|I finished Storm Front: Book One of the Harry Dresden Files, and it wasn't quite as good as I had hoped it would be, but it was still quite entertaining. In brief:|
What I liked:
- The setting: I particularly liked Harry's house and office, and his idea about magic affecting complex machines
- The film noir elements combined with traditional wizard-lore
- Butcher's conception of magic and how it works: a little Latin, a staff, some magical symbols, all the things traditionally associated with users of magic
- The action scenes
What I didn't like:
- The brutal and explicit plot elements, which, while mostly necessary to the story, were not really to my taste; I've never enjoyed reading about the seedy side of life in works of literature, and I like it even less in popular fiction; this is most definitely not a book for kids
- The demon/vampire characters: Even in shows like The X-Files I didn't like the stories that revolved around these kinds of characters
- The characterizations of the female characters: most of them were one-dimensional and not very complimentary
- The mob angle: For some reason, shows like The Sopranos or Once Upon a Time in America have never appealed to me, though there are some that I've really liked (i.e., The Godfather, Some Like it Hot); the gangsters in Storm Front seemed almost like Dick Tracy villains
- The mystery plot: If Butcher was aiming at a traditional mystery plot, he violated one of the rules of the game in not introducing a key character until very late in the story
- The writing style: I liked the first person viewpoint, but sometimes it was a bit over the top. I remember the end of one chapter when Harry, battered and bruised, said to the reader, "Do I have a great job, or what?"
As you've probably noticed, most of my complaints against the book have more to do with my own tastes rather than with Butcher's writing. And I have to say that it's significant that I finished the book, so it's definitely not awful. Far from it. It's just not a series that I'm going to be continuing with.
My next book is going to be Declare by Tim Powers. I loved his story The Anubis Gates and I have high expectations for Declare, based on reviews I've read online.
Labels: fantasy, Harry Dresden, mysteries, reviews