Book review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

I have a theory that the genres writers write in has nothing to do with their particular skills but everything to do with the name they were given by their parents. Jane Austen was always going to be the well spring of domestic, detailed fiction with women in the key roles: Austen has both the necessary toughness (austenite is a form of iron) while Jane introduces the plain spoken femininity. H. P. Lovecraft – what else but grandiloquent horror. Edgar Allan Poe: grand guignol fiction.

By my theory, there was no possibility of a boy baptised James Butcher growing up to write sensitive literary fiction set in small-town America and, sure enough, the adult Jim Butcher writes tought supernatural fiction featuring a trouble-worn warlock operating out of Chicago – basically Philip Marlow with a magic staff.

Is Harry Dresden as good as Philip Marlow? No, but then hardly anyone else is. The story is nevertheless a solid opener to what has become a highly successful series. I enjoyed it but not sufficiently to rush out and read the second. On the other hand, should I find the next volume lying on a shelf when I am taking a railway journey and have forgotten to bring something to read, I would pick it up as a gift from generous providence.


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