Book Review

Harry Dresden: Chicago Wizard

“Storm Front: Dresden Files #1,” by Jim Butcher

I listened to the first book of the Dresden series back in January. My husband had read most of the series by the time he suggested we listen to it together from the beginning. We’re now in the middle of “Death Masks” (#5), using Audible and OverDrive (the library app) because we enjoy listening to the narration voice of James Marsters (Spike from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer).

The Main Character

Harry Dresden is a Chicago wizard, who offers his detective services to the magical and non-magical public, including the police force.  He’s a for-himself good guy on probation from the wizard council.  Go figure, he has a dark and problematic past because he was an abused adolescent with more power than he knew how to control.

With the same spirit and attitude of many crime/detective TV shows, we get a main character with special abilities to solve special cases.
In this first book, Harry goes head to head against another wizard. In following books, we see a variety of werewolves, vampires, and fairy creatures.  (Maybe more, but I haven’t read all 15 available books yet).

American Adult Harry Potter?

Some people have related the character, plot, and concept to Harry Potter. In some ways, yes, it’s about a wizard who had magical parents who were killed and he was raised by malicious care-takers, and now works the basic job description of an Auror. I mean, they even share the same first name.
On the flip side, Harry Dresden lives in Chicago (not the UK) and occasionally travels.

The biggest difference between The Dresden Files and Harry Potter is audience and pacing. Where Harry Potter spends an entire year in each book, the time span for each Dresden book is a couple weeks at most. Where Harry Potter starts slow and has exciting events during Halloween, Christmas, quidditch matches, and Final Exams, Harry Dresden usually has two big cases/problems going on at once that never-stop-or-let-up-that-pauses-only-for-steamy-romance-until-the-book-is-finished-and-even-then-there-are-still-problems.
Where Harry Potter gains friends and more tools to help him fight the big bad that gets bigger and stronger, Harry Dresden has everything taken away from him by the always-ridiculously-strong big bad(s) until you seriously wonder how he’ll pull out.

Also, the Dresden Files are definitely written for adults.


For cussing, sexual imagery, and fantasy violence, this series is about the same level of darkness and adult content as the “Supernatural” TV show (high PG-13).
After reading more of the series, my rating for the first book has solidified at ****4 Stars****

Rating: 4 out of 5.

PS. Book 2, “Fool Moon,” is probably my favorite so far, rated at 4.5 stars, because I found the exploration of different types of werewolves fascinating.
PPS. I understand Book 3 is where the series really kicks off with the over-arching plot, so . . . if you want to know what this series is really about, at least read through book 3.
Personally (because I know I’m not in the majority thought here), I might have stopped after book 3 once I figured out the bigger plot. I didn’t fully support Harry’s decision because I’m still half convinced that the girl of interest is evil. But that’s just me. #TeamMurphy

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