This is really a 3.5 star read for me. Harry Dresden is a wizard, and consultant for the police on all things arcane. He’s called in to investigate a double homicide where the victims were murdered with magic. Add to that a Chicago drug/turf war, and things get very sticky for Harry very quickly.
The writing was pretty good. I did catch myself skimming some overly descriptive parts in what felt like the middle of action scenes. It often read to me like a teenage boy’s idea of the best action movie ever featuring magic. This came complete with smokin’ hot babes, bar fights, fiery explosions, and a skid out in a thunder storm in an ’89 trans am. I’m not knocking it. I’ve enjoyed plenty of novels like this before.
I think the disconnect for me came with Harry. He’s not a bad character. He’s flawed. He’s not invincible level powerful. Trying to write this now I’m not even sure I can pinpoint where the disconnect was.
I have read another short story set in Dresden’s world with John Marcone, and I remember liking that Harry much better, so I’m going to chalk it up to this being the first in a series and Butcher maybe still trying to find Harry’s voice. I loved Bob, and Murphy was pretty great.
The magic system was neat, if a little standardized. I loved the potions, talismans, protective circles, third sight, etc. I think Butcher managed to include it all. Not having read many novels involving wizards (no- not even that wizard) I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between a rod and a staff, other than that there is a difference.
I know this is a beloved series for many, so I think I will give book two a shot. I’d recommend this to fans of Urban Fantasy.