and has jurisdiction over most magical creatures on this side of the Veil. There are Seven Laws of Magic which all supernatural must follow…and Harry is already on parole. A soulgaze is an in-depth look into the soul of another in which all is revealed. Hedge magi are practitioners without enough ability to be true wizards. The narrow-minded Morgan is his Warden, a deadly evocator, ensuring that Harry never breaks one of those laws. Nevernever is the land of Faerie.

ThreeEye is a new drug in Chicago that supposedly allows people to see with their Third Eye.

The Cover and Title

The cover is dark with an off-tilt Chicago behind the fedora-hatted Harry in his black duster and T-shirt. His mother’s silver pentacle is bigger than I had expected, and he’s holding his staff at the ready. It’s a curious color for the font that makes up the author’s name and the title: fuchsia with a white outline.

The title is the key, a Storm Front will presage the next murders.