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Storm Front

The Dresden Files, Book 1
Narrated by: James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (884 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I'm a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I'm the only one there.

With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt. Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters to vampires, while he himself is under suspicion of the crimes.

©2000 Jim Butcher (P)2002 Buzzy Multimedia

What listeners say about Storm Front

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An Eager Start

I had heard a lot about the Dresden Files, it was highly recommended to me by my friends with the advice that it may be slow to start but the series pays off in the long term. I found I actually thoroughly enjoyed the first book and am looking forward to the rest. The plot gave a good grounding point for the stories to come and it introduces Dresden almost like a layman, if not for his power it isn't too hard to imagine him as just like anyone else, at the same time he isn't crazily powerful, nor does he suddenly just have destiny dumped on him, he's a regular office worker, except in magic and he's a private eye... and he doesn't have any money.
The narrator was what truly tied it all in for me. I considered it a stellar performance, it was the same as Daniel Radcliffe being the perfect image of the young harry potter we all had in our minds on reading the philosophers stone for the first time. The voice just clicked into place, to me James Marsters is Harry Dresden. I also appreciated the effect that not editing the narrator, to cut out his breathing and the sounds he made when he opened his mouth, had on the story. It legitimately made it seem as though the story was being recorded by dresden after the case. At the same time it also gave me a sense of presence, it was though I was sitting in a room with Marsters casually reading a book which I thouroughly enjoyed.
If you don't read the rest of the review at least read this, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to ANYONE.

10 people found this helpful

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Interesting creation

Overall this book was pretty enjoyable, it integrated and explained this mixed world that included wizard. It was fairly well-paced and interesting.
The one thing that I disliked about this book was that with the introduction of every single female character he had to mention their appearance, and whether or not they were attractive and feminine and the tone the performer used was very off putting and uncomfortable.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Written for a younger audience

I tried and wanted to get into this book but just couldn't, the writing style seems to be for a younger audience (I expect mid-teens) and the character's manner is inconsistent. I gave up half way through, there is a lot going on in the story but very little progression.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lee
  • 14-07-2016

Is James Marsters bored?

I love the story, don't get me wrong, but the effort from James Marsters isn't what I expected. I feel like he's whispering his lines in places and theres no effort put in when the character is supposed to be yelling something. the recording isn't great either. Too much swallowing and other mouth noise.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator too hard to listen to

This was a series I enjoyed reading. A likeable hero and interesting characters and plot. Unfortunately this narrator is monotonous to listen to and puffs and pants between sentences. I couldn’t finish listening to the book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Mostly Dreadful

Some good moments and funny (unintentional) slapstick. But: cliche ridden, mysogonistic, overblown, wooden characters, predictable. I enjoyed the reading style, even the heavy breathing.  

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Listen, Sweet Story, Nice Tight Plot

I can't believe the author wrote this as a joke it's so damn good. can't wait to start the next one

1 person found this helpful

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Great fun. Looking forward to the next book. 😊<br />

Really enjoyed this book and I'm starting the next one now. Highly recommended to all.

1 person found this helpful

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Always Go

loved it. couldn't stop listening to it. very Film noir / pulpy usually I'm not here into either, but somehow it works here.

1 person found this helpful

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A dull story

The book is boring and it's difficult to get into when the mouth noises from the narrator haven't been edited out. There's lots of sighing and lip smacking. It was painful.

5 people found this helpful

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  • John Morrell
  • 25-05-2019

Thoroughly Boring

I've heard a lot of great things about the Dresden Files and for all I know it gets much better in the later books but I found this book sooo boring and kind of obnoxious. 1. Writing feels very poor. Lots of cliché, weak character, and personally I found a lot of the trends very obnoxious. For example, every time Dresden meets a female character, she's described in this weird sort of sexual way as though Dresden is a really insecure lonely teenager. The pace is slow, soooo slow. It just drags along with piles of uninteresting details. 2. The narration drove me mad. There is a ton of sort of mouth noises, the sound of his spit or lips clicking and him breathing in loudly, I could barely stand it. And since the whole book is in first person every line is very over acted, the cadence and rhythm lurches around like a amateur theatre actor's reading the whole thing. I'm listening to it now and I swear if he swallows audibly one more time I'm going to scream.

24 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bill Maurer
  • 09-04-2015

Good story! Annoying narrator

It was a good book, but the narrators heavy breathing got really old really fast. Listen if you can manage.

40 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Radish Bliss
  • 30-03-2012

STOP SLURPING THE MIC!

