Jun. 9th, 2009

Storm Front

Jun. 9th, 2009 12:13 pm
greek_amazon: (Ow my head)
Number three!

Just Finished?
Storm Front [Book One of the Dresden Files] by Jim Butcher. (Urban Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? Cause I was sure it was gonna be light reading/fluff, and I got it for free.

Was it Good? Eeeehhhhhnnnnnnn......... *Makes a 'so-so' motion with her hand*

Why? It's got a lot of the problems I associate with urban fantasy (like clich├ęd characters, over-use of one-liners and the feeling that the author is writing in a modern setting in order to avoid doing research rather than because they have a story to tell that can ONLY be told in a modern setting) combined with the fact that the author needs to constantly remind you that his main character is a MAN even if he does less fighting and more Latin than the typical MAN, as though a name like "Harry" would have us thinking anything else. If I thought it was just the character reminding us, I'd be more forgiving, but I get the impression that this is a result of what the author feels he has to point out. [Frankly, after reading this book, I feel like I've learned more about the AUTHOR and his preferences/insecurities than I did about any of the CHARACTERS. This happens now and again, most frequently with fanfiction, and it always makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable while I'm reading.]
Also, the character isn't just a MAN, he's an ANTIHERO - all caps because it feels like the author is driving the point home with a railroad spike to the skull. Likewise, the women in his books are WOMEN (italicized to indicate feminine grace!) even the tough female cop, who is, indeed, a TOUGH FEMALE COP. Personally, I find it frustrating when people write "male" and "female" characters as opposed to just "people." But that's me.
I also felt as though this book was thoroughly under-researched, and I found myself dwelling on incredibly minor things that are so minor as to be useless, but BECAUSE they were such minor things that would take no time to learn about, bothered me even more. (For example, there are companies that clean up after messy crime scenes, and anyone working with the cops would bloody well know that.)

So I basically found this book annoying. But I found it the sort of annoying that I could complain about in an animated fashion, and that, in its own way, is worth the frustration of actually reading the book.
And, as I suspected, the book is light and fluffy, the sort that you can read in the background - you needn't focus all (or even most) of your attention on it.

What's it about? It is about a wizard private investigator who is in the yellow pages and sometimes consults for the police. He is called in on a murder case, one that seems to have magical origins. Inevitably, he becomes involved in the case as more than just an investigator, and HIS LIFE IS ON THE LINE. Oh, and don't forget, he's in the yellow pages. Under "wizard".

Who's your favourite character? Uh, the mob boss, Johnny Marcone. He's the only one that I was even remotely interested in learning about.

Favourite secondary character Johnny Marcone *is* a secondary character.

Would you recommend this book to others? Not really? Maybe if you're looking for fluff, or you're just really bored.

Anything Else? This book is written in first person, and is the sort of book that explains why first person writing tends to have such a bad rap. In the last four pages I felt like I was watching an after school special narrated by a teenager who's learned a valuable lesson about drugs. (Which hey, Harry kind of did!)
I may read more of the books later, because I'm curious to see if they get any better. Likewise, I'm kind of curious about the TV show based on the books - I wonder if it's any better as well. I hope it is.

This certainly isn't the worst book I've ever read (That dubious honour belongs to Projection which was so bad that I made a bunch of my friends read it.) But it's certainly not one of the best books I've read, either.

Up Next?
Not sure. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens maybe, though something by Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, or the Witches of Eilean (sp?) series is probably more likely.

Why? Well, originally Oliver Twist was next on my list, but after book one of the Dresden Files, I feel like I need to read some good urban fantasy (Like Gaiman's Neverwhere) or at least a work/author I know I'll enjoy more than Butcher's work. (I leave you to make your own puns at that.) I can't always count on that with 'classic' stories. There are some I could read a million times over (The Odyssey, The Phantom of the Opera, White Fang to name a few) but there are an equal number that put me to sleep or piss me off.

Hopes? Gotta be better than what I just read.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Nope, since I've listed several books. But if anyone has a preference as to what I should read either because they liked/didn't like it, or because they want to know whether the books is worth picking up (in my illustrious opinion, of course) I'd be happy to hear suggestions. :D


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