Mon
Nov 5 2012 2:00pm

The Dresden Files Reread: Book 1, Storm Front

The Dresden Files reread on Tor.com covers Book 1, Storm Front

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series is one of the most popular urban fantasy series around, currently coming in at 14 books with additional short stories, comic adaptations, and a short-lived television series. And it all began with 2000’s Storm Front.

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 those words, Harry Dresden introduced himself to the world. A wizard, yes, but also a private investigator in the best hard-boiled tradition. We meet Harry in the midst of a bit of a dry spell, with his rent overdue and no cases on the horizon. He’s also in a bit of trouble. The White Council, the organization that governs wizards, has a close eye on Harry because he killed his teacher. The First Law of magic prohibits wizards from using magic to kill. Normally breaking the law carries a death sentence, but Harry did so in self defense and so is under the Doom of Damocles, a kind of probation.

The case starts, as these things often do, with a woman. Or rather two. Butcher‘s facility for layering plots gives us the traditional damsel in distress—Monica Sells who wants Harry to find her husband—as well as a job for the police department and specifically Karrin Murphy, the head of the Special Investigations department of the Chicago PD, the cops who deal with things that go bump in the night. Harry’s relationship with Murphy is somewhat prickly, but respectful.

The case is a double murder, two people, in the midst of a romantic liaison with their hearts ripped out. By magic. As mentioned, wizards are prohibited from killing using magic. This is a serious use of black magic and even looking into it makes things dangerous for Harry with the Doom hanging over him.

On his way back to the office, Harry is waylaid by Gentleman Johnny Marcone, Chicago’s biggest crime lord.  Marcone wants Harry off the double-murder case, but Harry refuses. He returns to his office and meets with Monica Sells. Her husband is a warlock and has gone missing. Harry agrees to find him.

As the plot unfolds, the two separate cases, of course, come together. As the mystery is slowly revealed we are introduced to the wonderful world that Butcher has created. There’s a fine line to walk in urban fantasy—drawing on familiar tropes like vampires and faeries while still keeping things fresh. I think Butcher does a great job with this. An element like wizard Sight is nothing really new, but the fact that anything a wizard sees with it will remain as fresh and vivid always, never to fade with time, is a nice twist, a price to be had for that power. Then there’s the Soulgaze, the experience of seeing into one another that happens when someone makes eye contact with a wizard.

Harry soon discovers that Victor Sells, the missing warlock husband, is the one causing the deaths the PD is investigating, using orgies and the power of storms to fuel his magic.  He’s also involved in the manufacture of the drug, ThreeEye, which gives normal people (Muggles, essentially) wizard Sight for a short time. Harry has to dodge magical attacks from Sells as well as dealing with Johnny Marcone, Bianca, a vampire, and trying to prove to the Morgan, of the White Council of Wizards, that he’s innocent of the deaths in the case.  In the end Sells attacks Harry, summoning a demon to kill him. But Sells is raw, untrained and Harry overcomes him, sending the demon that Sells summoned back at him. And clearing his name in the process.

Butcher’s first Dresden novel is certainly not his strongest. While his writing improves in the later books, it is a bit shaky here. What I find compelling about the series from the beginning, though, is the world that Butcher creates. A paranormal PI is nothing new in the urban fantasy genre, but Butcher’s setting elevates this above pure stereotype. I immediately loved the White Council and the Laws of Magic. The Nevernever, the spirit realm which contains all of the lands of Faerie. Faeries themselves, such as Toot-toot, a six inch tall fairy with an insatiable love of pizza.  And then, of course, there’s Bob the skull, Harry’s  advisor on all things magic, an intellect spirit who lives in an old skull with a love of smutty romance novels and an extremely dirty mind.

Then, of course, there’s Harry himself. As mentioned, he draws heavily on the hard-boiled tradition of the private eye—constantly miring himself in even deeper muddy circumstances—but there’s a definite heroic quality to him. Butcher has likened him to Spider-Man in interviews and I think that’s an apt comparison. Harry gets beaten up, broken, and ostracized and yet he never gives up. He just fights harder. And he doesn’t back down. Sure, he has an ornery streak, but that just keeps things interesting.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the treatment of women in this book. I know some readers have picked it up and never gone any further because of that element. Many of the women in this novel are either victims or sex-workers. Karrin Murphy, a character who is important to the series as a whole, is really the only strong female character in the book and she is often described in terms of her physical characteristics. I feel like it does get better in later books. Susan Rodriguez, who needs to be saved in this novel, and accidentally takes a love potion, becomes a stronger character later. Additionally, it helps to remember that the novel is told from Harry’s point of view, and he’s an admitted chauvinist. I’d be interested to hear what others thought of this in particular.

Storm Front is not perfect, but it’s a good start to one of my favorite fiction series. What do you think of it?


Rajan Khanna is a writer, narrator and blogger who woke up in his clothes this morning and hasn’t had a case in weeks. You can find him in the Yellow Pages under www.rajankhanna.com.

120 comments
Dave West
1. Jhirrad
I'm a huge Jim Butcher fan, and an even bigger Harry Dresden fan. I started reading it kind of late in the series, around the release of White Night. Seeing there was so much available drew me to it. The people are what keep me.

I'll agree that Storm Front is not the strongest book in the series. In fact, I'd probably argue that it's the weakest. The early Dresden Files books all felt like they were more meant to be stand alone adventures, and Storm Front is exactly that. You kind of jump in headlong, without a lot of knowledge of the world at that point. I honestly wasn't sure if I would keep reading the series after this one, but I picked up Fool Moon because it was cheap and easily available. There is a lot to be desired in Storm Front, but what I do love about it as I look back is that it really sets you up for better understanding the world. Setting up magic and the way it works in a world isn't easy in my opinion. Lots of authors have done it very poorly. Butcher gives us a really strong foundation by understanding the nature of magic and power in his world, how it impacts those who use it, and all the ramifications of it. This becomes more important as the series continues on.

In re women, I can see where some could argue frustration with their treatment here, or in these books in general. What I find interesting to note is the way Butcher deals with that reaction. He has made the Dresden character unabashedly chauvinist in terms of his need to protect women and his extreme distaste at seeing them come to harm. There are plenty of internal monologues where Harry says that he knows it makes no sense, but that's just how he's wired. I love this treatment of it, because it pokes a bit of fun at both sides, while acknowledging the issue which exists. There really are a lot of great, strong female characters in this series, that people often overlook. Of course you have Murphy, who is shown constantly as just as strong as any male character. But there is also Susan who you mentioned, and the various Queens of the Sidhe, all of whom are incredibly powerful. Another great female character, introduced in Fool Moon, is Georgia. She has a different strength. Often times Butcher seems to play with the idea that the men in his world go forth with brute force, while the women have more subtlety in their actions. It's easy for some to dismiss this as not having strong women, but I disagree. If anything, it shows them to be often stronger and more powerful than their male counterparts.
Ty Margheim
2. alSeen
I love this series. I can't wait for the review of Dead Beat. It contains one of my favorite scenes in any fiction novel. One word. Sue.

I agree that the first couple of Dresden Files books are not up to the quality of the laters ones, but you don't notice it until you are rereading them.

It's the same issue as with the Discworld books. The first two with Rincewind are enjoyable, but after you've read through the rest of the books, The Colour of Magic just doesn't seem as good as you originally thought.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
I think these are a great deal of fun. And the really nice thing is that they keep (in general) getting better. Complexity of characters a world continues to evolve as the series evolves.
Bob the skull is great and don't forget Mister.
Fade Manley
4. fadeaccompli
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the treatment of women in this book. I know some readers have picked it up and never gone any further because of that element.

Oh yes. I would be one of them. I was turned off by the treatment of woman before I'd finished the first chapter of the first book. I was told it got better, so I picked up the third book, and stopped within two pages.

Additionally, it helps to remember that the novel is told from Harry’s point of view, and he’s an admitted chauvinist.

Actually, that doesn't help at all. "I'm a raging asshole, teehee!" doesn't make it less tiresome to read about someone being a raging asshole. I have no particular interest in trying to analyze the author based on the characters he chooses to write, but "this entire series is written from the perspective of a loathsome person" isn't much of a selling point for me.

I admit, I find this argument very strange. I have no problem with other people enjoying the books; tastes vary, and books would be very boring if they were only told from the perspectives of perfect people. But I don't see how a grating, unpleasant perspective on 50% of humanity is supposed to be more fun because it's in character for the protagonist. Of course it's in character! It would be very strange if he viewed everything that way and yet it weren't supposed to be in character. I have no idea how it's supposed to "help" to point out that the unpleasant person is unpleasant.
William Frank
5. scifantasy
Storm Front is absolutely the weakest Dresden novel. (One or two of the early short stories might be weaker, robbing the book of "worst Dresden story," but that's damning with faint praise if ever I've heard it.) I would almost recommend skipping it altogether, but I can't, for reasons that I can't divulge here. It reads like exactly what it is--a novel that, by definition, has to stand alone in the way that books that might become series have to stand alone, in case they don't become series.

In television, there's a word for this:

Pilot.

Judged by the standards of a pilot, it's not bad. The dialogue is clunky and the characters are a bit stereotypical, because the screenwriter author has to establish the universe first and also have some sort of plot, so he cribs from established tropes. (This is definitely the most stereotypical detective-noir of the novels, after all. Beleagured PI hero, femmes fatale, semi-antagonistic semi-Friend on the Force, crime bosses, the hero's external problems--usually gambling debts, here represented by Morgan and the White Council...it's very Nick Danger, Third Eye.)

And, of course, it resolves. It can leave room for advancement, yes, but only in terms of larger character arcs: Harry's place in the Council, his relationship with Murphy and the cops, Marcone. The book can't end with Harry not stopping Sells.