What didn???t you like about James Marsters???s performance?

I swear that this reader has a chicken bone in his mouth through the entire book. And if he's not eating something, he is thinking about it. And now that I've said something, that is all you will be able to hear too. You're welcome! Does he slurp? SNIFF? Salivate, and then eventually swallow it all? You betcha!! But, the story is so cool that I'll have to listen to it all again. Sick!

68 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • KP
  • 06-10-2013

WRONG Combo of Story and Narrator

I wanted to like the main character, Harry Dresden, and the story, especially given that this book was highly rated when I came across it, and the concept of a modern-day wizard detective (as Dresden is) holds good entertainment potential for me.

However, from his heavy sighs to sharp intakes of breath to sounds of his mouth opening and closing to mumbling, the narrator made listening to this story a torturous experience for me. I struggled to finish and was relieved when the book was over. (I could have stopped midway and returned it, but I really wanted to give the story a chance despite the flaws in the delivery.)

I chose this book because I was hoping to get wrapped up in a new mystery series and this is the first book. Maybe I'd consider another if there is a different narrator; however, at this point, I'm planning to try my luck elsewhere.

40 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Buczkowski
  • 15-01-2019

Just okay...

The story wasn’t anything special, but decent for an author’s first book (I think this is his?). I’m not too familiar with urban fantasy, but it felt pretty run-of-the-mill. The detective noir vibe was too strong for my liking, but it’s probably good if you like that sort of thing. A big takeaway for me is that I’m not a fan of first-person point of view in fiction. It’s done well enough, but by the end of the book I sort of wanted to punch Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden in the face. Too much time spent in that annoying head of his, or maybe it’s just his ‘voice’. Which leads me to the performance...It’s alright, but Marsters plays up Dresden’s sarcastic nature to an irritating degree. The main qualm about the performance, though, is the constant lip smacking. That could have easily been edited out, and should have been—very distracting. Hydration is important. All told, it’s fairly underwhelming for me. I’d probably give his other books in the series a go, to see how Butcher improved as he matured as a writer, but unfortunately, I can’t get past the first-person POV.

21 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 19-03-2012

Spit or swallow, don't talk with your mouth full

Any additional comments?

Story isn't bad. Mainly well written and generally enjoyable, although the seemingly pointless antagonism between Dresden and pretty much everybody comes across as forced.

There is however a glaring issue... constantly having to listen to the narrator sucking and swallowing. Ask a 5 year old a question during dinner and you'll get a similar sort of sound. And then there's the regular inappropriately timed sighing. If it's that hard a job being a narrator for audible I would suggest he find another line of work.

Second thoughts... he should probably find another line of work regardless.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 20-05-2010

Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering

I loved the story and the narrator voice acting, but, like others, found the excess captured physical noises like breathing, swallowing etc very distracting. The chapter or section transitions were also very abrupt...breaking the flow.

I am glad I purchased it and would highly recommend it to all, but I hope they fix the sound issues for future books.

186 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kara
  • 13-02-2019

Love this book not not this recording

It’s a low quality recording with a pretty good voice actor, but there is often a fuzzy background noise and the sounds of the voice actor pausing to wet his mouth was very off putting.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Randall
  • 05-03-2019

ZERO STARS FOR THE NARRATOR !

I CAN'T STAND THE SNIFFING. Does Masters have a cold or is he just a pig? The rest of the book was fun and it sounds like from the reviews that the narrator gets a little better with each book. I will try the next in this series .

112 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacqueline
  • 18-11-2014

Smack, Slurp, Swallow, Sigh---Repeat

My first Dresden book, I almost thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hard to get past the various mouth noises by the narrator, which my have been by design--I'm not sure. After I heard that first "smacking" noise I couldn't NOT hear them.

However, I really liked the overall story. Harry, the good Wizard who likes to read and has a fabulous sense of humor, and fights crime! I can see why these stories have such a large following.

If you enjoy off-beat crime/fiction with some fantasy thrown in, I recommend it.

53 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 14-08-2009

A great story & brilliantly narrated

I confess that I am a great fan of Jim Butcher's Dresden series and was very much looking forward to hearing the audio version. Well, I am delighted to say that I was not disappointed - quite the reverse.

James Marsters (who played Spike in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is a superb narrator. He perfectly captures Jim Butcher's quirky, almost conversational style; he brings Harry Dresden himself brilliantly to life, as well as drawing the other characters with great aplomb; and he keeps the momentum rolling along without let-up. Great stuff.

