Storm Front (Dresden Files Series #1)

Storm Front  - Jim Butcher What I liked:The character of Harry was undoubtedly a huge asset here. As either wizard or a gumshoe he is presented as that ungainly, hapless guy with a good, dark sense of humour and a horrible sense of fashion (a duster, jeans, a t-shirt and cowboy boots sum it well). He knows his magic and spells but he is forever forgetting this and losing that, dropping his staff or getting ambushed by bad guys just because he stopped to phone or have some coffee. It doesn't help that he has a tad of a hero complex– a damsel in distress will be always his priority over such trifles as earning a living. What’s more, Harry has a rather self-defeating chivalrous attitude about women, and a seriously horrible track record with dating. Not to mention his bad luck with machines of any kind. Overall it's easy to empathize with his circumstances.The narration flowed easily and the book was very easy to read with lots of action. The criminal mystery was presented in an interesting way – neither very difficult nor too easy to solve – but the best, the most funny, although still a bit scary part was for me poor Harry’s Saturday night date. I couldn’t help laughing out loud! I liked the world building as well - in the course of his investigation, Harry runs into all kinds of supernatural beasties, including faeries, demons, a vampiress madame, and constantly growing creepy scorpions. Add in Harry's hilarious assistant, Bob, an air spirit with an overactive libido who lives in a human skull and just a dash of romance and you have the recipe for a good, relaxing summer read.Titillating factor:Harry is one coy wizard with too little time and/or social skills for dates and whatnots but I suppose he is willing to learn (or, at least, read a guide). Not to mention the fact that he has stacks of different pink, frilly romance books in his office ;). However, do not despair fair ladies, there is still some innuendo here and there - like one very hot vampiress-madam, owning an luxurious establishment of disrepute, and of course that pair caught so to speak in the very heat of things right at the beginning....What I didn’t like:Magic was a bit dumb here (mangled Latin spells and alcohol-based potions somehow failed to persuade me) and the language was overblown from time to time. Also the secondary characters lacked some depth - we’ve seen them all in other books and movies- the hard-nosed, divorced lady cop, her skeptical, deliberately scruffy partner, the well-spoken, suave mob boss, the silent barman, the nosy, attractive reporter, and a rich, desperate housewife with dark secrets…pity the author couldn’t mix their features a bit better. Especially females I found rather flat, as their reactions seemed to be limited to fear, anger, and horniness. Well, this might improve with the rest of the series. We’ll see.Finally there was one thing about Harry Dresden which made me slightly annoyed with him at the end of the book. The guy was simply too lucky - he should have died several times wandering totally unprepared into dangerous situations and doing stupid things over and over again. A hero who survives by the skin of his teeth or by dumb luck every 50 pages or so can lose a lot of credibility in the process even if he is a wisecrack in a positive way. Final verdict:If you like urban fantasy and detective stories with flawed but funny heroes (like, say Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake), this blending should suit you fine especially as a light summer read. I admit that Mr. Butcher has potential so I am willing to continue this series to find out more about Harry and his world. I am not sure I will read the whole series, though.