• Storm Front

  • The Dresden Files, Book 1
  • By: Jim Butcher
  • Narrated by: James Marsters
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (52,653 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

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What listeners say about Storm Front

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32,940
  • 4 Stars
    13,739
  • 3 Stars
    4,565
  • 2 Stars
    913
  • 1 Stars
    496
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31,004
  • 4 Stars
    9,778
  • 3 Stars
    3,742
  • 2 Stars
    916
  • 1 Stars
    598
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28,715
  • 4 Stars
    11,852
  • 3 Stars
    4,223
  • 2 Stars
    802
  • 1 Stars
    367

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

190 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent listen and a great start to the series

It must be hard - harder than just publishing your book - to publish a book in this format. Not only does the book win or lose due to it's quality, but it has the added complication of being able to fail due to the narrator being unsuitable to the material.

This book, and it's narrator, bring Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden to wry, sarcastic life.

What the book and narrator have, the audio editing could have brought out more. You do hear James Marsters take many a deep breath, and for many of those, it seems to fit into the nature of the character being portrayed. After a while, you understand that better editing would have alleviated the background product of getting long passages of text out.

I had still made the decision to download the next few books in this series by the time I'd reached the middle of the book. I'd checked first to make sure that the narrator was the same, and he is, before doing so.

A bad narrator has often caused me to stop downloading what might have otherwise been an excellent choice. A good narrator, like this one,
has caused me to listen to entire series I might otherwise have gotten in paperback.

I recommend this to fans of mysteries, magic and modern fantasy.

128 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

117 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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 .

113 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

103 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

The Narrator Hates People

The. Worst. Mouth. Noises. Ever.
I seriously wondered if he was eating bananas.
Who hurt you James!? Who hurt you!? Drink some water and stop licking peanut butter off the microphone.
I couldn’t finish the book and I really tried.

84 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally!!

Finally, I have found a writer in this genre that I can follow. This genre seems to be filled with so many crap writers that I had almost given up entirely. I thought the premiss for this sort of literature had so much potential, yet I could not find a good writer in the field. Jim Butcher is that writer. JB could write in any field he wants, but I am glad he chose this one.

The story is ok, the characters are even better. I especially like Bob and hope he is included in later episodes. I like how the main character, beats himself up, like we all do sometimes, but then he gives himself a pep talk and gets things done. The writing is descriptive without being overly so. A lot of time and effort was put into writing this intelligently and creatively. It is not perfect and I will have to admit I debated on rather to give it four or five stars. There are one or two times when the solution to the problem comes to easily, but this is minor and he is mostly faced with major road blocks that he uses his brain to get out of.

The narration and production is different from any I have heard before. I have listened to hundreds of audio books. In this production you will hear the narrator breathing, sometimes it is part of the acting and sometimes it is just the narrator breathing. You can also hear him swallow, change position in his chair, and parting his lips. You would think this would be distracting and for some reviewers it was. For me, it made me feel like I was sitting in a chair across from Harry Dresden as he told his story. I am not sure if they did this on purpose or not. The narrator is excellent either way.

I will be listening to more in this series.

78 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Memorable

I've finished Jim Butcher's first 2 Dresden Files books--this title being the first--and even though I've moved on and I'm now reading other novels, I find myself thinking of The Dresden Files in the middle of the night or at random times. If I feel like reading, my mind automatically assumes (with pleasure) that I'll be reading about Harry Dresden. That's a very high recommendation for any novel.

For those who don't already know, Storm Front introduces us to Harry Dresden, a practicing wizard living in Chicago. That set up and the resulting complications are what make The Dresden Files fun to read. Harry's an interesting character, with a colorful past involving a mother who was a witch, a father who was a stage magician, and an uncle who taught Harry how to be an evil wizard.

