Narrated by James Marsters
Buzzy Multimedia Publishing, 1997 (Unabridged)
Fantasy; 8hrs 1min
For about a year now, I have made an effort to listen to audio books. A more serious one, anyway. I began by listening to two conversational type memoirs (both of which I adored) and then tried one made up of a collection of essays (big flop), deciding I was finally ready to try an actual novel--a familiar one at that. I am a huge Jim Butcher fan with a literary crush on the great Harry Dresden, wizard private eye extraordinaire. I had heard wonderful things about James Marsters narration of the Dresden Files' books and figured Storm Front, the first in the series, would be a good place to start.
Once I got over the initial giggles over Marsters's constant breathy-ness, I settled in for the auditory ride. I actually think Marsters does a great job capturing the main character's attitude and style--at least how I imagine it: dry sense of humor, modest, and more or less matter of fact. Marsters is Dresden. At least it felt like that as I listened. (It's too bad though that Harry isn't British. I would have loved to hear Marsters use his English accent. I sure do miss Spike).
The story itself was as fun and intense as I remember it. Well, maybe not quite as intense. I kind of knew what was going to happen next given I'd read the book before. But that was way back in July of 2004, so my memory was fuzzy enough to make sure there were some surprises.
For those not lucky enough to have met Harry Dresden yet, he is just your regular guy. Except he's a wizard, the only private investigating wizard in Chicago. He is a bit reluctant to take on a missing persons case when approached by the wife of the missing man, wondering if she would better be served by the police or a regular private investigator. He quickly discovers, however, that the case isn't quite what it seems on the surface, and maybe his particular skill set is just what it will take to find the man. As if that isn't enough to keep Harry busy, he is called in by the police to consult on a rather bizarre murder--one that clearly reeks of dark magic.
The book has a little bit of everything. There is magic--lots of it--faeries, vampires, a big cat, a talking skull, and plenty of action and a spoonful of romance. I let out a squeal when my most favorite Harry Dresden scene ever began, so well narrated by Marsters.
Re-visiting the first book in the series after having read 9 of the 13 books (so far published) was an interesting experience. So much has happened in between then and now in the series. I was reminded of the complicated friendship between Harry and Detective Karen Murphy, and hearing about it Harry's voice added a slightly different nuance to it than I remember from my reading of the book--or perhaps that is just the erosion of time on my memory. There was also mention of Harry's past, his struggle with the White Council, and hints of turmoil to come between certain characters. I couldn't help but think of how little rest Harry will get in the next few years, as the series progresses. When does that man get to sleep?!
Whoever said that listening to books I'd read and enjoyed before was a good way to ease into listening to audio books knew what she was talking about. I can't wait to listen to the second book in the series. If I ever catch up, I wonder which way I'll prefer to enjoy the books in the future . . .
Rating: (Very Good)
You can learn more about Jim Butcher and his books on the author's website. And for more information about James Marsters, check out his website on his website.
Source: I purchased an audio copy of this book for my own personal pleasure.