For all of that, it has its place. Butcher definitely has Harry's narrative voice (the classic Private Eye Monologue, and you're welcome for not linking to TV Tropes on that): "Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face." That voice changes as Harry changes, but his core self, which is the First Person Smartass form (again, no link for your protection) is there on display and it works.

And honestly, I like noir. So when I saw that was what Butcher was doing, I smiled and went along for the ride, and by the end, I said, "that was fun, I want to keep going."

Which is another pilot trait--hook 'em enough to keep 'em watching reading. Pull out all the stops later.
SqueakyTiki
6. SqueakyTiki
I'm a woman, and I see nothing wrong with Harry's perspective on women other than he's rather old-fashioned and well ... not too smart about them LOL. He's not a jerk. He's not offensive. And there's plenty of really strong female characters.

Guess I don't get what some people's beef with it is, unless they're just looking for something to get riled about.
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
Harry is overprotective of the women he encounters, probably due to childhood traumas we will eventually find out about, but the women in the story don't let him just get away with it.
Murphy certainly lets him know that she is no wilting butterfly.
Harry is around 25 in Storm Front and there is a lot of character growth opportunity for him.
Emmet O'Brien
8. EmmetAOBrien
I can't myself make up my mind whether this one or the second is the weakest; the second is doing a particular plot shape I really really dislike which I am not at all sure I can see past.

As for the is-Harry-a-sexist-pig debate, I incline to the opinion that a) yes he is and also b) the books have a whale of a time with him being repeatedly beaten about the head with consequences of what a bad idea this is, and it's not the only issue where they do so. Intentional or no (and I suspect the jury may be out on that well past the point the series has currently reached) , the books read well as a fairly savage critique of building your self-image around the noir detective archetype.
Liz Bourke
9. hawkwing-lb
I'm with @fadeaccompli - tho' I've read all the Dresden books, and enjoyed them as light entertainment - but no, the chauvinism doesn't help, and it's not an amusing part of Dresden's learning curve in the least.

It doesn't even help that it's ostentatiously self-aware chauvinism, either. That makes it worse.
SqueakyTiki
10. Juhan
Is this going to end like the Chronicles of Amber re-read? Great first post and no follow-up?
SqueakyTiki
11. J Town
Regarding Harry's attitude toward women, it's simply a part of the character's personality, formed by experience and choice, and we find out more information later. However, as in any first person novel, if the personality of the main character doesn't grab you in the first book (likely in the first few pages), you likely won't care for any of the following books. If Harry's attitude regarding women is so grating on you as to be a deal-breaker, then you likely won't enjoy the Dresden Files any more later on, either. You do get reasons for Harry's attitude, but not excuses. He's pretty unapologetic.

Personally, I find Harry hilarious (sometimes intentionally, often not.) But then, not every series is for every person.
SqueakyTiki
12. Difficat
The chauvinism isn't my favorite part, but a character has to have some flaws to overcome. For me, it is more important that I don't think that attitude is shared by the author, or intended as a message in the book.
The reader isn't supposed to come away thinking women are weak. Instead, it is clear that Harry is wrong.

While I agree that this and book 2 are the least of the series, I did like a lot about it. I loved the race between Harry and the storm, which was nicely tense. I enjoyed the potion-making scenes and descriptions of all his magical gear. And I thought both Marcone and Bianca were introduced well as interesting villains.
Paul Howard
14. DrakBibliophile
Harry Dresden is the Man! Need a wizard? Call on Dresden not that Potter kid.

I've enjoyed this series but I do think Storm Front suffered because IMO there was a strong element of "poor little Harry" in it. I don't like characters who "whine" and I thought Harry did whine too much in the first few books.

Still as I said, I've enjoyed the series.
SqueakyTiki
15. kwilso15@gmail.com
I'm fairly new to the Dresden-verse (only book 3 so far) and I've really enjoyed it so far. I'm with stevenhalter, I didn't see anything particularly rage-worthy about Harry's attitude towards women, I just assumed he was still a relatively young dude and there would be learning curve to adjust for and/or past trauma to overcome. The ladies in his life aren't exactly pushovers, either.

But really, at the end of the day, he's a good guy trying to do the right thing. That, for me, makes his other, less desirable qualities easier to overlook. We all suck at something, Harry (and arguably many other men) sucks at women.
john mullen
16. johntheirishmongol
I can get that some think it is a big turnoff to have a male chauvinist as the protagonist in a series of urban fantasy books. But, realistically, it is a break from the norm in the genre, with most of the protagonists being women and so are most of the writers. If it annoys you, don't read it. There's lots of stuff that annoys me that I don't bother to go back to reading.

That being said, Harry and his stories are a lot of fun to read. There's some great characters, interesting dynamics and good problems to solve.
SqueakyTiki
17. Jennifer Jackson
We have the WHOLE series and try to get as MUCH of Harry as we can!!!!!!!!!!
SqueakyTiki
18. A.J. Nicholson
I disagree that all the women in the world are weak. Most all the women are broken but then so are most of the men. People look at Harry and say because he continues to fight when apparently broken but this is true of all the hero's in the series.
There are many strong women in the series. Besides Susan Rodriguez and Karrin Murphy there are:
Georgia Borden
Charity Carpenter
Anastasia Luccio
Molly Carpenter (For that matter all the Carpenter daughters seem formidable)
Martha Liberty
Ancient Mai (Which Harry often says scares the crap out of him)
Justine
Tara West (Of course she has a very strange background)
Joan Dallas
Kumori (Evil)
Lara Raithe (Evil)
Margret Gwendolyn LeFay
Elaine Mallory
Meryl
Murphy's Mom
and many more

Most of these women are seen at some point broken. However that is the beauty of Dresden Files characters male or female. If they hang around long enough they are going to get screwed up. Afterwards they are almost always stronger than before.
SqueakyTiki
19. Jay L
Yes....introduction to the primary setting of the series was helpful and I remember drawing back on the early books when I got lost in the story and could not remember a certain detail. I Too started the series late, but it came with rave reviews from a trusted source so I kept going and grew to enjoy the series immensely. Toot and Bob have a way of bringing out certain details and enunciating the story lines. All hail the Za-Lord!
SqueakyTiki
20. Popculturegirl
The book is the weakest in the series, and I believe Jim Butcher will tell you that himself. I didn't care. I was invested in Harry from the first page. I don't find the portrayal of women to be particularly objectionable. Harry is such a clumsy Don Juan that I find him amusing rather than insulting. The introduction of stronger female characters definitely helps in the later books, however.

I'm particularly interested in his love/hate relationship with Marcone, and I want to know where this will lead. I'm hoping for a future alliance rather than one killing the other because of their "issues."

I'm anxiously anticipating Cold Grave to see what Harry will do if Maeve asks him to do something he disagrees with.
Debbie Solomon
21. dsolo
I finally started reading the Dresden books after a friend of mine recommended them. That was only about 4 years ago, so I didn't have to wait for as many books. That said, the first 3 books were written for a creative writing class and obviously the series improves. As for being a chauvinist, I think Harry is hardwired to protect anyone he perceives as weak and helpless, and that frequently means women and children. In one of the short stories from Murphy's perspective, she comments on how carefully Harry moves. She surmises that it's because he's big and he's trying to appear non threatening. Harry is 6'8" and wears a long, black duster that's warded for protection, so, he's intimidating and he tends to overcompensate for being scary. Of course, when I started reading SF/F, all the men were chauvinists, so maybe I don't notice it as much. I have to commend Jim Butcher for not making his female characters wimps. None of them are without flaws, but if a female character is asking Harry for protection, she's usually playing him. One of the great things about this series is that the characters are aging and growing. Time really passes and people live with the consequences of bad choices. Even though the first 3 books are not the strongest, there are enough references back to them in later books to make them worth reading. Another great thing about his characters is that they are not all black and white. Hoping Harry has a happy ending somewhere down the road, but Butcher has admitted he loves to torture him.
SqueakyTiki
22. Bdizzle
I started the series pretty recently because a friend said I'd love them. He also said that I needed to make it to book 5 before they started getting good. The first 4 are good, but the rest of the series is 100x better. I can't wait for the next one to come out!
tatiana deCarillion
23. decarillion
Book-marking this for later reading. I haven't read all the books yet (hubby has), and since I have found that with Leigh's first-time read of ASoIaF, there were plenty of things I missed while reading the series the first time around, I'm sure the same will hold true for me, for this one LOL
SqueakyTiki
24. Icefeather
I actually started the Dresden Files with White Night,a random book that cuaght my eye in a used books store.I started looking for more books by Butcher before I even finished it.Storm Front may be one of the weaker books of the series but I think it is still better than so many other books out there,I also like reading Butchers earlier books becuase Dresden is more hopeful and...optimistic in the first 4 or 5 books before he gets beaten up so much.As for his chauvinism it never bothered me because dresden doesn't look down on women but rather sees them as precious.
SqueakyTiki
25. S.lloyd
Re:Women
Karen Murphy is describe by her physical characteristics but they are juxtaposed against her skill, power and strength of will.
Rajan Khanna
26. rajanyk
@10-Juhan, I can promise that's not going to happen. Most of the series posts have been done and the remaining, including the one for Cold Days, are in progress. And you have my apologies for the Amber reread. I am hoping to possibly revisit it after the Dresden reread is completed.
Andrew Barton
27. MadLogician
@2-alSeen, I love that scene. 'I'll see your two hundred years, and raise you sixty-five million ...'
Jeremy Clegg
28. Cleggster
Looking forward to reading your take on these books. I am a big fan and started reading right before the 6th book came out. I do have to agree with you that the first book is probably the weakest. I usually recommend a later book for people who are on the fence about reading them. I did like the first one enough to keep reading. But it was the third, Grave Peril, that got me hooked. One of the things that got me so into it was how each book was noticeably better then the last. And yeah, the chapter with "Sue" has what may be my favorite line from any book.
Gerd K
29. Kah-thurak
I read "Storm Front" a few years ago and found it too mediocre too continue with the series - fantasy series dont improve drastically after the first book in my experiance. But looking at the comments here this might be an exception. Which book would be a good choice to see whether I like the stronger ones in the series better?

