Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Monday, July 07, 2008

Becka's Impromptu Book Review - STORM FRONT

DH and a few of our good friends have been trying to get me to read the Jim Butcher books for like, ever. DH never thought I would. These books inspired the Sci Fi Channel's awesome (yet cancelled) tv show, The Dresden Files. Funny how these books are also getting noticed not only in the geeky circles DH and our friends frequent, but the romance authors I know as well, as I do know a few authors who are reading them. Perhaps it's the whole "urban fantasy" angle that seems to be the next best thing in romance these days.

Anyhow, I loved the show and was kinda pissed they cancelled it, I'm not ashamed to say. The Dresden books were always a "someday" kinda read for me, because I usually only read the kind of things I write - romance. Yes, I get ribbed for that by friends and family, but it's what I enjoy. If I go out on a limb to read something different, it has to grab my attention almost at the first for me to continue reading.

So finally, when the day came when I actually didn't want to read any of the romances in my TBR pile, I picked up STORM FRONT, the first Dresden book. I read the first chapter, then read the next and the next. Good Lord, after a few chapters, it was like crack! I needed to read more! In fact, Saturday I sat down and read the last half of the book. I love days where you just kick back and read. And I had a blast.

The reason being, I love the character of Harry Dresden. He's a guy I kinda wish were real. The way Butcher writes him, it makes you feel like you're there with him, going through the investigations. It also reads less like a "book" and more like a show or a movie on TV. Many times, the book disappeared, and I was living the action. There's not many books I can say that about, which is why this particular book struck me.

Part of the reason for that is the first person point of view. As a rule, I hate hate HATE first person POV. Why? Well, it always feels either too trite, or like the author is trying too hard to be cool or hip, wanting to tell the story in a new and provocative way. Butcher, on the other hand, pulls off first person POV so flawlessly, that authors should take classes from him. Seriously. If done wrong, first person is painful to read. If done right, it is a joy as it seems to flow naturally, pulling you into the story, and giving you a more "personal" connection to the main character. STORM FRONT could have been written in third person and still been a wildly successful book, however, taking the first person angle was a genius move, making people like me really fall in love with Harry. We're there with him, we're feeling what he feels, seeing what he sees.

DH has told me STORM FRONT isn't even the best Dresden book, and it is probably the "worst" of the bunch, if you can call it the "worst", seen as how, in my opinion, the book was an excellent read. Apparently, there are 11 Dresden books - so far. Holy crap, I'm dying to read them ALL!! :P Even now, I'm about 75 pages into book two, FOOL MOON. It has been a long time indeed since a book has fired me up that hasn't been a romance (hey, no snickering back there).

I have no idea why the fervor for the Dresden books didn't hit when the tv show aired on Sci Fi. That show has been cancelled for what... a year now? And it's only just now I'm hearing everyone talk about the books, from friends and family to the online communities I'm a part of. But I'm glad I gave Mr. Butcher a chance. Not only do I love the plots and the prose, but you get a sense that the author enjoys being a smartass at times. Most authors "write what they know" and put a lot of themselves in their characters. I've got to wonder how much of Mr. Butcher is in Harry Dresden. LOL Let's take a look at one of his author pics:

This guy looks so awesome. I told my DH that I can glean a few things after just looking at this picture.

#1.) He's a geek, through and through. I'd be willing to bet he plays D&D or some MMORG like World of Warcraft or LotR Online. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, since my own DH owns a geek website himself: Dragon Avenue. Perhaps this is why I can just tell Butcher is into that kind of thing. lol Probably a Browncoat. I'd be willing to bet an "original" Browncoat too, who watched Firefly while it aired on FOX.

#2.) I'd be willing to bet he's into computers. If he doesn't know them inside and out, then he at least tinkers, and maybe even has his own server in his closet.

#3.) He's a democrat. Or, at the very least, a liberal.

#4.) He's a smart ass. /obvious

#5.) He probably fricken' LUVS steak.

Am I right? Well, only Mr. Butcher can answer for certain. :P But one thing's for sure; the man knows how to write an entertaining story. And those of us who struggle with ending our chapters should really study how Butcher ends his. I haven't read an author in a LONG time that has me cussing at the end of their chapters because gorramit, I've GOT to read the next one!!!!1

Sure, these books are popular right now, and probably someone you know is reading them. Let me tell you, you don't want to miss these books, especially if you liked the now-defunct tv show. Thank you, Jim Butcher, for the kick-ass entertainment. :) 5 out of 5 stars. And if this is the "worst" book of the bunch, then hot damn, I'm stoked to read the rest!



At 10:23 PM , Blogger Becka said...

Just finished FOOL MOON yesterday. Book II was about werewolves and was just as awesome as the first book, if not moreso.

It was especially eye-opening to see Butcher's take on a loup-garou, a cursed werewolf. You see, shapeshifters and werewolves are actually popular in romances these days. I LOVED the descriptions of Butcher's wolves, their lust for killing, the way the loup-garou's claws ripped up the hallway of the police station like it was soft clay...

Imagery like that is what makes the book(s) so rich, in my opinion.

Now, I'm set to read book III, GRAVE PERIL, about ghosts and spookies. DH says I'll love it, as there's a high and mighty paladin in this one. Woohoo! I'm ready. :P



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