Monday, September 19, 2011

Storm Front Group Read, Part 1

It's time for Carl's R.I.P. Challenge VI.  One of the novels he is doing a group read for is Jim Butcher's "Storm Front".  It is a novel I have read, and enjoyed, before.  I liked it enough that I wanted to participate so I am re-reading it.

Following the page break are my answers to the first set of questions.

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

I could not help but draw comparisons between Harry Dresden and Harry Potter.  I have not read any of the Potter books but have watched the movies.  Eventually, I plan on reading J. K. Rowling’s series.

Some of the similarities:
     1. Dresden and Potter are both wizards.
     2. Both interact with the modern world. The main difference here is that Potter spends a lot of          time at Hogwarts while Dresden is in the city.
     3. Both are facing an evil force that they do not understand.
     4. Both are involved with a council that watches over the wizards.
     5. Both characters will do what they feel is necessary whether or not they are obeying the rules.

Does this mean that one is a copy of the other?  Definitely not.  The Dresden Files features the journey of an adult wizard while Potter focuses on the heroes journey from youth through adulthood.

The other character who bears some similarity to Dresden is Marvel Comics’ Dr. Strange.  The main similarity is the city dweller who solves magical mysteries and battles evil.

The storytelling and atmosphere is reminiscent of the writing of Roger Zelazny.  This is high praise as not many authors can successfully combine the fantastic with the noir storytelling style.  It puts Butcher in the running for my favorite current fantasy writer.
Harry is a classic character who will be fun to follow as the series progresses.  I look forward to reading all of the Dresden Files.

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?

The White Council is the one that intrigues me the most.  I thought all of the characters were interesting but I want to learn more about the Council.

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 watched one of the episodes but it was not enough to keep me interested.  At some point I will probably watch the rest.

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

I like a magic system where the character has to work.  In too many novels, anyone can do magic with no consequences.

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

The Bianca/Harry confrontation has to be a favorite.  Butcher keeps the reader on the edge of his seat during this scene.  I can’t wait to see how it continues.


Carl V. said...

"not many authors can successfully combine the fantastic with the noir storytelling style"

I agree and I really like it when they do. I think Butcher does a nice job merging these in an entertaining way that stays just this side of being too campy or too much like pulp fiction while giving a nod to the parts of those that make them popular still today.

I too like a magic system that makes folks work and has consequences. Nicely put. It makes everything have more weight and feel more like real life, which fantasy needs to have a good foundation in to work well.

I'm with you on Bianca and Harry. Loved that whole chapter. Had my heart pumping and makes me want to see them together more.

Elizabeth Bauman said...

I like your comparisons of Dresden and Potter. That hadn't occurred to me before, but I'm sure I'll notice it more now.

I also enjoyed (not sure that is the right word) the scene with Bianca. Butcher does a great job on those tense moments.

GeraniumCat said...

I hate magic systems where it just happens! So I really enjoyed the potion-making, and I thought about Harry Potter while I was reading it (because I always liked those scenes there, too) but I hadn't thought through all the other links, including, of course, that though magic is a part of the everyday world, it's a largely unacknowledged one.

Carl V. said...

I don't necessarily mind it when magic just happens, but when I think about it those are primarily in stories where the magic isn't the focus. I'm thinking LOTR for example. But in stories like this one I am in agreement, I like that there is a process, that it is explained at least somewhat. And I hadn't thought about it until just now, but I really like the old-fashioned feel of the use of potions as part of the magic.

samantha.1020 said...

You've got to read the Harry Potter books at some point!!! SOOO GOOD!! The comparisons that you made between the two were very interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing what you think about the 2nd section.