@10 Juhan
There was a Chronicles of Amber Re-Read and it was discontinued after the first post? Sounds like a shame.
AJ Nicholson
31. andrewjax76
@Kah-thurak that is hard for me, a fan from the beginning, to answer. The writing really doesn't start to get better till about the 5th one. However many important characters are introduced in the third one so it is kind of important to the story. The third one is also the start of a major plot arc that still has repercussions to Harry.
SqueakyTiki
32. Badass Sasquatch
Dresden reread? I'll take that! I just discovered these books myself and I love how fast and fun they are.
S Cooper
33. SPC
I'd been avoiding urban fantasy thoroughly until my dad pressed this book on me. By the time I got to the sene where Harry's trapped in the magic circle with Susan on the love potion, I was hooked for good. I never noticed any misogyny - I can make allowances because Harry is such a force of nature of a character. He's very thoroughly himself - you don't really have to put yourself in his shoes or fill in any blanks with him, he's very solidly on the page. This is going to be a fun reread. I started rereading them myself a few months ago and ran out of juice about 6 books in - some of them are a bit hard to reread. Thanks for doing it for me.
SqueakyTiki
34. KarrieW.
Love, Love, Love this series. I'm pretty sure I've read it at least 3 times all the way through. Storm Front may not be the strongest, but it is what hooks you to the series. It was amazing! There are to many to consider to pick a favorite, but I know Dead Beat is up there! I love Harry Dresden, and went to a book signing out in Virginia to meet Jim Butcher. When he started reading Ghost Story, I completely envisioned Harry Dresden. He was the voice! It was incredible, and we cannot wait until Cold Days makes its appearance!
Bridget McGovern
35. BMcGovern
Zexxes @30: I think it's possible to make your point without the preemptive name-calling and massive generalizations. This is a civil discussion about one character and a series of books, not a soapbox from which to indict all women for reverse chauvinism.
SqueakyTiki
36. Katedoken
Harry's chauvenism bothered me a little at first because I wasn't sure where the books were going to take it. But then I fell in love with Murphy the moment we meet her, and all was good. And I agree that the series does a good job of showing how his attitude is not particularly healthy or desirable.
SqueakyTiki
37. KJ
I would think that the characteristics of chauvanism could be considered part of the hard-boiled noirish detective theme.
Shelly wb
38. shellywb
Like others, I think Storm Front has the weakest writing of the series. It is so over the top noir it took me three attempts to finish it. I only did because I'd skipped ahead and read Fool Moon, which showed Butcher was capable of improving. And he's improved a lot since he started writing.

Regarding the issue of women and how Harry describes them all physically -- have you ever notice the lavish attention he spends upon the appearances of Marcone, Michael, Sanya and Thomas? Seriously, it verges of sexual attention to detail, fueling some opinions that he's gay and doesn't realize it (and the blatant flirting between him and Marcone doesn't help that- even my husband asked if there was something between them, and he's oblivious to such things). So Harry's sexualized physical descriptions really aren't just focused on the females.

Some people seem to forget too that these are novels in the noir tradition, and the male leads in books like this tend to be like Dresden. Maybe that means he's not a completely likeable guy. But I think it makes him interesting. It's not like we have his whole story. We're only halfway through the 24 or so volumes Butcher is writing. So he has the potential to grow and learn, and I'm not going to write him off until I see his whole journey.
SqueakyTiki
39. GiveMeABreak
I have to say this how, chauvinism argument just makes me nuts. Its for women who aren't secure enough in themselves to have problems with men. Holy cow, grow up, get some self esteem, do something and learn that self esteem isn't something someone gives your its what you earn as you learn what you can do and what you can accomplish. I don't have a problem with Harry's behavior towards women, and as you see the women in his life are plenty able to deal with problems. I do think that Jim Butcher probably has several strong and self-aware women in his life from his understanding of Murphy and Molly.

However, I enjoy Storm Front, it sets out the beginnings of the mythology without dumping the "Magic Primer" on you, which is not an enjoyable experience. You learn as the people in the book learn, which is an acceptable method for me.

I like Harry because he's truthful enough to admit what he is, and to admit he's not perfect. I find him believeable, something I don't usually find in books. He's a person with good points, bad points, flaws, skills and problems just like real people. I actually find Harry likeable, intelligent, self-motivate, self-aware, thoughtful, concerned, caring, strong, independant, a bit stupid when dealing with how women think, happy with his life, himself and where he's going.

Bizarrely, probably because I've read Zane Gray (spelling?) and others but I don't find his descriptions of people overly strange, especially from someone who deals with people in a law enforcement field. They do notice lots that normal people don't see. I do notice that he develops full mental pictures of his characters, including their characteristics. As the plots often deal with the less seeable parts of people, the view Harry has of them is understandable.

However, I'm a bit disturbed that intimate knowledge of people seems to be shown as sexual in the comments. Intimate and sexual or so very separate that I'm amazed that no one has said, he's intimate with the people in his life, though very seldom sexually involved with them. Intimate is also not just about sex, but it is about knowing the people in his life. I like this aspect of him as I find his ability to have intimate interpersonal relationships with many people on many levels.

I don't truthfully believe this matches PI novels because its not a PI novel, it a different genre. I think Harry is what he purports to be, an individual who's learning, growing, getting better and getting worse.

I don't think Storm Front is weak, but I agree that the novels have gotten more complex.
SqueakyTiki
40. Umbardacil
Harry is a sexist pig? Since when? At worst, he has sometimes been a little overprotective of women because they are women (which, okay, is discrimination based on sex, but I never found it a defining trait for him); he certainly never considers them 'weak' or 'stupid' or 'useless' or anything like that. I am honestly confounded by the fact that many people seemed to have been put off of Dresden Files because of Harry's apparent chauvinism. He has never come off to me (a guy) as sexist and given the abundance of strong, self-motivated women in the Dresdenverse, neither have the stories.

Some one gave a long list of strong women, good guys and bad, in the Dresdenverse above. There's still more - Titania and Mab, Lily and Maeve, The Denarians Tessa and Lashiel, Ivy (the Archive) who's a better wizard than Harry at 12, a number of the Alphas, the vampire Mavra and so on and so forth.

Personally, other than one absolutely epic scene, I found Fool Moon a weaker book than Storm Front. For me, Dresden Files only started to get really good after about book four. From then, it's only been picking up in pace and complexity.
Emmet O'Brien
41. EmmetAOBrien
Rajan@26: When in the reread are you planning on doing Side Jobs ? Thinking about it, there are some stories in there it would be good to be able to allude to even as early in the series as Proven Guilty, and others that get spoilery for as late as Changes.
Emmet O'Brien
42. EmmetAOBrien
shellywb@38: Blatant flirting between Harry and Marcone ? Where are you seeing that ?

(OK, my brain just went "not unless they are kismeses", and I really did not need to have the Dresden Files collide with Homestuck.)
Emmet O'Brien
43. EmmetAOBrien
Umbardacil@40; treating a trained and competent police office as a delicate flower who must be protected because she happens to be female is what struck me as the outstanding example of Harry's sexist piggery in the early books, for what that may be worth.
Shelly wb
44. shellywb
@42, the most blatant examples are in White Nights, though it happens through any of the books when they encounter one another. Especially on Marcone's part. Read their scenes together and change one to a female character in your head; then you'll see it. If Butcher had written Marcone or Dresden as a female, readers would be clamoring for them to get together because of the tension between them.

(And I feel I should add, I'm not one of those fangirl types who sees relationships between men in books, TV and movies just because they're friends or comrades. I can't stand that. But this made me sit up and notice.)
SqueakyTiki
45. Angryshortguy
I went through these books faster than any series I've ever read.
Great reads.
The treatment of women in the Dresden books never occured to me, and it still makes no sense.
Maybe that makes me a male chauvinist?
No, I don't think that's the problem.
There are as many weak women as men in this series.
Just as there are as many strong women as strong men.
maybe more strong women.

As a man, should that upset me?

Should men complain because of a certain medical examiner being such a weak coward when we first meet him?
What about a certain coward who talks to the dead?

Karrin, Susan, Lara Raith, Mab, Maeve, Harry's Mother, Ms. Gard, Elaine, Mavra, Charity...
All these women (or female creatures) were strong, dangerous, and could take care of themselves.

Let's give the soapbox a break!
SqueakyTiki
46. Stephen J G
After reading througn the series thus far, I would say that Harry's attitude towards women is more chivalry than chauvanism. There is a difference, even if they share many underlying issues. He refers to himself as a chauvanisist because that is how he beleives he comes across to others.

I don't recall a lot of internal monologue about his opinions regarding male superiority. I would say his interactions with many of the female characters in later books demonstrate nothing but respect, although Storm Front doesn't exactly provide a great example of this. Its easy to see how the portrayal of women in the first couple books can turn people off.

In regard to how he objetifies women in his descriptions, well, he's a pretty sexually frustrated guy for the majority of the series. Not really an excuse, but there it is.
Chuk Goodin
47. Chuk
I liked it but it definitely gets better later. (Also the TV show was okay but didn't get any better later and the roleplaying game is truly most excellent, quite possibly the best RPG based on a novel series ever.)
SqueakyTiki
48. Monkeypants
To everyone complaining about Dresden's 'chavunisism' take a moment and actually think about his life.

