Butchering Butcher: Stormfront review

I feel I need to be up-front about something before I go any further: this is a troll-face review. I had heard that the Harry Dresden books were awful and I chose this to review next specifically to make fun of it.

However! That doesn’t mean I didn’t give the book a fair shake. I went into this fully prepared for my preconceptions to be proven wrong, to discover that everything I had heard about the book was wrong, the product of vile slander and insidious rumors. Which didn’t end up happening- Stormfront is just as awful as everyone told me, and then some- but at least I tried, right?

This is going to be more of a read-through with commentary than a straight-up review, since I ended up putting in enough excerpts to violate copyright laws, but the book really deserves it. The misogyny alone could fuel ten blog posts, to say nothing of the mediocre prose and non-existent world building. I don’t normally feel entirely qualified to devote an entire review to misogyny in a novel (not being a woman and all), however in this case if I didn’t talk about the rampant sexism the review would be two paragraphs long. To make up for it I’ll try to link to some other pieces written by women at the end (Jim Butcher is something of a favourite target of internet feminists, for reasons that will become abundantly clear in a minute).

Let’s get to it:

The Dresden Files series, of which this is the first, takes place in the usual fantasy kitchen sink setting that most Urban Fantasy books tend to go for. It’s a large American city- Chicago in this case- except there’s wizards and vampires and Santa Claus is actually real except he’s a fairy oh ho ho do you see. Right off the bat we run into some fairly major world-building problems:

The new mailman, who looked like a basketball with arms and legs and a sunburned, balding head, was chuckling at the sign on the door glass. He glanced at me and hooked a thumb toward the sign. “You’re kidding, right?”

I read the sign (people change it occasionally), and shook my head. “No, I’m serious. Can I have my mail, please.”

“So, uh. Like parties, shows, stuff like that?” He looked past me, as though he expected to see a white tiger, or possibly some skimpily clad assistants prancing around my one-room office.

sighed, not in the mood to get mocked again, and reached for the mail he held in his hand. “No, not like that. I don’t do parties.”

He held on to it, his head tilted curiously. “So what? Some kinda fortune-teller? Cards and crystal balls and things?”

“No,” I told him. “I’m not a psychic.” I tugged at the mail.

He held on to it. “What are you, then?”

“What’s the sign on the door say?”

“It says ‘Harry Dresden. Wizard.’ ”

“That’s me,” I confirmed.

“An actual wizard?” he asked, grinning, as though I should let him in on the joke. “Spells and potions? Demons and incantations? Subtle and quick to anger?”

This section seems to imply that there’s a Harry Potter-esque Masquerade going on in the book’s world, but directly afterward we’re told that Harry gets enough clients and police consulting jobs to make a semi-decent living. A fairly arcane magical rule that we’ll get to later is treated as common knowledge, and we’re told that obviously-supernatural events have been reported openly in newspapers. Basically, whether or not magic is a secret known only to a small minority or an open fact changes whenever its convenient for the plot. This isn’t the last time I’ll be saying that.

After failing to establish the setting, Jim Butcher gives us this little gem:

Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century, had become somewhat tarnished by images of exploding space shuttles, crack babies, and a generation of complacent Americans who had allowed the television to raise their children.

Personal bias admission time, I’m a biotechnology student who happens to think science is fairly nifty. I’m not one of these people who treat it like (to quote Carl Sagan) a cornucopia bestowing endless gifts on humanity without bringing its own problems, but overall the good outweighs the bad. Not according to Harry Dresden, who takes quite a few pot-shots at science throughout the book despite the bulk of the story being about wizards violently murdering people with magic.  I’d love to know how crack babies and neglectful parents are the fault of scientific advancement.

Anyway personal rant over, let’s continue.

Oh. Is this, um, Harry Dresden? The, ah, wizard?” Her tone was apologetic, as though she were terribly afraid she would be insulting me.

No, I thought. It’s Harry Dresden the, ah, lizard. Harry the wizard is one door down.

