Saturday, November 22, 2008

Book Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

storm front
I watched The Dresden Files while it aired on SciFi, and while I thought the show had some problems, I found it entertaining enough to seek out each week. Also, it seemed to me that each episode got stronger as the season went along. So I was a bit disappointed that it got cancelled. Anyhow. Nearly a year later I get around to reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

Overall, it's an entertaining, quick read, and I can see why the novels got tapped for a TV series. On the downside, the novel has some character motivation problems. Namely, Harry's reasons for not going to the authorities didn't hold water for me, and it's never explained why, with all the magical power Morgan and company apparently have, they don't have the ability to check out Harry's alibi. It's like they're police who don't know how to dust for fingerprints. At times I felt there were moments where characters did things at the dictate of the plot, rather than the plot emerging from what the characters would believably do. It also struck me that some of the problems I had with the TV series -- mainly Harry's not-totally-believable interactions with Morgan and Murphy -- are apparently reflections of the novels, or at least reflections of the first one.

After reading Storm Front, I logged onto Hulu and started to watch the episode of the same name, and found I couldn't enjoy the series any more because so many things in the show struck me as misadaptations. For instance, Harry does magic right there in front of the cops at the crime scene, which he would never ever do in the first novel.

So, for me, the TV series diminished the experience of reading the original novel, simply because many of the most interesting elements felt familiar to me, and reading the novel has now ruined the experience of re-watching the series.

You might have an entirely different reaction, though. So, the upshot is, if you're one of the few urban fantasy fans who hasn't checked out Butcher's work, I encourage you to do so.