His mother died in childbirth and he was raised by a father that never remarried. There was no significant woman in his life until Elaine, when they were both being raised Justin.
He loved her, and then she dies because of him (not actually true but he believes it is). The only girl who ever meant anything to him is dead and he shoulders the blame.
Dresden never calls women inferior, he never calls them weak or stupid. He just wants to protect them because of the guilt he carries for not saving Elaine.
That is not necessarily healthy but it doesn't make him a bad person like some of these people has said.

Also
@shellywb 44
That's called banter and my friends and I do it all the time. It doesn't mean we're attracted to each. Have you read Even Hand? Marcone explictly states that he is planning and preparing to kill Desden and he doesn't feel a twinge of regret at this. Harry/Marcone is one of the most forced ships I have ever seen and honestly, I'm a bit tired of it.
SqueakyTiki
49. tincydoots
I agree that Harry can come off as being overly protective of women, but as a woman, sometimes that seems like it can be a good thing.
Thwart being said, I have read, reread, and listened to the whole series numerous times and I think that "Fool Moon "is much weaker than "Storm Front ". It starts with comedy and goes on with fear, tension, romance, aggravation, and heartbreak.
Shelly wb
50. shellywb
@48, have you ever heard two men banter that way? I sure haven't. Take the test. Read their scenes imagining one as a woman. You'll see it pretty clearly then. And if it reads as flirting between a male and female, it's flirting just the same between two men.

I know a lot of the Butcher fandom gets upset thinking Harry might not be 100% straight (which kind of ties into the problems some readers have with the books' and characters' issues on gender/sexuality), but there's text evidence a plenty backing a thesis that this is so.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
51. ZEXXES
@35 BMcGovern

First, I'd like to apologize for the rant. Leigh Butlers twist on the Wheel of Time Re-Read has me more attuned to female reverse chauvinism in general and I am hoping this Re-Read will not go down that road as well.

Second, I do not apologize for my commentary's contents. I said nothing particularly offensive. While I did make some broad generalizations, they were TRUE generalizations and there is actually accrued data to support those generalizations.Generalizations themselves are not always and should not always be perceived as derogatory. In this case, the author of this posting brought the subject of Chauvinism up, and so rebuttal of her opinion should be expected. If it was not expected, I feel she and maybe even you Mr McGovern are being quite naive.

I called no one names. I did mention what, generally speaking and as well as through personal experience, what every woman I have known has said at one time or another. If there was name calling, It was simply myself relaying to you the reader what I have heard uncountable times what was uttered out of womens mouths about men.

Why should I, a man, be excepting of a woman's opinion on a controversial bent such as she chose. Because it's offensive to her disagree? Or maybe it's because you or she didn't like having the fact the reverse chauvinism being brought to light.

Caring for someone is not chauvinism simply because the its between a man and woman.

Feeling the need to protect is not chauvinism simply because it's between a man and a woman.

Desiring women sexualy is not chauvinism simply because it's between a man and woman.

Thinking sexual thoughts when seeing a comely person is not chauvinism simply because they are a man or a woman.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
52. ZEXXES
Continued...

Singularly, these and many other instances, are not grounds for labeling one a chauvinist. And even lumped together, it would still not be grounds for the label. But if at any time these things are used to oppress someone whether intentional or unintentional, that there my friends is where the line is crossed.

Clearly Dresden has no intent to oppress the women in his life, with the exception of his mortal enemies. Whether or not his thoughts, feelings or actions have oppressed anyone in any chauvinistic way is open for debate. I am of the opinion that Dresden has not yet crossed that line.


Z
Steven Halter
53. stevenhalter
Zexxes@52:Harry has problems--Harry admits that. Sometimes I find his attitudes of overprotectiveness worthy of a face palm. Most of the time I happily cheer him on as he battles against the forces of evil.
Harry has room for growth. That's a good thing--if he was perfect there wouldn't be much of a story. I find some of his attitudes annoying, but not mean-spirited. Other people may read and react in different ways and that is fine--there are many ways to interpret a given story.
JAMES MCCLELLAN
54. ZEXXES
@ All

I realize I'm ranting. But ask you your forgiveness for going a little further. It'll be short.

Generally speaking, can we concede that men can almost always physically overwhelm a woman. I think we can.

Can we also concede, that humanely speaking, everyone, man or woman, has a right to Not be physically be forced to do anything against there will. Can we concede that any person should have the right to Not be physically harmed by another, baring defending oneself from threat to life or limb. I think we can.

Can we concede that not everyone aligns with those humane and civil rights?

Can we concede that given that either through God's machinations or the random workings of the Universe, as well as through our almost blatant raising our children and through our truly chauvinistic military, that men in general are more aggressively inclined and so more physically and mentally suited towards the actions of defense. I think, in most respects,we can.

So why is there such a negative reaction to a Man's feeling a need to protect those he loves or cares for, when his mental faculties and his physical capacity is most fit to do so? When he is raised to do so?

Ughhh! Our society is so obtuse sometimes.

Z
Steven Halter
55. stevenhalter
On a different note, the underlying split between the magical world and the non-magical world is an interesting choice (not originating in the Dresden Files). By having most of humanity unaware and to some extent unable to notice all of the magical stuff that is going on, Butcher gives an answer to how these things can be happening in the current world (and thus letting urban fantasy happen).
I'm always a bit uncomfortable with this route. I'm generally in favor of equiping people with all the knowledge there is. Of course, that would make for a very different story.
Skip Ives
56. Skip
I liked Storm Front. The writing lacks some of the skill that the author has acquired over the years, but his ability to tell a compelling story is front and center. Harry is a believable character with believable characteristics, in a world that makes sense. I think the story here worked better than Fool Moon and Grave Peril, the plot is less waylaid by distractions than the other two and makes more sense. The writing and the plot definitely take a sharp rise with Summer Knight, the first chapter alone makes that clear.

These books are also more like P.I. detective stories than typical Urban Fantasy in tone and structure. They use more of the tropes and conventions of the former too, and that may be what is giving people fits. Harry knows he is chivalrous. He knows it comes off as chauvinistic and in Murphy’s case he plays it up because he knows it burns her. He is not a misogynist though (unlike many P.I.s in the genre), and that would seem to be a big distinction for me. That said, if his attitude puts you off, it isn’t going to change, and these probably aren’t the books for you.

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about the books is Dresden’s sense of humor. It was obvious from the first that the author was well versed in his RPGs (pen and paper for the most part), and much of the geek culture that is now much more common to be referenced now than it was in 2000. It was that use of humor to balance out the violence, set-backs or horror that kept me reading through some of the books – Mr. Butcher has a Sam Raimi-like need to beat Harry up in every book.

I’ve been with the series since it came out – another author had enjoyed the ARC and recommended it on his site, and I am likely to stay with it to the end.
Emmet O'Brien
57. EmmetAOBrien
stevenhalter@55: the "most of humanity unaware" thing stretches my suspension-of-disbelief rather a lot in this series, and more as the series progresses and the scale of events it involves ignoring gets larger; every time I see Harry go on about how modern human beings are rationalists who will rationalise away the supernatural if it occurs right under their noses, I want to know where all the people who in the real world are eager-to-desperate for some form of irrational/supernatural to believe in have gone.
SqueakyTiki
58. Umbardacil
@43 EmmetAOBrien - I suppose it's just me, but since Harry is always aware that his attitude towards Murphy (in the first books, anyhow) is idiotic, I don't consider it to be 'piggery'. It's sexist maybe, in terms of a strict definition, but in intent or even content, it's not really anything. Harry respects Murphy and her strength and eventually comes to depend on it. Also, I felt, in the beginning at least, that some of his attitude was because i) Murphy was a Muggle and ii) Murphy didn't trust him. That is, he acted out in order to rile her up and out of concern that she might get hurt not because she was a woman, but she was an ignorant Muggle. But maybe I'm just looking for excuses.

I wonder though, if Harry is too much of a 'sexist pig' for some people to get into the Dresden Files, what do they think of A Song of Ice and Fire?
SqueakyTiki
59. MathGeek
@EmmetAOBrien
Then what about protecting Will (Billy) and keeping him in the dark of most of what is going on even though he is a freeking werewolf until Small Favor? As I see it, Dresden protects those who he sees as "little fish", whether they be female, like Susan or Murphy, or male, like Butters and Will. When Dresden realizes they can handle it, he lets them in: Murphy is now his number 1 go to person. He has no problem with taking order for Luccio even though she's a woman. And he fully admits that Ancient Mai scares the crap out of him. I don't think any of this would be the case if he was truely a sexist pig.
Emmet O'Brien
60. EmmetAOBrien
MathGeek@59: No argument, he's an idiot about withholding information from people through the series regardless of what gender they are; I do feel he gets somewhat better about this as the series progresses, but discussing that in detail should probably wait the reread reaches the books in question. Monkeypants@48 has a good point about the degree to which Harry's earlier life was traumatic and how tthat goes some way to make his perspectives understandable, but understandable does not automatically equal sympathetic; nor does the sexism entailed in treating women differently cease to become bothersome just because that "differently" is something he is perpetually justifying as protective.

Umbardacil@58: Not sure what you're getting at with the ASoIaF comparison; I can't think of any portrayals of sexism in aSoIaF that read as if we are supposed to take it as sympathetic.
SqueakyTiki
61. Monkeypants
@ 50 Shellywb
Yes, I have heard two men banter that way. In fact, as I previously stated, my friends and I banter that way all the time and none of us are gay.

I preformed the 'test' and it didn't sound like flirting. It reminded me a lot of Murphey and Dresden back when she still didn't trust him. There was nothing sexual there; just grudging respect and several attempts to verbally one-up each other.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with being gay, but there is something wrong with making a character something he isn't.