Unfortunately this is the extent of Harry’s sense of humour. Jim Butcher keeps trying to insert Komedy into the book even though he’s fucking terrible at it.

So hey remember that sexism I mentioned earlier?

I caught up and walked a little ahead of her.

She sped her pace. So did I. We raced one another toward the front door, with increasing speed, through the puddles left over from last night’s rain.

My legs were longer; I got there first. I opened the door for her and gallantly gestured for her to go in. It was an old contest of ours. Maybe my values are outdated, but I come from an old school of thought. I think that men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts. Try and convict me if I’m a bad person for thinking so. I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers-all that sort of thing.

It irritates the hell out of Murphy, who had to fight and claw and play dirty with the hairiest men in Chicago to get as far as she has. She glared up at me while I stood there holding open the door, but there was a reassurance about the glare, a relaxation. She took an odd sort of comfort in our ritual, annoying as she usually found it.

If you’ve read any criticism of this book you’ve undoubtedly seen this quote before. In the scene above Harry is going with Murphy, his contact at a special police department set up to investigate paranormal shenanigans (there’s that pesky world building again) to check out a crime scene. He insists on opening the door for her because he’s an old fashioned gentleman and by God, he’s going to hold doors open for women whether they want him to or not.

This illustrates what’s so poisonous about the misogyny in the Dresden Files books. Harry isn’t what people (or at least, men) picture when you talk about sexists and chauvinistic pigs. There are probably millions of guys out there who think exactly like this and don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong. Throughout the book Harry Dresden consistently and repeatedly treats the women around him as women first and people second, to the point of even referring to an unconscious reporter he’s on a first-name basis with as “the woman”. What makes all of this worse is that Harry forces this viewpoint on woman regardless of whether they actually agree with him, as becomes clear in this scene:

Besides. I could never resist going to the aid of a lady in distress. Even if she wasn’t completely, one hundred percent sure that she wanted to be rescued by me.

Is it just me or does that sound like something a rapist would say?

I’m going to post up a quote now:

They were on the bed; she was astride him, body leaned back, back bowed like a dancer’s, the curves of her breasts making a lovely outline

This is a pretty good sample of how every single woman in the book is ontroduced. Harry Dresden ogles every woman he comes across. Literally all of them are described in terms of their physical appearance and rated on their relative attractiveness.  Oh and just to add to the creepiness, thatparticular quote? That’s a mutilated corpse. Harry sees a naked woman with her heart literally ripped out of her chest and his first thought is “hey, nice tits”.

So yeah, two people have been murdered by explosive heart removal and Murphy wants Harry to help her out. This leads to an incredibly contrived situation where the dark magic research (because of course we’re using shallow Star Wars morality here) she wants him to do will violate the one-strike rule he’s under from the wizard’s White Council due to an event from his past. This could of course be easily avoided by simply explaining the situation to Murphy, but Harry doesn’t do that for reasons that are never really explained. A lot of the plot works on this principle, with conflict arising out of characters not telling each other things for no real reason.

For example, Harry gets another client soon afterward with a missing persons case (gosh, do you think it will be tied into the main plot in some way?) who likewise executes a needlessly contrived plan that hinges on not telling Harry something that could have ended the plot twenty pages in for no real reason. Also incredibly contrived is the fact that tons of people think Harry is responsible for the murders, because…… he’s a wizard and he lives in the area, I guess.

Before he leaves the hotel Harry offers us this piece of wisdom:

Murphy glared at me. “You keep saying ‘she,’ ” she challenged me. “Why the hell do you think that?”

I gestured toward the room. “Because you can’t do something that bad without a whole lot of hate,” I said. “Women are better at hating than men. They can focus it better, let it go better. Hell, witches are just plain meaner than wizards. This feels like feminine vengeance of some kind to me.”

“But a man could have done it,” Murphy said.

“Well,” I hedged.

“Christ, you are a chauvinist pig, Dresden . Is it something thatonly a woman could have done?”