In Storm Front, people are being murdered from the inside out, literally. For Lieutenant Murphy of the Chicago Police, it's clear something strange is going on, so she calls on Harry, who occasionally works as a special consultant to the police department, helping with crimes that appear to have no worldly explanation. The magical universe Jim Butcher has created is both believable and fascinating. Learning about that world through Harry's eyes is what I believe is the best part of these books.

I have two major disappointments with these novels: Harry Dresden and Lt. Murphy have a working relationship; yet neither trusts the other. Lt. Murphy especially distrusts Harry Dresden, and the explanation for that distrust seems weak, at best. The false obstacles she places in Harry's path caused by this distrust hurt my enjoyment of the story. At the same time, Harry Dresden has a self-blame complex. Everything is his fault and his responsibility. I found his constant need to blame himself just plain irritating, especially when there was nothing he could have done differently.

Overall, I highly recommend this novel. The good definitely outweighs the somewhat minor irritations.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Wizard Sam Spade

The premise that there is a real Wizard working as a private eye in Chicago is brilliant. The execution of the story and the performance by James Marsters is similarly near perfect. There is a gritty film Noir feel to the story which makes it at once credible and compelling. It has amusing moments and enough adult content for this not to be a great read for the Harry Potter crowd. The action (of which there is a great deal) feels very cinematic; you can imagine Riddley Scott doing a great job with the mayhem and monsters. I came to this series from the Iron Druid Chronicles which I have seen described as “Dresden Light.” That’s a pretty fair assessment, the villains are darker, sexier more violent and less funny in Dresden; it’s a different kind of story. If Iron Druid is ‘Twilight’ Dresden is ‘True Blood’. That’s probably a bit unfair to the ‘Iron Druid’ as ‘Twilight’ is horrible and ‘Druid’ is terrific...but you get my point. If I have any criticism of Dresden (and it’s slight) it’s that the hero almost never has a good time. There seems to be a rule in fantasy writing that along with fabulous magical ability comes a generally horrible life …to quote the Genie in Aladdin “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space.” Beyond that tiny reservation, this is a terrific story and performance which I can highly recommend.

68 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story! Annoying narrator

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

67 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 08-14-09

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.

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Iain
  • Iain
  • 05-20-11

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
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sheegamee
  • Sheegamee
  • 01-14-17

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.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joanne Kendall
  • Joanne Kendall
  • 08-12-09

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.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-04-16

Annoying narrator

Would have enjoyed the book more with a narrator who wasn't always swallowing puffing and huffing and making horrible noises. I like a clean listen and this wasn't it

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tessa
  • Tessa
  • 03-03-11

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • saiyen2002
  • 06-06-16

Narrator let's the audio book down

Too much breathing and swallowing by the narrator which I found annoying and distracting. Also very sombre and tepid during the action sequence, felt no sense of urgency.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Craftgirl22
  • 04-07-13

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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  • Cheryl M-M
  • 10-06-11

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
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • EC W
  • 05-15-13

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

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Damien
  • Damien
  • 04-28-16

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.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gina
  • 02-08-17

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Charley
  • 04-21-16

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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Bret
  • 01-10-20

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-14-16

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tarny
  • 02-22-20

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Nick Smith
  • 09-08-18

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.
 

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Damien
  • 01-31-17

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

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim Gray
  • 02-01-19

Terrible Narration

Unfortunately I couldn't get passed the first chapter of this audiobook because the Narration was so poor. Frustrating even.

The Narrator speaks as if he's about to go to sleep and it becomes difficult to hear some parts. So you have to constantly change the volume. It's like he's just not interested in narrating the story.

The worst part however is the constant loud sounds of his mouth and saliva. It's as though the microphone was as close to his mouth as possible without actually being inside it! This is what made the book impossible to listen to. I still shudder thinking about it.

I really wanted to enjoy this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-05-18

Even the narrator sounds bored.

Too much chauvinist-ing not enough Wizard-ing. This book made the day pass actually Slower, the narrator evidently thinks so too, you can here him sigh repeatedly as if it's a chore.

1 person found this helpful

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