And where is there any evidence that Harry is gay? He laughes at the idea of people thinking he and Thomas are couple, feels nothing for the men interested in him when he visits Club Zero, and never 'adjusts his pants' when around male White Court Vampires. Even when they've got their mojo working.
Stephanie Leary
62. sleary
I adore this series, but I've had mixed results recommending it to friends. Everyone has trouble with the quality of the writing in the first three books. Men get past that once they're reassured that it gets much better around book 4. Women, confronted with journeyman writing AND a chauvinist protagonist, bail without finishing Storm Front. (My sample size here is less than ten, so don't read those statements as sweeping generalizations.) As Fade says, the fact that it's self-aware chauvinism doesn't make it any more palatable to readers who get enough of that crap in real life, thanks.

Harry is largely based on noir detective heroes from the 1940s, and his values simply don't fit in a twenty-first century character. This is a huge problem with the early books.

He does grow and change, thankfully. Mostly because Murphy keeps smacking him upside the head. There's a moment I love in White Night where he stands back and lets take care of magical business. When Murphy asks if he minds that she's stealing his thunder, he replies, "She doesn't need to steal my thunder." Right there, I forgave him.

The chauvinism is definitely a bug, not a feature. Knowing that the first three books were written for his novel class, and that he lifted character traits wholesale from a list of favorite noir detectives, I can just give Butcher the side eye and move on. If I'd come to the books cold, I'm not sure I could have given him a pass on it.

I tolerate the first three books. I enjoy the next three as cheesy fun. I flat-out adore Dead Beat and all the subsequent volumes.

I mean, SUE!
SqueakyTiki
63. tincydoots
I have one problem with the rereading of these books - and I've done it several times - and that is the inconsistencies of them from book to book. Anyone else notice that Harry had a charcoal stove in Storm Front and then later in the series in becomes a wood stove - like Mac's? There are more, but I'll bring them up when the particular book is reread.
SqueakyTiki
64. Umbardacil
@ 60 EmmetAOBrien - I don't think Harry's sexist perspective is supposed to be any more sympathetic that ASoIaF's entrenched sexism. Neither Harry nor Butcher seeks to justify his sexism and he actively modifies his attitude over time.

I was asking - sincerely, not sarcastically - that since some people are turned off of Dresden Files because of Harry's chauvinist attitudes, how do these people react to the far, far worse sexism established in ASoIaF. It was throwaway curiosity, not an indictment of reading tastes. I know I've been turned off of books that I have been assured are very good because I found one particular scene, character or viewpoint too distasteful. Sometimes I've gone back, looked past that one thing and found a great story in the offing.

I think what bothers me here is the fact that I never picked up on Harry's sexism as anything but a mild fault. It has never been - unlike, say, Rand al'Thor's - a big part of his character. His sexist attitude was a product of his White Knight views and it applied to everyone, not just women. That's why I have trouble classifying it as sexism.
Emmet O'Brien
65. EmmetAOBrien
Umabardacil@64: I don't think Butcher is presenting Harry's sexism as a positive thing, but Harry's persistent insistence that that's just the way he is feels like justification to me; in a series so focused on the importance of free will, that's a very odd thing to be taking as an unchangeable given.

Rand al'Thor, by contrast, lives in a world where the fundamental forces of magic operate in a gender-essentialist way; I don't find that particularly appealing, and have not read the entirety of the series, but by comparison with an urban fantasy in what is meant to be recgnisably our world with extra bits, there is at least more plausible a reason for characters to be sexist. (Nor is sexism in the WoT booksd limited to male characters.)
JAMES MCCLELLAN
66. ZEXXES
@64 Umbardacil

The sexism and chauvinism in the Wheel of Time is on a whole nother level. Nothing in this series even remotely compares to the depth of it. But to be honest, I never read with any bent in mind that would allow me to be turned off by any particular viewpoint. The only time it happens to me is if a character is so distasteful, I might find my self skimming his dialog rather than reading it, as I can usually glean where the character is going. The only times, I've actually discarded books, is when the writing or story line become weak or repetitive. Sword of Shannara was that way with me, as well as more recently ASoIaF. SOS was truly repetitive and weak as the storyline went on from book to book. ASoIaF became repetitive with regards to main character loss. And the only truly enduring character was a particularly distasteful one. The writing IS very strong though, I must admit. The Malazan series is another strong example of writing, but I abandoned it because of its exhausting prose, switching back and forth between story lines seemingly unrelated until further in the series. It started off amazingly well and then became more and more convoluted as the story went from book to book. I had enough of that with the Illuminatus Trilogy.

All in all this becomes a much stronger series after book three. Interestingly, this series can be started almost from any point baring the last four books. Butcher was very good at allowing each book to stand alone, with little mention of past happenings unless necessary. That is actually harder to do than one thinks, juggling the balance of sequential history and present time prominence.

Z
SqueakyTiki
67. Sapph
Re: Harry's "chauvanism". Its actually not there.

No really, go with me a moment. Harry calls himself a chauvanist because he feels an overwhelming need to protect women and treat them well. And we just nod and say "Yep, that sure is old fashioned."

But its not actually chauvanist. Chauvanism implies a belief in the SUPERIORITY of one's gender. I don't ever remember him saying things like "Murphy was strong. For a girl. I guess." or "Lara Raith was a manipulative whore, just like every other women." Such things are, actually, grossly out of character for him. He doesn't save women because women are weak flowers that need saving. He saves people, because people are dumb and weak (relative to what goes bump in the night).

Violence against women and children makes him especially angry, but I don't see that as chauvanism. The subjugation of Wee Folk seems to piss him off, but no one says he is prejudiced against the Fae - just the opposite.

And he KNOWS that most of the women in his life are strong capable women. He doesn't look down on them, he doesn't think them less than capable. He even (SPOILER AHEAD) gives Karrin one of the Swords of the Cross! His actions are not the actions of a chauvanist.

@4 above mentioned only getting two pages into book three (Grave Peril) and putting it down for the chauvanism. This boggles my mind. There are eight important female characters in story (Leannanshide, Charity, Susan, Murphy, Lydia, Bianca, Mavra and Justine). Of them, you could only call - maybe - Suasn, Lydia, and Justine weak. And both Susan and Justine definately Take a Level (or Two) in Badass. He writes consistantly strong women, and it is absurd to think of this book as chauvanist. READ the books - don't just take Harry's word for it.
Steven Halter
68. stevenhalter
Sapph@67:Harry doesn't have a conscious belief that women are inferior. But, by holding that he must protect them, he is showing that he holds that belief (at least to some extent) unconsciously.
As mentioned above, Harry actually wants to protect everyone he percieves as weaker than himself and to some extent he percieves all non-magic (and many of them) beings as being weaker than himself and therefore unable to take care of themselves. To some extent he is correct--he is a powerful wizard and can handle things others can't. Of course, being powerful doesn't mean that everybody else is incapable and it is there that his judgements fall onto the wrong side.
This is somewhat ironic as Harry constantly chafes under the Wizard councils edicts--they are doing exactly the same with the rest of the world as Harry does in his daily life.
Now, I don't think any of this makes Harry a bad person. (I really enjoy the series). He has flaws--everybody does. He has complexity. As the story progresses, I think he is making some progress in figuring these things out for himself. His interactions with Molly (that we'll get to after a long time) are a particularly good indication of his improving psychology.
SqueakyTiki
69. AndiLynn
I've never considered Harry a chauvenist, just quaintly old-fashioned in ways that cause him all sorts of problems because he so regularly misses the obvious about women. The women in the books are just too strong themselves, although real with flaws, for me to be offended. Try Sharon Green if you really want to deal with chauvanism.

Interesting time for a reread as I just finished mine, only it was going back the second time and having James Marsters read the books to me. His audio versions are wonderful and get better with each book, just as Harry et al. (Skip Ghost Story on audio book as they did NOT get JM and it's crushingly WRONG as a result).

What I find most amazing about this series is that each book does get better. They do NOT come across as formulaic, which so many series do about book 3 or 4. I never know where Jim Butcher is going to take everyone next--didn't see Ghost Story coming--and it's wonderfully fresh as a result.
SqueakyTiki
70. mrgoodbuffalo
I myself have read the whole series except for the last one, my love for Butchers books goes beyond his Dresden series. If you've read him then you probably see his other series, I hope he comes out of with another series it would be a privillage to read that one also.
AJ Nicholson
71. andrewjax76
At first was annoyed by Z's comments because I thought them off topic of the books.
However I am going to go off topic to defend Harry and how violence against women and children make him exceptionally angry. Women are not necessarly more weaker then men but in many respects they are more vulnerable, and children are both weaker and more vulnerable. Even your most extreme feminist would probably concede that children always should be protected so I am not going to focus on them. Your average man is physically stronger then your average women and that is a fact. Your average man has been psychologically conditioned that part of being a man is to fight rather then let another man take advantage of him. That saying physiologically and emotionally women are more prone to accept abuse. I am not trying to be sexest but this is obvious to anyone who has worked with people who have been domestically abused. Which I have. The numbers don't lie.
Also in the books I find it interesting that Karin or Molly; and to a lesser extent; Eliane, Susan, and Anastasia; are far more fierce in thier protection of the ones they love then Harry.
People can try to take a high horse and say that everyone is equal and in the eyes of God and the Law they are.
However answer this question truthfully.
You see someone being abused in a parking lot how will you handle it?
For me if it is a kid/or Elderly adult - I am going to get out and do something
if it is a women - I am either going to get out and do something or I am going to call the cops
if it is a man - I would probably call the cops, but then again I just might move along and hope I am not noticed.
It ain't right but it is reality
SqueakyTiki
72. DaveMac
I love all of the Dresden series. While Storm Front may be seen as the weakest of them all, it's still far and away a wonderful introduction to Harry and some of the characters that surround him.