How does Harry know women are “better at hating” then men (whatever the fuck that means)? He’s obviously not a woman, he admits several times to having almost no romantic experience and he appears to have grown up with little to no involvement from women in his life, so where are these sagely pronouncements coming from? Could it be that he’s just making up derogatory shit about women and passing it off as fact? There are labels for people who do that- sexist, misogynist, PUA, MRA. The bottom feeders of the internet cess pool. I would bet you a substantial amount of money you could take out the part about witches and post that to The Spearhead to rapturous applause. And hell, you might not even have to take out the witches, those guys are only tangentially connected to reality on the best of days.

Oh, and the murders turn out to have been committed by a man. I would almost be tempted to say this was Butcher showing a shred of self-awareness but other stuff in the plot (such as everything that happens in it) discount that idea.

Anyway, Harry goes to see a vampire brothel owner for information (because this is a sexy thriller for mature adults) and it turns out that in this particular generic Urban Fantasy cliche-parade vampires are really ugly and hideous, but hide behind human forms. After a confrontation with the vampire forces her to show her monstrous side we get this:

She stiffened, then turned her head to one side, and let her fingers go limp. It was a silent, bitter surrender. She didn’t move quickly enough for me to miss seeing a tear streak down one cheek.

I’d made the vampire cry. Great. I felt like a real superhero. Harry Dresden, breaker of monsters’ hearts.

She starts crying because Harry Dresden- traditional gentleman and Chivalry Knight- thinks she’s ugly. Needless to say, none of the male characters in the book ever worry about their looks, and they certainly don’t cry about it because crying is for people with ovaries:

I stepped closer to the bed and walked around it. The carpet squelched as I did. The little screaming part of my brain, safely locked up behind doors of self-control and strict training, continued gibbering. I tried to ignore it. Really I did. But if I didn’t get out of that room in a hurry, I was going to start crying like a little girl.

Later on he also refers to blushing as a distinctly feminine trait. Remember people, crying and blushing are girly things that only girly girls do. Real men have chiseled jaws and eyes of flint and can make women faint by looking at them.

Oh, I didn’t mention that yet?

When I look into someone’s eyes, into their soul, their innermost being, they can see mine in return-the things I had done, the things I was willing to do, the things I was capable of doing. Most people who did that got really pale, at least. One woman had passed out entirely.

This is presented as being caused by the shock of seeing Dresden’s DARKNESS OF THE SOUL or whatever, but read that paragraph again and tell me this isn’t a bullshit male power fantasy.

The woman who Harry man-gazed into submission turns out to be a Hispanic reporter (who is sultry and seductive and has a “fiery” personality, of course) who ends up trapped in Harry’s apartment while a demon tries to kill them. At first she just runs around and screams because, you know, women do that apparently. Through another contrived coincidence she accidentally drinks a love potion, then this happens:

“Nothing happened,” she said. “Dammit, Harry, we have to do something.” And then she came pounding up the ladder, dark eyes flashing, my .38 revolver in her hand.

“No!” I told her. “Don’t!” I felt the staff slip more. The demon was getting ready to come through all my defenses.

Susan raised the gun, face pale, her hands shaking, and started shooting.

In other words, she’s useless and frightened until her love for a man motivates her to take action. And no, I’m not reading too much into this- the narrative explicitly states that the only reason she was able to do that is because the love potion motivates her to protect Harry.

Okay, let’s move this along a bit faster. Basically the plot lurches between set pieces where Harry will require some piece of information, he’ll go about getting it, some sort of magical whatsit will attack, he’ll have his back against the wall and then will either a) remember an object he was carrying previously and use it to escape or b) will pull a magic spell out of his ass and save the day. This goes back to the world-building problems I talked about earlier. The magic system in the book is extremely loosely defined- sometimes it operates on a sort of Harry Potter-like “point the wand at the thing and say the magic words and stuff happens” principle, but at other times magic requires complex rituals and vague “calculations” to work with the result that Harry’s spells are always just as simple or difficult to accomplish as they need to be for the plot to function. Likewise, Harry’s level of ability is never established- we’re told throughout the entire second half of the book that he’s almost out of strength or that that last spell “took everything he had”, yet this never actually acts as a hindrance. Sometimes his magic seems to be quite limited but at other points he can wreak havoc on entire buildings with little to no effort.

