Monday, October 03, 2011

Storm Front by Jim Butcher Read-Along - Part 2 and 3

Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost items found. Paranormal investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment.
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things--and most of them don't play too well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a--well, whatever.

There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.
I was on the ball for reading this book, but I sort of fell behind in posting about it. Today I am attempting to catch-up and answer the questions from last week and the questions from this week. I have to start off by saying that I enjoyed this book a lot more with this read through than I did when I originally read it. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it the first time, but I still haven't read the second book and it has been years. I am hoping to do better this time!

And, now for the questions. These are the ones from part 2, which was last week.

1. What are your thoughts on the pop culture references Butcher includes in his work, largely coming from Harry himself?
I have to admit that while I remember thinking some references were fun at the time, I have actually forgotten about them since. I was just concentrating on other aspects of the book, I guess. I did enjoy that Harry was largely a geek/nerd, so that was enjoyable. I will have to pay more attention in future readings of the Butcher novels.

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?
The first part of the book had a couple adventures, but it was largely the set-up of who Harry was, what he does for a living, and the people that he interacts with on a regular basis. We even met his cat, Mister, and Bob. There were a couple adventures, but it was mostly a set-up. Now Harry is basically screwed and many bad things are happening to him as a build-up for the grand finale. There is a sense of impending doom, but Butcher also manages to work in humour. I have to admit it is not everyday that I read a book where two characters are being chased by a demon and still manage to find reasons to laugh.

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.
Which leads me to this question. One of the scenes that really stuck in my mind is when the demon comes to play Harry a call. He has jumped out of the shower because he just remembered he invited two women over at roughly the same time. He doesn't even take time to dress, so in the midst of the attack he loses his towel. Then, there is the interaction with Bob while this is all going on. Not to mention the mix-up with the potions, which I sort of saw coming. Then, the police show up to bring Harry down for another case and they find their expert naked in the rain. It was a funny scene!

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.
I have to admit that I remembered the basic storyline for this book, but I forgot a lot of the details. I had vaguely remembered that Harry had women problems, but I didn't remember the extent they go to until I read this book again. I mean, Harry meets a vampire and pisses her off so that we get to see what vampires are really like. He has a date with a reporter and winds up making her sick and they have to run away from a demon. He chooses to lie to Murphy, which winds up with him almost being arrested and her almost dying. Then, he meets a woman who is involved in his investigation and she winds up dead. I actually think women might be better off just giving him a wide berth!

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?
When I read this series for the first time everyone was saying that it was basically like Harry Potter grown-up. Now that things have died down in regards to Harry Potter, though, I find that while you could probably compare parts of the book to other books, Jim Butcher still manages to be original.

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?
When I read the book before, I remembered how the case goes and the result. That's about it. I did remember that the books were funny, but I had forgotten all about Bob! I hope that won't happen again. I had forgotten about the great characterization, too. I really hope I manage to read on in the series this time!

Then this is section 3:

1. Were you disappointed that we didn’t get see any more of Bianca and Harry together?
I didn't really think about the fact there was no more Bianca. I am sure she will make a lot of appearances throughout the rest of the series and I really want to read on in this series.

2. We finally get to see Harry go on the magical offensive in this section of the book. Any favorite action moment?
There was a lot going on in this section of the book. We had seen a bit of magic previously, but Harry shows a lot more in this last section of the book. I think my favourite was near the end when he manages to use the handcuffs he is wearing to turn the tide of battle. Here he is with all these powers and it comes down to something anyone can use.

3. How did you feel about where Harry and Murphy’s relationship was at when the book ended?
I am hoping that Harry and Murphy can get to the same place they were at before again. I enjoyed their interactions in the first part of the book and it just won't be the same if they can't get back to that point. At least they are still talking, so that is a start.

4. (This question morphs somewhat into Jeff’s ‘Harry and Murphy’ question, but) How did you feel about the wrap up after the climax, the brief mentions of various characters as part of Harry’s closing narration?
I was really happy that there was a bit of summing up. Bob makes his way back, Mister was neglected, Harry has a successful date, etc. These are the sort of things that other books would probably just leave out because they don't relate to the overall storyline. I hope that all the books in the series have this section.

5. Now that you’ve seen Harry in all three acts of a story arc, what are your thoughts about him as a character, particularly in light of this being a debut novel for the series.
I am very impressed with how developed Harry is as a character for the very first book in the series. Normally with series books they start out a bit rusty and keep getting better. From what I understand, this series does continue to get better, but it starts off really well. Jim Butcher has a good mix of everything and writes great characters overall. I am looking forward to this series really taking off.

6. Any finally, a two-parter: Discuss your overall experience with the book and/or the group read and will you be reading the next book in the series?
I am very happy that I chose to reread this book for the group read. I have always wanted to read on in this series, but it just never seemed to happen. I am happy that I had a positive experience with this book because that will make it a lot more compelling to tackle this rather long series. I am glad it was a group read, too. It was fun reading everything that people had to say about the book and think about things in a different way. Thanks for hosting it, Carl and Jeff!

To read my thoughts from Part 1 of the discussion, click here.

Now, I am off to celebrate my birthday. Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day!


  1. Have a wonderful day today, Kelly!!

  2. This sounds like a fun book for a group read!

    Happy Birthday :)

  3. Happy Birthday! Hope you day was great.

  4. **Michelle: Thank you!

    **Trish: Thanks!

    **carolsnotebook: Thank you!

  5. Happy Belated Birthday!!!!

  6. **Care: Thank you!


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