“Storm Front” by Jim Butcher (First in the Dresden Files Series)
Publication Date: April 2000
Number of Pages: 336
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at 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 of them 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.
Magic. It can get a guy killed.
Source: Jim Butcher’s web site
I decided to read this book, despite my hesitance at reading first person point of view, because the premise sounded interesting and a lot of people seemed to enjoy it. While I enjoyed the story told and the characters were interesting, the book felt too easy to read and the plot too simplistic. Granted simplistic stories can be fun to read and they fill up time when you’re sitting around waiting for something, and that’s exactly what this one book did. It was a fun story to read and I did like the narrating character. Harry Dresden is a pretty awesome character – a bit of a coward but he does what needs to be done despite his fears. He does whine every now and then about how unfair his life is but stops himself from going on too long and gets on with things.
Unfortunately, I do think the first person point of view lessened my enjoyment of the book. I’ve never been a big fan of first person point of view, simply because I don’t like having such a narrow view of what is going on. It’s also hard to know how much you can trust the characters interpretations of what is going around him or her. As we’re being told something by a character who may or may not be reliable. The phrase “show, don’t tell” is a good one for how to write a story, and by it’s very nature, first person point of view is all about telling us what is happening rather than showing us. I’m sure it works for many, but it’s never been my favorite style.
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be reading the other books in the series. I did enjoy the book and I like the characters, but I’m not sure I want to read more first person point of view. Who knows, maybe I’ll buy them and save them for a time when I want something quick and easy (and fun) to read.