Everyone has different tastes and perspectives; personally, I don't see anything about his treatment of women that would be offensive. Harry's a well-meaning goof who learns things the hard way, usually after he gets his head knocked in, whether it's by a rampaging monkey demon or by a ticked-off friend.

I just finished re-reading all of the series. Can't wait for the next one!
Jody Harkavy
73. Jodster223
I LOVE the Dresden Files. I cannot wait for each new book as it comes out.
I am also a woman and I am not upset at Harry's treatment of women. Yes, it's a weakness of his. Not being able to turn down a woman in distress is certainly something that can be taken advantage of, and is.

Frankly, Harry Dresden is overprotective of EVERYONE!! Ask Billy et al. Harry is shown time and time again that the women in his life are strong and can take care of themselves. It's his insecurities that keep making it imperative he save everyone, all the important people in his life (most of the important onces being women).

However, the strongest characters are women:
Charity (Do NOT piss this woman off)
Molly
Susan
Murphy
Georgia
The list can go on for much longer. His passion and integrity force him to want to protect the "weaker sex" which is constantly finds is just the opposite. So Butcher is not espousing that women are weak, he is stating boldly that they go against that way of thinking and will ALWAYS surprise Harry, and that's a good thing!!
Robert Poe
74. Reece65
Good afternoon,
This is my first posting on something like this and I'm glad to have run across it.
I just became addicted to the Dresden files a few months ago and have yet to read all the books that have already been published (just completed Turn Coat).
I would like to make a couple of statements that pertain to earlier posts.
1) I agree with those who have posted before that chivalry does not equal chauvanism, a desire to help and protect something does not mean that you believe that you are better than whatever it is that you are trying to protect. Harry may enjoy opening doors for women and caries it probably too far, but I don't think I've seen anything in the books where he looks down on them or feels that they are less of a person than he is.
2)Harry and Marcone... just because they can accept one anothers strengths shouldn't lead you to thinking that they're "flirting." We've been inside Harry's head, we know when he has to adjust himself, there was no indication of any attraction between these two. I've been thinking that as much as they've been forced to work together already, their relationship should be easier than it is. I haven't seen anything to indicate that they are getting more accepting of each other, and probably never will.
3) I'll wait for the appropriate books to say why, but so far one of my favorite characters is Mouse... especially in Turn Coat

I look forward to catching up to those of you that are up to date and also to catching the new books still to come.
SqueakyTiki
75. Chris v
Ok, I'm trying to find out how this re-read is going to work. Is this a once a week post where we go chapter by chapter like the Wheel of Time re-reads? Or... do we do book by book posts such as seen above?

Personally, I LOVE Harry. My daughter and I read and re-read the Dresden books. I do not see him as a chauvenist at all. Kinda stupid when it comes to women, but he doesn't treat Karen badly or assume she's stupid because she's female. What he does is be dumb about trying to protect her. That's different, and those getting their panties in a twist over it are either looking for a fight where there isn't one, or these books just aren't their cup of tea.

I love Harry's smart-ass comments, I love his willingness to jump in when things get messy and stick it through, and I love that he grows over the course of the series. He gets beat up over and over and over again, and my girls and I now describe anyone who takes a pounding and still gets up to win as "pulling a Harry Dresden."
Rajan Khanna
76. rajanyk
@75 Chris v - the reread is structured to cover each book in one post and they should go up weekly. With Cold Days coming out in a few weeks it will be covered when we get up to it. Obviously it's a lot to cover in each post, so please chime in if you think something requires a bit more coverage. Part of the fun of doing this is reading the comments by other fans and seeing things that I might not have considered or noticed. And I hope as we get deeper into the series that people can share their theories about some of the bigger plot threads.
Matt Stoumbaugh
77. LazerWulf
I absolutely LOVE The Dresden Files, and I was hoping to see a re-read of it here. The thing I love most about Harry is that he's snarky. This got me early on, as one of first SF chapters ends with the line "Paranoid? Maybe. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon out there about to eat your face." (Or something like that). But the whole Dresdenverse is so immersive, and this book is a great introduction. And even though this is a stand-alone novel, later in the series we learn that the events in this book still tie in to the larger story.

Also, I don't think Harry is a chauvanist (even if he does call himself one, but then again, he has terrible self-image problems). Chauvanism implies that he thinks he's better than women, which he doesn't. Another line from SF: "Call me old fashioned, but I think women should be treated as something other than shorter, weaker, men with breasts". (Again, not verbatim, as I don't have my copy handy). That's not chauvanism, that's chivalry. After Harry kills his mentor, he grows up on a farm in Arkansas with Ebenezer McCoy, who is as old fashioned (keyword there is "old") as they come, so it's no surprise that Harry shares some of his values. So when Harry sees a woman in trouble, he reacts the way he does, not because he thinks the woman can't get herself out of the situation (or that she can't BECAUSE she's a woman), but that she shouldn't HAVE to get herself out of the situation. So from my point of view, at least, Harry doesn't think Men are better than Women, if anything, it's the opposite.

And as for keeping things from Murphy to protect her? It's not because she's a woman, because he does the same thing to Butters (right up until a necromancer turns one of Butters' co-workers into a zombie and he's thrust into the world).
JAMES MCCLELLAN
78. ZEXXES
I so wish now that the whomever authored this Re - Read hadn't brought up such a controversial subject as chauvinism. It has basically taken over this whole conversation, ruining any chance of having a discussion about the actual happenings in the book. I hate it when people get an agenda stuck in their head and ruin what could have been an truly enjoyable experience.

I'll say it again, I reeeeally hope this isn't gonna be a trend with re-reads authored by women. I know that in itself is somewhat offensive to the women of Tor.com, but jeez somebodies gotta say it. And I know for a fact I'm not the only one thinking it. I don't honestly know if every re read by a woman has a wealth of feminist agenda, but I now know of two. And it makes me wonder is all.

I know, I know.... Imma Jerk!

But I feel it's at least fair for me to be able to say that I am beginning to feel offended by the way my favorite books and authors are being portrayed and while these people have a right to there opinion, I should have a right to a rebuttal in the name of these books and their authors honor, lacking their own defense of their own works.

Z
David Helton
79. davidh219
Storm Front is defintely the weakest of the series, but that didn't stop me from loving it to pieces when I first read it. If I went back to it now, I would probably be underwhelmed. The best thing about the series has become Harry's series-long character arc. Every book is it's own little mystery, which is fun, but later books had an extra something in that Harry and his world actually change in permanant ways that carry over from book to book. The rise and fall of Lash, the introduction of Uriel, Mouse, etc. It's gotten a hundred times more intense in the last couple books. This being the first book in the series you didn't get any of that--it was just the fun little paranormal mystery and nothing else.

And yeah, women are portrayed weakly a lot of the time, but not always. Usually it's the minor female characters that get the shaft. The more major characters are usually treated pretty well. There's Murphy, obviously. Yeah she's usually described by her physical appearance, but we're getting a narration from inside Harry's head and he obviously has a thing for her. Ivy (The Archive) is, I think, both a fantastic female character and a fantastic child character. The Corpsetaker was a great female villain, and Lara Wraith is a great female antihero. Michael's wife is hilariously awesome, and Molly is also great--troubled as hell, but still as strong as her mother in her own way, and more than worthy to be Dresden's apprentice.
Steven Halter
80. stevenhalter
Zexxes@78:Please feel free to bring up other topics on things in the book.
SqueakyTiki
81. Monsterormouse
The Dresden Files are the book version of cocaine for me, once I start the first one, I will find I have to reread the rest of the series before reading anything else, in the space of two weeks. But does anyone else find the use of the "Superteam" repetitious and annoying? And certain themes/phrases seem to be repeated all too often. Of course, I'm talking off the cuff without the books in front of me. Maybe many people enjoy seeing the same characters yet again having grown half a step (sacrasm). Or I could be spoiled by GRRM.
Debbie Solomon
82. dsolo
Back to the plot of the book, I'm blanking on the name, but weren't the couple that was helping Victor Seles, the ones whose daughter had accidentally been shot by Marcone. That bears mentioning, since that incident explains a lot about Marcone's attitude towards children and the repercussions of it show up in future books.
SqueakyTiki
83. MRCHalifax
I disagree about Storm Front being the weakest novel in the series; Fool Moon is not as good as Storm Front. Things don't really start to pick up until Grave Peril, and don't become great until Death Masks.

Regarding women, the most obvious sign of sexism is that every single woman in the story, excepting those aged past child-bearing years, are all extremely attractive. The men are often ugly, scrawny, weak, slovenly, but the women are always beautiful. Beyond that, women in the series are without question at least the equal of the men in terms of competence, power, and intelligence. Three of the four major 'frenemies' for Harry are women (Lash, Lara, and Mab; Marcine is the only male exception). Harry shows no shame in admitting when a woman is better than him in any way.

Harry is a chivalrous pervert. He's sexist in that he treats men and women differently; for better or worse, he accords women more respect than he does men (look at how he treats Hendricks, Morgan and Lord Raith compared to Gard, Luccio and Lara) while being quite open to the reader about how attractive he finds them.
Emmet O'Brien
84. EmmetAOBrien
MRCHalifax@83:Regarding women, the most obvious sign of sexism is that every single woman in the story, excepting those aged past child-bearing years, are all extremely attractive.

Harry being a man who is attracted to most women and not attracted to men doesn't strike me as sexism (unlike the obnoxious chivalry stuff), and the balance there is also skewed by Harry bumping into a fair number of female supernatural predators for whom being inhumanly glamorous is a predation tactic; Thomas shows that there are male ones of those in the books too, but I can buy Harry not seeing so much of those because given his preferences there's no point in them aiming their glamour at him.
Debbie Solomon
85. dsolo
Not every woman in the series is described as beautiful. One of the wolf pack girls is described as mousy, and when you get to the later books, there are Paranet women who are average or ordinary looking. I think @84 is correct in mentioning that many of the females that Harry interacts with are female predators, which requires glamour. He frequently describes Thomas as incredibly good looking. Harry also denigrates his own looks, while others describe him as handsome.
As for being sexist, when you are walking down the street, do you notice all the average looking people or is your eye drawn to the extremely attractive or the extremely unattractive. We notice what's outside the norm. That's why it's so hard for police to rely on eyewitness accounts. Harry attracts attention because he is outside the norm size-wise and wears a long, black duster.

It's probably also a rookie writing mistake to make all the women beautiful. That changes in later books, and more average people show up.

I really didn't have a problem with Murphy's description. It seemed like the author was deliberately making her look a certain way, so that she would be underestimated. She's a cute, petite blonde, so she's harmless. It's called a plot device, allowing her to show her badassery in later books.

Even if this isn't the best Dresden book, it's important to establishing Harry's world. We meet Murphy, Susan Rodriguez, Bob, Marcone and Red Court vampires. Even though the books can be read as stand alones, JB frequently shows consequences of actions in previous books in the current one. Changes is directly a result of actions that started in Storm Front.
Shaz Taslimi
87. shaztaz
@Kah-thurak: Start with Dead Beat (book 7).

I started with Dead Beat. The person who got me started on the series did as well. And I got one other person completely hooked by starting on the same book. You just can't possibly go wrong as implied by the second comment.

Of course this means that I started the series pretty late, but it was so much fun having so many of them to read. I tried other Urban Fantasy solely becasue I love this series so much and have found everything else sorely lacking. Nothing else makes me laugh the way Dresden does.
Shaz Taslimi
88. shaztaz
I think it's actually one of the charms of the Dresden Files that the series keeps getting better as you go on. You know, it's usually the other way around and you just end up getting more and more disappointed as you read later books. That said, Storm Front has a good bit of fun.

The most frustrating thing of course is the whole lack of trust thing that's going on between Murphy and Dresden. It's completely understandable, but gads!


And please please please bring back the Amber reread! That series is such an utter joy.
S Cooper
89. SPC
Exactly, I don't know any other series that's kept improving with every book as long as this one has. That said, Changes and Ghost Story were so harrowing, I'm regarding the next one with some trepidation. It's going to be awesome, but it's going to be painful too.
Skip Ives
90. Skip
On the women being beautiful: Part of this is genre convention, in a PI or Noir novel the femme fatale is always a looker, as is the damsel-in-distress. Part of it is, as others have pointed out, that many of the women in the books are not human and/or use magic to alter their looks. Also, Harry moves among people that either have to stay in shape or are rich and powerful; both of which tend to keep adults looking pretty good. Finally, most of the men are fairly good looking. Butters is the only male regular that would look out of place on a book cover by himself.

On chauvinism: It is a topic for discussion, because people obviously had a visceral reaction to it.

I will say that I wonder how many people that listened to the audio book felt the same way as a similar population that read it. James Marsters reads the books and many people came to series when the audio books first came out back when Buffy was still on the air. I am not saying this to be sexist. I’m a straight man and his voice covers a host of the problems with the first few books we’ve discussed. I think it is because his reading voice so close to the voice and tone I heard in my head when I read the books that it was uncanny. It also helps that he is a geek and gets many of Dresden’s references, so that the dry sarcastic humor of the books comes right through.

@67.Sapph – I agree with you, but the connotation of chauvinism is broader than that today. I think he is clearly a chivalrous person and it is frequently mistaken for chauvinism. His dismissive attitude is more about him having to be chivalrous and not caring how people take it, again I think the difference is that there is no misogyny in Harry’s attitude. It is not uncommon amount men his size, and while he is more thin than muscle-bound, the raw magic power he can throw is staggering. I’m not saying it is right, but I do understand. Harry is a tank and he knows it, to use a RPG analogy.

On the book: the plotting here is actually pretty good, better than Fool Moon, and the tone was more consistent and enjoyable than Grave Peril. I think the writing fails to keep up with the ambitions of the book, but Summer Knight shows marked improvement in writing, and the tone feels much more controlled and directed by Death Masks.

I usually suggest people start with Summer Knight, it stands well enough on its own and is a much better representation of the series. If they like it, then they can go back and read the first three. You really can’t start after that, the other books spoil too much.
Shaz Taslimi
91. shaztaz
@SPC: I know what you mean about Changes and Ghost Story, but GS was also such a delight in so many ways. "Whee, look at me, I'm a new X-Man!" I love how he can have fun with his new-found superhero powers even through everything else (to be intentioanlly vague about it).

I must say I wanted to kill Jim at the end of Changes. Yes, yes, I know, it isn't REALLY a cliffhanger. I still wanted to kill him anyway.
SqueakyTiki
92. TBGH
I don't think Harry is a chauvinist.

Now that that's out of the way, a couple of things I think are significant about the book that haven't gotten a lot of discussion time.

The drug 3rd eye was really a great idea. You take it, can see the future, see the reality behind the curtain, get hooked, and go nuts. It's scary, believable (given the supernatural exists), and not the usual problem in fantasy.

Butcher's ability to set up and deliver great one-liners is unmatched: "For my next trick, anvils!" "Everyone else who lets me ride on their dinosaur calls me Carlos." "The building was on fire and it wasn't my fault." It starts in the very first chapter with the already referenced invisible demon line and is one of my favorite parts of the series.
Shaz Taslimi
93. shaztaz
Heck right at the beginning of SF ... "No. It's Harry Dresden the, uh, lizard. Harry the wizard is one door down."

I can't not love a character who thinks ridiculousness like that.
SqueakyTiki
94. Bast
Sorry to be so out of it but what book is ASoIaF?
Shaz Taslimi
95. shaztaz
A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin's series
SqueakyTiki
97. bungluna
We are in the middle of a major move and my books are in transit, so I won't be able to do my usual re-read of the Dresden novels before the new one comes out. This is a treat and a consolation for me, being able to see how others view one of my favorite series and revisiting all the stories.

First of all, I didn't catch the rabid chauvinism that some other posters caught in Harry. I've been reading this series since the beginning. I had to wait for every new installment, (I aliviated my wait by reading the Allera books too!) At first I just enjoyed this series as one of the few male-written ones I actually enjoyed. It wasn't until book 6 that I became an obsessive fan. I found Harry oldfashioned, a little juvenile and secretive, but not chauvinistic.

That said, this first outing felt more like a mystery noir dressed in UF clothing. The characters were intriguing enough to keep me coming back, but it didn't grab me right from the start.

Harry's relationship with Bob was the one I enjoyed the most from the start. Karin I didn't like at the beginning, and Susan felt TSTL, insisting on barging in on a world that she was ill equiped to navigate by herself.

Finally, one of the best things about this series is the way the author weaves threads from previous books into the latest narrative. I would not recommend skipping any of the Dresden books. There is usually something that will come back to bite Harry in the arse at a latter date. I feel like the whole story has already happened and Butcher is telling it to me piece by piece, not as if he's improvising to draw out one more book to cash in (I've quit several series that had that vibe to them.)

Humor is a very subjective thing. One person's hilarious is another's offencive. Butcher's humor works very well for me. I don't get all the geek references, but I enjoy the rhythm and the feel of the novels. I know I'll be there first thing to read Cold Days and learn what happens next.

BTW, can't wait until the re-read of Sue's novel!
SqueakyTiki
98. Zazreil
Ok if you have never read the rest of books don't read farther cause warning spoilers. I think the real brilliance of Storm Front Is its role in setting up the war between the Red Court and the Wizards. Butcher likes to emphasize how the smallest action can have long range impact, a bigger impact than any one can imagine. Storm Front is the perfect example of this because it is in this novel that Harry actually starts the war! And it's not from love, it's from arrogance and a total lack of diplomacy. If he had not thought that he knew better than the norms (it was not that Murph was female it was she was not magical) he could have warned her and let her handle Bianca. Heck even if he didn't warn her she would still have safer going to interrogate Bianca with her partner than Harry. Bianca would not have done anything to clueless cops. Coming out to human authorities is the equivalent of a nuke after all. So it was by going himself, scaring and humiliating in his arrogance and careless that he really started the war. This makes the title do double duty. Yup the warlock was using storms to power his magic, but this book was also the leading edge of the greater War that runs through the first half of the series. I really have to respect him for his story construction, I read a lot of series and I think only Weber does long term plot construction better.

As for sexism, as I mentioned above I saw Harry more being more paternalistic toward children,elderly, norms and then women. His desire to be a protector I find sweet. I see to many young strong men run over the elderly, the infirm and the pregnant in an effort to be sure to get a seat on a bus or train., so Dresden is refreshing. Being sexist to me is not being protective or polite its having contempt for women, and that's not Dresdan. That said in this book Murphy and Susan were following the noir tradition which says women are either the villainous dames or the damsels in distress. I like them so much more in the rest of the series
Bridget McGovern
100. BMcGovern
@Monkeypants #99: Your comments have been unpublished because this thread is about the Dresden Files, not an excuse to discuss or disparage individual bloggers who have nothing to do with the current conversation. I appreciate that you're trying to be polite, but this is not the place. Let's get back to talking about Storm Front and the reread.
Debbie Solomon
101. dsolo
Zazreil@98 - You are exactly right about the setup for the war starting in this book. Harry frequently refers to his brute, magic power, but he is also very clumsy when he needs to be diplomatic. His decision to not explain things to Murphy and Susan will come back to haunt him in future books. That said, I did find Susan a bit annoying in this book. Just because you investigate paranormal activities, doesn't make you a practitioner. Studying fish doesn't give you the ability to breathe underwater without equipment. Sure you're curious, and you're a believer, but you're not enough of a believer to be scared. It reminds me of a story I heard from a friend who observed tourists at Yellowstone telling their child to go over next to a bear for a photo op. Susan treats the supernatural world like those tourists. She doesn't have a visceral fear of it, because she's a reporter after a story. She acts like her press pass is a magic shield. It's strange on reread to see how antagonistic Murphy was toward Harry in the beginning.
Stephanie Leary
102. sleary
Zexxes@78: Please invite SF/F authors to write chauvinist books less frequently, so that we don't have to trip over the issue in every discussion. (In case you were unsure, the author of this particular reread is a man.)