Eventually Harry discovers that the missing husband he was contracted to find back at the start of the book is the one committing the murders (I’m skipping past an entire woman-as-sex-object character to get to this point, but trust me it’s just as creepy as everything else I’ve talked about). His wife got Harry involved in the hope that he’d stop the husband, but didn’t tell him what was going on because…… um. I don’t know. I read the entire thing cover to cover and I’m still not sure. There was some sort of reason. Probably.

Anyway the point is, the villain’s wife is motivated by two things. Can you guess what those two things might be? We’ve already had a woman spurred into action by the desire to ride Harry’s wizard staff, so what other trite, stereotypical female motivations could Butcher saddle her with?

I was shaking, too. A soulgaze is never something pleasant or simple. God, sometimes I hated that I had to live with that. I hadn’t wanted to know that she had been abused as a child. That she’d married a man who provided her with more of the same, as an adult. That the only hope or light that she saw in her life was in her two children. There hadn’t been time to see all of her reasons, all of her logic. I still didn’t know why she had drawn me into this entire business-but I knew that it was, ultimately, because she loved her two kids.

Yes, her motivations are past abuse and her children. Because women and BABIES always go together.  Note that Harry spends most of this section feeling sorry for himself instead of the woman whose broken childhood and unhappy life he just witnessed in intimate detail.  Of her two children it’s her daughter that Harry fixates on protecting because as a bearer of two X chromosomes she presumably can’t take care of herself. Her (significanly younger) brother? Pffft fuck him, he has a penis he’ll be fine. The females need Big Strong Harry to save them from danger.

There’s also this from earlier:

I was beginning to think that Monica Sells was in denial. Her husband wasn’t wandering around learning to be a sorcerer, spooky scorpion talismans notwithstanding. He was lurking about his love nest with a girlfriend, like any other husband bored with a timid and domestic wife might do under pressure. It wasn’t admirable, but I guess I could understand the motivations that could cause it.

Oh, that Harry Dresden, always telling it like it is! If Jim Butcher has a wife I hope she throws him into a bonfire.

Toward the end of the book, when Harry is about to fight the demon from before again, there comes a line that neatly sums up everything (well, most things) that are wrong with Jim Butcher’s attitude toward women:

I thought of little Jenny Sells, oddly enough, and of Murphy, lying pale and unconscious on a stretcher in the rain, of Susan, crouched next to me, sick and unable to run.

These characters aren’t people- they’re Harry Dresden’s morality pets. Their hopes, fears, desires and sorrows are certainly explored (sometimes voyeuristicly so), but only so they can effect Harry, so he can feel sorry for them, be motivated by them and shed manly tears over being forced to trample over their feelings. Two of the big action set pieces feature Harry being hindered and forced into a corner by a weak or disabled female sidekick, and two more revolve around him being attacked by women driven to violence by their emotions. These are the same hoary old misogynistic noir tropes that should have gone out of fashion decades ago, just without the somewhat-more-positive femme fatale character showing up. I think Murphy was supposed to be that, but then she gets stung by a scorpion and ends up on life support for the rest of the book.

So we’re 3300+ words into this and you might think there’s nothing else bad I could say about Stormfront, but you would be wrong. We haven’t even touched on Butcher’s writing yet!

To be fair, it’s not aggressively awful. As long as he sticks to basic dialogue and character action he’s more or less okay, ignoring the more-than-occasional bout of ham-fisted exposition. Whenever the book reaches for abstraction or anything even the least bit poetic the writing gets clunky as fuck:

The light made the carvings on the columns vague and mysterious, the shadows changing them in a subtle fashion.

I shrugged and swallowed. I thought of the corpses at the Madison , and felt green

His salt-and-pepper hair was cut short, and there were lines from sun and smiling etched into the corners of his eyes. His eyes were the green of well-worn dollar bills.

