This is emphatically not how I imagine Harry Dresden...
Storm Front is a very entertaining read, and I shall actually be rather sorry to finish it next week (balance that against how eager I am to be getting on with the story, though). Here are my answers to Carl's questions:
1. What are your thoughts on the pop culture references Butcher includes in his work, largely coming from Harry himself?
Um...gosh...were there? Perhaps, being English, I just failed to recognise them! Shall have to see what other people think...
2. As I finished part two of Storm Front I realized that each section of the book thus far feels like a distinct act in a three act story arc. How do you compare the events in this second section of the book with what happened it part one? Is there a mood or theme or such that you feel is embodied by part two of Harry's adventures?
This section gets really intense - we reached a real high pitch at the end of chapter nine, with Harry's visit to Bianca, and we've just got to another real cliffhanger, and another death. I don't think it's cheating to say that I looked at the start of the next chapter and the first sentence was "Have you ever known despair?" - which seems exactly right, given Harry's situation. Things are really, really bad, and there's meeting the White Council still to come.
3. One of many things Jim Butcher demonstrates in Storm Front is a healthy sense of humor. Share with us your thoughts on one (or more) of the humorous moments in the story thus far.
You've got to laugh at the shower scene - he's not just naked, he's soapy! And then there's an "accident" with a love potion! (I do hope in the TV series he was at least wearing a towel, I'm getting quite maiden-auntish these days.) I think we can expect that, whenever Bob's involved, things are going to go wrong, probably hilariously so.
4. Our hero Harry had disastrous interactions with the women in his life in section two of the book (four by my count). For first time readers, were you surprised by any of these and what are your thoughts? For those who've read the books before, had you forgotten about any of these? If so, or even if not, share your thoughts on Harry's luck with women.
Poor Harry, I'm afraid he's going to turn out to be one of those guys women like to talk to, while they fall in love with someone else. And he's doomed, really - whoever hard of a hard-boiled hero with a comfortable domestic life?
5. A few other popular characters have been brought up in the first round of discussion about Storm Front. What books, films, tv shows, etc. does this story/these characters call to mind and why?
I'm probably a bit short on cultural references here, but I'm not surprised that Firefly came up, because Harry has quite a bit in common with Mal (not being good with women, in particular). But Philip Marlowe's an obvious literary precedent. And I would guess that maybe there's a hint in the series title The Dresden Files that Jim Butcher might have a soft spot for The Rockford Files?
6. For new readers, what is your overall assessment of the story thus far? For re-readers, what have you picked up on this time that you either forgot about or don't remember seeing from your first trip through the book?
I'm managed to forget most of the detail, which is great, because I'm enjoying it all over again. I'd especially forgotten how different the vampires are here - it makes them extra threatening, because they seem really alien. I'm curious, too, about where Harry would draw the line at using his power if it weren't for the White Council.