As for the book itself, I think it is a model on how to write the first of a sci-fantasy series: it perfectly balances the need for thrills and spills, humour, human interest, goodies and baddies with developing the magical background and back-plot. The series improves with every book so I very much hope that Audible get the rest of the series after the first four, all of which are available on the US audible website.

Strongly recommended.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joanne Kendall
  • 12-08-2009

Magic meets PI

First time I have read a Harry Dresden book and looking forward to reading the rest. A good mix of PI investigations, conflict, magic and action kept the plot going until the end. The characters were well drawn and easy to emphathise with. The plot draws you into the authors world of magic, fairies, demons and humans. I was slightly put off at the start by the world weary narration, although this suits the character it seemed slightly over the top but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-04-2013

Amusing and gripping

I missed the TV series but I had the impression it was the sort of story I'd like and I was right.

The story has kept me hooked and I've looked forward to my bus journey to and from work but I've even found myself listening while doing the housework - it's the equivalent of the 'unput-downable' book.

James Marsters is pleasant to listen to and although there's quite a lot of irony, which we're often told Americans 'don't get', I found the delivery spot on.

I'm definitely going to get the next one in the series.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Iain
  • 20-05-2011

Gripping and atmospheric

Stylish supernatural rollercoaster of a novel, Butcher captures the Film Noir genre perfectly and adds an arcane twist. Harry Dresden, the only person advertising services under "Wizards" in the yellow pages, has a knack for finding trouble. In Storm Front, Dresden becomes the target of a brutal killer who has crossed the forbidden line to kill using black magic, and has learned how to harness enormous energies to kill his victims at a distance. Treated as a suspect himself, by the police and the white council of magic, Dresden faces seemingly impossible odds - he must stop the mysterious sorcerer before it's too late.

James Marsters delivers the narrative with Phillip Marlowe perfection. I can't recommend this book enough - I can't wait to download the next in the series!

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tessa
  • 03-03-2011

Great fun and beautifully read.

I tried this book on a whim and i'm so pleased i did. I think i had presumed that after reading so many paranormal books written from a female's point of view that one from a mans' might be a little gung ho and hard to relate to but i was so pleasantly surprised. The protagonist has a brilliantly dry sense of humour that had me giggling out loud every now and again. It was also so refreshing to read a paranormal book that was well thought out and consistent from start to finish, not getting muddled halfway through or getting a little silly by the end. Harry's back story is explained just enough without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty and it was amazing how quickly one was able to understand and relate to the character. In addition i loved the fact that even though the male lead was strong the female roles all had a character of their own. Usually strong or atleast independant, not just simpering excuses for gratuitous sex.
This was all supported by fabulous narration by James Marsters. Such a fantastic voice for this character, he manages to capture the wry sense of humour just perfectly.
So overall i think you can see that i loved it, now on to the next one!

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • EC W
  • 15-05-2013

Dashiell Hammett with Magic bits

This is a great romp of a story. A grumpy wizard / detective, in the style of Sam Spade, with lots of fallen women, sex, power, a mob ring and a ticking timebomb of a deadline thrown in for good measure. Even though I had the plot twist figured out half way through (I've done a LOT of detective novels) the magic angle made everything fresh and new. I will definitely be getting the next book.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 07-09-2010

A Wizard Detective? Great fun!

Read this book after reading an audible review of someone who had read and enjoyed lots of similar books to me. Like them, I greatly enjoyed this different and interesting book. The protagonist is like a slightly cynical, hard-nosed Harry Potter whose life didn't quite work out the way he wanted it to and is now a P.I. The story is a good one, and the usual mobster, his pea-brained henchmen and gansta-moll avoid any cliche by the unusual wizard element to the story.

Recommended as an unusual read that is well-narrated, passing the time atmospherically and at times humourously.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cheryl M-M
  • 06-10-2011

Superbly read by Marsters

First of all I cannot recommend the narrator James Marsters highly enough. He has the character of Dresden down to a fine art. The combination of story and Marsters reading was exceptional, so much so that I often laughed out loud at some of the snarky comments. As for the book, well Jim Butcher has found a loophole in the Supernatural book market and created a wizard, who is funny, interesting and captivating. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheegamee
  • 14-01-2017

ewww!

The narrators loud breathing and saliva noises were very off putting. Apart from that it was OK although he could have put a bit more life in to the performance.

16 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-12-2018

maybe genre typical sexist, tired tropes tedious

Marsters competent. Storytelling compelling. Dated male fantasy of chivalry cloying and exhausting. Not my thing.

2 people found this helpful