At the back table, Johnny Marcone regarded the doorway with his passionless, money-colored eyes.

Money-coloured eyes. Not quite down there with “cerulean orbs”, but still pretty bad.

But okay, ignoring all of that, is Stormfront a truly awful book? Yes it is, because the all-pervasive sexism is simply impossible to put aside (I didn’t even mention that the only black character in the book is a mechanic with more than a whiff of the Helpful Magical Negro trope about him). But assuming, in some fantasy-land alternate universe, that you could actually do that, could the book have some merit? A little bit, sure. If you were to remove Harry Dresden from the story as a protagonist (or better yet make him the villain) you’d have a fairly decent potboiler, the sort of book you’d pick up for a nominal amount of your local currency at an airport before a log flight. “Well that certainly was a novel,” you’d say, tucking it into the seat pouch to be forgotten when leaving the plane. “I read it, and time passed more quickly when I read it then if I hadn’t been reading it.”

But we don’t live in a universe where that’s possible. Harry Dresden is such an all-consuming void of misogyny, such a charisma event horizon, that he drags whatever tiny amount of merit the book might have otherwise had down into in inescapable singularity of douchiness. Without Harry Dresden Jim Butcher would have been a hack. With Harry Dresden, he’s a misogynistic waste of oxygen and ink. Do not read these books, or if you do don’t pay for them. Butcher’s mouth-breathing idiocy has gotten him far too much money already.

BONUS READING MATERIAL:

http://requireshate.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/jim-butcher-chauvinist-and-talentless-stunning-combo/#comment-3828

http://luciazephyr.dreamwidth.org/548703.html

http://chloehasalotoffeelings.tumblr.com/post/7266336639

Apparently Jim Butcher is a racist as well!

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30 thoughts on “Butchering Butcher: Stormfront review

  1. Monika

    This review is funny. Have you ever heard about differentiating between the narrator’s voice and the author? I’m sure it’s taught in literature classes. Apparently, you were asleep. 😉
    Storm Front is not a good book. The author admitted it himself. He was still practising. But it’s a necessary read if you want to understand the later books (15 so far, with approx. 8 or 9 still coming). Old-school chauvinism is a character trait of the first-person narrator. So what? People like that exist. Should characters who have traits that are politically incorrect be forbidden in literature? Brave new world indeed.
    btw: Harry gets bitten by this fault of his a couple of times, so it is sort of plot-relevant 😉

    Reply
    1. Hek

      Here’s a trick question for you: How do you distinguish between the author’s voice and the character’s voice? And in the absence of obvious conflict between the two, WHY would you try to use “But it’s just the character’s voice!” as a get out of jail free card? That argument is logically defunct.
      I will let you in on a little secret: When writing characters with “problematic” views, it is possible – rather necessary, even – to make it clear through other means that the character’s views are meant to read as problematic in the context of the story, rather than taken at face value. This can be done in a multitude of different ways. Having other characters call him out (and being portrayed as justified while doing it, e.g. not being undermined by other motivations like irrational resentment). Having the story itself defy tropes and expectations when it comes to that problematic thing. Some minimal amount of discussion. Having the murderer be a man doesn’t count if Harry and the narration never connect it to his earlier comment.
      You can’t just go “But it’s just what the CHARACTER thinks!”” if the story doesn’t provide a smidgen of evidence that the author is aware of what he’s writing. It doesn’t work that way. Now, maybe the author has gotten better at that kind of thing, and if so, good for him. This isn’t relevant to discussion of THIS book, though.

      Reply
  2. Carter Dohoney

    So, looking at this passage….

    ———–
    Murphy glared at me. “You keep saying ‘she,’ ” she challenged me. “Why the hell do you think that?”

    I gestured toward the room. “Because you can’t do something that bad without a whole lot of hate,” I said. “Women are better at hating than men. They can focus it better, let it go better. Hell, witches are just plain meaner than wizards. This feels like feminine vengeance of some kind to me.”

    “But a man could have done it,” Murphy said.

    “Well,” I hedged.

    “Christ, you are a chauvinist pig, