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New and Absorbing
am 3. Juli 2000
A problem with the fantasy genre, and one many have acknowledged quite freely, is a general sense of redundancy in just about any book you see these days. "Storm Front," the first book from new author Jim Butcher, addresses those concerns head-on and introduces a new setup that pulled me in at the start and kept me from getting sleep until I had finished.
The premise is simple enough: Harry Dresden is a wizard who acts about like a gumshoe. He uses his magic for harmless things, mostly, and finds things for people. But when he sets out to find a missing husband, and to solve a double homicide involving black magic, you can bet there's going to be some amazing action.
Amazing action is what makes this book so absorbing, as it turns out. There are several scenes that will stay with me for a long time. Not since Dean Koontz's "Darkfall" has a single scene brought me so close to the edge of my seat as some of the scenes near the end of "Storm Front."
None of that would matter, though, were it not for the incredible cast of characters. They all come to life in a way you wouldn't expect from so short a novel (well, considering the genre). Each character is different, not just someone that feels like he or she was cut from a cardboard box. I loved Bob, the talking skull with an appetite for sex. And Murphy came across as a real person. So did everyone else. The human motivations motivated me to keep going. I really couldn't set this book down until I finished it, at some point just after midnight.
If Jim Butcher continues to deliver fiction like this-and I truly hope he does-then the genre has just found another master. I recommend "Storm Front" to anyone who wants to lose themselves to a humorous, action-packed variation of the modern world for a few hours. Better than a good movie.