06 February 2008

Writing on Reading: Storm Front

I recently read Storm Front by Jim Butcher. I picked this book up because I thought it was a novel about weather. Savvy spec fic readers are laughing about now. It is actually an urban fantasy featuring a wizard living in Chicago-land. Imagine my surprise! Once I got over the shock (pun intended), I loved this book! It's the best book I've read in a long, long time.

Storm Front starts off a little slow. The first line is: "I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual." Thus we get a little dose of ordinary life before we find out Harry is a wizard. The plot builds slowly but surely to an amazing last few chapters. I stayed up way too late reading the exciting conclusion. The characterization is excellent because of the author's use of first person point-of-view. Being privy to the protag's thoughts and worries about other human beings makes him very sympathetic. The 1st-person pov also lends itself to a lot of excellent humor, e.g. the last line of chapter one is: "But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Butcher may well turn out to be my new favorite author. I look forward to reading his other books.

I must admit I did see a few episodes of a little TV show called 'The Dresden Files' and I have to say: Don't judge a book by its TV show! I think the reason the TV show didn't work as well as the book is we didn't know the humorous and sympathetic thoughts of the protag. I guess first person doesn't really work on the small or big screen? I'm trying to think of any screen examples of first person pov... The only thing I can think of is the Director's Cut of Blade Runner where we get Harrison Ford's character's voice-over (is that the right version, Renata?). And actually, I think that works pretty well.

What do you guys think? about Butcher? 1st-person pov? voice-overs? :)


David E. Hughes said...

I believe that someone (hint hint) recommended that you read this book because he knew of your fondness for first person POV and humor.

Anyhow, I also enjoyed Storm Front, but I was not quite as excited about it as Lesley. Storm Front was Butcher's first published novel. (In fact, there is come interesting info about how he got published on his website. It wasn't easy for him.) Anyhow, a few parts of the book felt a bit forced and heavy-handed to me. I hear the books improve as the series goes on.

lesleylsmith said...

I must admit I do not recall you recommending this, D. Go figure. :)
I look forward to reading more of his stuff and to checking out his website!