Monday, 19 September 2011

Storm Front group read - week 1

Last week was week 1 of the group read of Jim Butcher's Storm Front for the RIP VI Challenge. I read some of this fun series, the Dresden Files, a while ago, and then kind of lost the thread, so I'm really happy to start again at the beginning (I'm a great one for starting over). Although I've got some scenes from later books in my head, I really don't remember too much of the plots by now - for instance, I honestly don't remember who makes it through to book 2!

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

I like the way he tries to be hard-boiled and never quite succeeds. You know pretty quickly that he’s a really soft touch and doesn’t mind being one, despite all his protestations. But he’ll carry on trying to persuade himself nonetheless. Oh, and you've got to have a good coat to be a hero, and Harry takes his seriously.*

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 these characters who stood out to you?

I’ve fallen for Mister the cat, of course, and Bob the Skull. Bob is a brilliant way of getting round the need for a reliable source of information! But I’m always wary of animal characters – authors too often decide that it’s okay for bad things to happen to them just as you get really attached, and I do hope that’s not going to be the case here. Karrin Murphy is obviously set up to be an important character, too.

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’ve got the series on DVD, to watch when I’ve finished reading the books it relates to. I am really hoping that I’ll like it!

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

The magic is very much the old-fashioned kind: the rules aren’t so clearly defined that contradicting them will become an issue, and the reader is not going to get hung up on checking for consistency. At the same time, it’s defined enough so that the author can’t just do anything, there’s got to be an internal logic to it, and I approve of that. The Watcher is obnoxious, but believable, and the White Council fits well with our preconceptions of a world where magic is part of the nature of things. An all-powerful wizard without the constraints of Watcher and Council would get dull to read about, I think.

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

I’m not going to go down the where-will-it-lead route because I’ve read Storm Front before (albeit ages ago, and I really can’t remember that much detail) but I do like the scene with the fairy Toot-toot, with both Harry and the fairy playing their roles to the hilt. And there’s something oddly compelling about the potion-making – is it because I like reading cookery books, I wonder?

I’m really looking forward to getting on with the story…

* my son's got Vash the Stampede's duster from Trigun - I'd kill to have one like it, except that I would look ridiculous, it's one of those that you need to be over six foot and incredibly skinny to wear...


  1. John Barrowman says the coats are actually known as 'hero coats'... and he should know. LOL.

    I loved Bob the Skull too. Must get book 2 from the library as I'm assured the books just get better and better.

    Cath @ read_warbler

  2. I like it when enough time has passed since I've read a book that I can re-read it and be surprised at parts all over again.

    I like what you say about the magic system and couldn't agree more. I am happy that I don't have to sit and takes notes to understand the system's structure and yet it has enough of a structure to keep things interesting. No one is all powerful.

    Bob is great and I hope he stays around for a long, long time. And I would hate to see anything happen to Harry's cat. That would just be too cruel.

    I think Harry is perfect. He is not too smart for his own good, does get himself into trouble but is resourceful, does need help and cannot do everything himself. He is cocky but not so much that he is annoying because he also has an "aw, shucks" quality about him. Very impressed with the way in which Butcher has written Harry.

  3. Bob is such a great character! I had a lot of fun with him. :)

  4. Hi-in response to a kind suggestion you made on my blog-can you suggest any short stories by John Buchan I could read, hopefully online-thanks very much

  5. I like the questions and answers. This made for such interesting reading.

  6. I like your thoughts about the magic system. I like the potion making too, especially as he seems so dependent on Bob to do it. Not that he can't do it, just its so much faster with Bob. Or so he says. :)

  7. I too like that there are some things that Harry can do and some that he needs help with in order to do either more quickly or to do right, since Bob has so much stored knowledge. Will be fun seeing Harry tap into the Skull-net in the future for other potions, because Bob is a riot.

  8. Cath, I had to google about hero coats which meant much too much time reading the Torchwood page on Wkikpedia :-)

    Carl, I do hope Mister will be okay - I may never forgive Butcher if not. One of my favourite crime writers had a detective who had cats, and something bad happened well into the series. I was devastated.

    Kailana, I think he gets better and better!

    Mel u: I answered over on your blog; for others who might be interested, I recommend The Moon Endureth, a collection available at Gutenberg and other places. For individual stories I think The Moon of Astaroth is quite representative. I think I posted about it here somewhere.

    Nan, it's a great way to compare reactions. I like this format.

    Elizabeth, I think it really adds to the atmosphere when we have that kind of detail about the everyday bits of a magic system.

    Carl, yes, there's loads of potential there, isn't there? We get a real feeling of back story about Harry and his world.

  9. I'm hoping to hear what your thoughts are on the series if you watch it. I never watched it myself but must admit that I'm curious :)