Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Dresden Files - The Book

I finished Storm Front, the first of the Dresden series and I've got to say I'm a quite disappointed. Story was good and it was well written, nice flow to it and easy to read, I like that and hate books I have to plow through. Use of magic was well done, especially when he wrapped some sunlight in a napkin then pulled it out when being attacked by a vampire. The sunlight burned her and saved Harry's life, quite clever.

What disappointed me was the character, the way Jim Butcher writes him he's a total loser who makes a mess of everything and manages to succeed - and stay alive - by sheer luck more than anything else. Twice people sneak up on him and beat him up. What good is it to be a wizard if people can sneak up on you? In both instances Harry should have died and didn't through no effort of his own. When he gets in a battle the first thing he does is lose his staff so he can't fight well, and he spent half the book dressed in sweatpants and cowboy boots because he didn't have anything else to wear. Not a good image.

If I hadn't been watching the TV series and already liked Harry because of the excellent job Paul Blackthorne does I might not even have finished the book. As it was I wasn't sure if I was going to buy another one, but eventually decided I would just to see if he makes Harry any more competent in the future. I can understand him not wanting to make a wizard character too powerful and to keep him more human and vulnerable but he went too far in the other direction to the point that I had to wonder how a doofus like this ever became a wizard. Then he'll suddenly have Harry doing amazing deeds of awesome power. Very inconsistent. But, like I said, I will buy the second book to see what he does with Harry next time - when I get around to it. No real rush.


pips said...

Wow, I didn't think I'd find somebody who had exactly the same sentiments about Storm Front as me, given as how a lot of people are raving about it! I got into Dresden via the show - I love Paul Blackthorne and followed him from 24 to Dresden. Then found out the show was based from a book series. So I thought, if they're making a TV show out of a book, the book must be really good, so I started reading Storm Front. I was halfway through the book when I realized I was getting a bit annoyed - Harry was supposed to be a PI, but he wasn't doing any real investigating. Things more or less come to him without him needing to do much. Magic was a convenient way to solve problems. And as you said, he accomplishes whatever he needs to do via sheer luck. He also gets beaten a lot, and comes across as a wimp (to me)most of the time - something that vexes me, but which apparently appeals to a lot of readers. They find it endearing in that this shows that Harry's just a "regular guy".

I decided to go ahead and read the second book, Fool Moon, thinking it might get better, because I heard that the first was the least of the series. Well, the second is much like the first. Lots of luck, convenient magic, no real investigating, and Harry gets even more beat up. I suppose the book should have been labeled a comedy because the hero just bumbles and stumbles his way to victory. So having said that, I think you may be disappointed with Fool Moon as well, but that is only my opinion. Fans have said, however, that the books get progressively better, but I don't know exactly what that means for Harry's character. My guess is he does become more powerful.

I am still trying to get myself to read the third, but it will probably be some time. I do love the show however, and enjoy it more than the books. Paul Blackthorne can do no wrong for me, and I just love TV Harry and TV Bob together.

KevinBBG said...

Thanks for the comments, Pips, we are in complete agreement. I think I'll still read at least two more of the books just to see what Butcher does with Harry.

For some really good books in the same genre you should try Kim Harrison's witch series which starts with "Dead Witch Walking."

Wendy said...

I watched the show and then a co-worker lent me the books. He lent me Fool Moon (book 2) first though. I read it, then book 3. I just read Storm Front and it was not as good as books 2 and 3. Maybe try one more book before dumping the series? I find the books entertaining, but they are different from the TV show, including Harry. Harry's living more on the ragged edge in the books, especially going into Book 4, which I just started.

KevinBBG said...

Thanks, Wendy, I will prob ably keep reading them to give it more of a chance, but if I hadn't seen the TV show first I doubt I would have liked it as much.