Monday, September 19, 2011

Storm Front Readalong - Week 1

Welcome to week 1 of the Storm Front read along! Before getting into the questions,  I thought I would elaborate on why I decided to participate in this read along which is being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings as part of RIP VI.

It is very unusual for me to reread a book, but this is in fact a reread. The major reason why I decided to join in this time even though I have already read the book is because in amongst the many other series I am reading this one seems to have fallen by the wayside. I originally read both this book and the second book in the series more than three years ago, but it took another year to read the third book and then I haven't read any more even though I had requested the fourth book from the library a number of times. In addition I have read a few short stories that appeared in various anthologies.

I must confess that normally I have a relatively good memory when it come to books, but I apparently didn't absorb a lot because apart from remembering certain characters like Murphy and Bob, I haven't really remember a lot about the plot. I also remembered certain characteristics more than actual characters.

1. What are your first impressions of our main character, Harry Dresden?

One thing I did remember is that I liked Harry. I liked that we had hard bitten detective trope but with the paranormal twist and the humour! Down on his luck in his business, in relation to money and most definitely not hitting home runs with the ladies! Whilst I don't think I would want to drive his car or live in Harry's house with Bob and Mister the cat but I love the idea of them!

So what is it that gives Harry the edge in investigating:

Wizardry is all about thinking ahead, about being prepared.. Wizards aren't really superhuman. We just have a leg up on seeing things more clearly than other people, and being able to use the extra information we have for our benefit. Hell, the word wizard comes from the same root as wise. We know things. We aren't any stronger or faster than anyone else. We don't even have all that much more going in the mental department. But we're god awful sneaky, and if we get the chance to get set for something, we can do some impressive things.

As a wizard, if you're ready to address a problem then it's likely that you'll be able to come up with something that will let you deal with it.

2. In the first section of the book we are introduced to a large cast of characters. Some in support of our main character and others who are involved in the multiple investigations with agendas unknown to us. Are there any of the these characters who stood out to you?

As much as I like the perpetually stressed police office Murphy, it really is difficult for me to go past Bob the sex obsessed skull! I love the back and forth between Harry and Bob and the fact that they really need each other to get ahead (no pun intended). I was kind of surprised at how far into this week's chapters we were before we met Bob! Here's part of his first appearance into the book:

"Tell you what," he said. "Let me out for a ride, and I'll tell you how to get out of it."

That made me wary. "Bob, I let you out once. Remember?"

He nodded dreamily, scraping bones on wood. "The sorority house. I remember."

I snorted, and started some water to boiling over one of the burners. "You're supposed to be a spirit of intellect. I don't understand why you're obsessed with sex."

Bob's voice got defensive. "It's an academic interest, Harry."

"Oh year? Well maybe I don't think it's fair to let your academia go peeping in other people's houses."

"Wait a minute. My academia doesn't just peep -"

I held up a hand. "Save it. I don't want to hear it."

He grunted. "You're trivializing what getting out for a bit means to me, Harry. You're insulting my masculinity."

"Bob," I said, "you're a skull. You don't have any masculinity to insult."

3. Did you ever watch the Syfy channel's Dresden Files TV adaption? If so did it effect how you approached the novel? Were there positive and/or negative differences that stood out to you?

I don't even know if this series was shown on TV here. I certainly don't recall seeing anything about it.

4. Any thoughts on Jim Butcher's magic system, Harry's Watcher, and/or the White Council?

I think that there is a lot more to find out about the world that Butcher is building up here. I like that not unlike Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series, the author has chosen very early on to make it clear that we are not just talking about wizards. I suspect (oh, alright I know) that this gives Butcher plenty of scope to keep on building onto the world thus preventing it from feeling too limited and giving a lot of freedom for future story lines.

I think that the events in Harry's past that have brought him to the attention of the White Council help give Harry a vulnerability that gives a real edge to the action. He knows that he is one step away from disaster a lot of the time and along with the reader is left treading a very fine line between potential 'doom' and certain 'doom'!

5. Lastly, Any guess on were Dresden's multiple plot threads will lead and/or any favorite scenes the first section of the book?

To guess where the final scenes are going would be cheating just a little bit!

In terms of favourite scenes, I really enjoyed the scene at McAnally's with Susan and the barely communicative barman Mac, and also the scene at the lake where Harry enticed Toots to help him out! Toot's enthusiasm about pizza had me smiling to myself:

"Pizza!" Toot cried, jubilant. "Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!" His wings fluttered again, and I tried to blink the damned faery dust out of my eyes before I started sneezing.

"Faeries like pizza?" I asked.

"Oh, Harry," Toot said breathlessly. "Haven't you ever had pizza before?"

"Of course I have," I said.

Toot looked wounded. "And you didn't share?"
Click on the link at the top of the post to see Carl's thoughts and to find links to other people's posts about this first section of the book. I will be back next week with my thoughts about the second section of the book.


  1. I really like the way Butcher handles the whole idea of what it means to be a wizard. I like the fact that Harry has these gifts and skills and yet is a messed up person who doesn't have everything together. It makes for a more interesting story and the character is easier to relate to.

    Bob is great! I'm looking forward to more of the interaction between Harry and Bob as the book goes forward and in future books, assuming Bob stays around.

    Toot is one of my favorite minor characters in the book. I chuckled during his appearance and thought their banter was fun. He's another I hope we see more of.

    Harry is vulnerable and again that relates to my first statement about him being someone the reader can relate to. He is down on his luck as you say but he isn't pitiful. He makes mistakes but isn't a bumbling idiot. I like the balance of the character.

  2. I really enjoy Bob! I can't believe I forgot about him!!

  3. I am still a relative stranger to this series but I have heard rave reviews from my brother in law.

  4. I also really enjoyed Harry's relationship with Bob. I like how Bob tries to loosen him up, help him enjoy life though perhaps Bob is a little too loose for Harry. Harry seems to be quite cautious at least in terms of personal relationships whereas I suspect Bob is the opposite if given the chance.

  5. Yes, the perfect wizard is probably somewhere in between where Harry is at and where Bob is at. :)

    Which makes them fun partners in crime.

  6. I joined in on this reread for many of the same reasons that you did and because I just wanted to start over on this series :) I'm so glad that I did because this book is SOO good and I've been hooked since the first chapter. I already finished the second section and can't wait to see what everyone else thinks about it :)