All who pointed out that Harry does try to protect others, Billy most visibly: you're absolutely right, but that's in later books. In Storm Front, it's mostly women who evoke this response from him.
SqueakyTiki
103. sfobsidian
First off, I want to say that I am delighted to have found this list, and love this series of books! I have been an avid reader since about third grade...the year Kennedy was shot. So yeah...I'm old. The Dresden Files contains books that I have read numerous times. In fact Storm Front is the only one that I have only read once, and Fool Moon is the only one that I have only read twice. Like most have said, every book gets better. I was not sure that I liked Harry in the first cpl books. However, I loved the story, the descriptions, the intro to Harrys world, so I kept reading. And I am so glad that I did. Storm Front piqued my interest, but JB's writing has matured and it shows.
SqueakyTiki
104. Zazreil
dsolo: I have to agree with you Susan was quite annoying in the first 3 books, especially #3. I think that Butcher realized it though and that is part of the reason she got half turned. I got to see him live at a book signing for Cold Days and a fan who was dressed in Susan's costume from book 3 asked about why Jim had her get bitten and written out of the books at that point. Diplomatically, he said that he realized that she had become the series Lois Lane and he was never a big fan of the original character, who he felt was just there to be rescued. I think it is interesting when he did bring the character back she made a Sarah Connor type transformation.

Some place in the novel I think someone says early on that Harry can't lie convincingly. I think that is was Murphy was picking up on and why she was so antagonistic to Harry to begin with. One of the nice things about Butcher's books is that the characters really grow as does their relationship to each other. I am almost done rereading the whole series and I can see that pretty clearly. Murphy is one of them - boy is she a tough cookie in the second book and even though she takes a beating in book 3, she works through it and we can see her doing so.
SqueakyTiki
105. Monkeypants
@ 100 BMcGovern
Hmmm... that's annoying, but I see your point.
SqueakyTiki
106. UnRiel
This is my favorite series and I have reread them several times, but I don't like to do so as much anymore. But if Jim is going to make a habit of producing them less than once a year I have to get my Dresden fix somehow.

As many of the comments above relate, Butcher has come a long way in the story mythology and character development and rereading the early books is sometimes a reminder that the mythology was not always perfect. I think I noticed that Red Court vampire hierarchy was not as well envisioned early on as it became by Changes - this was already about two months ago so I forget exactly what I'd noticed. But these are small complaints.
SqueakyTiki
107. reece65
I know its early in the re-read, but having just recently finished Turn Coat, there's been quite a bit of foreshadowing in regards to "Demonreach" and the island. Are these having a significant impact in the books already published?
just curious.
Rajan Khanna
108. rajanyk
@107 reece65 - gah, you have to wait to see (but the short answer is yes).
SqueakyTiki
109. TimWarp
I just finished listening to the series again (they're great to have in the car!) and have never felt that Jim Butcher treats the women characters as victims or caricatures. As others have said, above, plenty of strong women. Plenty of broken characters, male and female. Plenty of physical descriptions of characters, male and female. Harry pulls that "I can't tell you, to keep you safe" nonsense on Murphy, but also on Will. And he grows out of it. The first book is a great mix of hard-boiled detective and urban fantasy, but further books in the series grow beyond the genres. My 2 cents! (BTW, TimWarp is a nickname, but I am female.)
SqueakyTiki
110. sfobsidian
Wow. I didn't remember that 'He Who Walks Behind' was first mentioned in Storm Front. I have to say...the map that Jim Butcher must have in his head is awesome! Kinda blows me away.
SqueakyTiki
111. Kasika
I love the series. Book one - Storm front has it weeknesses, but the issue stems to balancing plot with world building. Each of the first few books probably spends a little too much time building the world rather than tell the story. As Butcher got better as he went along with the series it is easily forgivable.
While the plots and characters for the first few books are rough, we musn't forget that it is the world Butcher sets up in them that holds the series together and allows for thos characters to shine later on. The first few books are teh coner stones to the series, though just a little rough around the edges.
AJ Nicholson
112. andrewjax76
Just read the first three chapters to "Cold Days." It is on Jim's website. Awesome.
SqueakyTiki
113. Wordwizard
@71. andrewjax76
I guess you're OK with gaybashing, then. What a peach.

I want to recommend the Dresden series, but am aware that the first few are not-so-great for that purpose. I know one person suggested White Knight, but as an atheist, that was the one that made ME go "ANGELS? Knights of the Cross? Gawd? PLEASE, has my favorite series been compromised and ruined?" My friends would likely be of a similar mind about angels etc., so, any other suggestions?
Steven Halter
114. stevenhalter
Wordwizard@113: The angel stuff can all be viewed as just mythology--like the fae or vampires. This is probably an interesting discussion and possibly a meta-disscussion on fantasy for later in the series.
AJ Nicholson
115. andrewjax76
Wordwizard@113: WOW That escalated quickly. I never said anything about gay bashing. Yet you come on here and accuse me of it. I was not commenting on homosexuality but on ingrained human nature to protect women, children and the elderly over a healthy male. Yet you bring it up like you have some kind of AGENDA. I can't figure out if you are trolling looking for an arguement or if you are serious. Either way it is not worth my time.
Bridget McGovern
116. BMcGovern
Wordwizard@113: Stepping in as moderator here--clearly that wasn't what andrewjax76 was saying. Let's leave the inflammatory leaps in logic at the door and focus on the book. If you have a point you want to make, don't do it by attacking other commenters for something that they never said.

@andrewjax76@115: Thanks for not taking the bait. Back to actually talking about Harry Dresden now, hopefully...
AJ Nicholson
117. andrewjax76
I am in the process of listening to “Ghost Story” and in it Harry’s experiences allow him to be much more introspective. He has an interesting internal monologue where he examines his motives for always coming to the rescue with rod blazing and he discovers that his motives might not be that of a courageous hero. Instead he admits that instead of turning fear to courage he turns fear into rage. I thought it an interesting look considering the line of this conversation.
SqueakyTiki
118. Black Woodpecker
Her husband is a warlock

Technically, I suppose Victor Sells were sorcerer. Warlock is kinda natural wizard, who goes into the Dark Side because of youth stupidity. Sorcerer is someone without natural wizard talent, weak practitioner who used outer sources like ritual magic or elemental energy to increace his own power.
SqueakyTiki
119. Grailwolf
@Black Woodpecker@118 - A warlock, in the Dresden Files, is just someone who breaks one of the laws of magic, so it is a term that definitely applies to Victor.
SqueakyTiki
120. SF addict
i have read and re-read every book in this series and i LOVE me some Harry! i personally struggled thru Fool Moon. Really didnt care for it at all. SF was very good, albeit the writing (as even the author admits) is hardly notable. I will say that after reading all the books and going back to SF, it is very obvious the author was just starting out.

The only thing that really really irritated me about SF was the distrust Murphy had for Harry. It made me dislike her right off the bat - even the first time i read the book. to me, it was blatantly obvious Harry was NOT the problem and her whole attitude toward him ... It just seemed unfounded. to me, the fact that she suspected him made me think her a very poor cop. just my opinion, obviously :)

as for the chauvenistic slant.... first off, he in no way thinks himself BETTER than women, he believes in chivalry. secondly, it's a book. it doesnt need to be PC. it's a made up world and a made up man. take him for who he is or move on. if you choose the latter, that is unfortunate as you are missing out on an incredible ride!
SqueakyTiki
121. Beth Revers
I have been reading Harry since the very beginning. A re-read is no hardship, and going back to the beginning. Fantastic. That is where it all starts. Of course both Harry and the author grow with the series, it is all part of the experience. Murphy has ample cause to distrust Harry, if she just fell in line so much of the story would be different. Most people would think he was nuts in the real world, and when we start off that is the perspective that Murphy has.
Tricia Irish
122. Tektonica
I'm so glad Tor put this reread up front on their page. I didn't know it existed.

I'm about 1/2 way through book one, and I think it's a hoot. A pretty obvious plot, and stereotypical characters, but wry and funny, with good characters and world building. I'm looking forward to the ride. I think his women are just fine. Some are strong, some are weak, as people are. He's an old fashioned kind of guy, which is also typical of the noir genre.

I'm looking forward to getting to know Harry's world, and see his and Murphy's evolution ;-). And I do predict a romance there. And I'm glad to know the plots get less obvious, and better written. Good stuff.....and a nice break after Malazan.
SqueakyTiki
123. djkoz78
Harry isn't an admitted chauvinist. I see this argument from women all the time. He clearly says that he is old fashioned and thinks women should be treated with respect and he hates the idea of hurting women. He thinks you should open doors for them. And if he sees a women in pain it bothers him. To me this isn't chauvinism but chilvaristic... if that's a word. He also knows it's to his detriment. Where are all the women complaining about Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series where men are either misogynists or sex toys. You won't find many women complaining how her writing portrays men in her books.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment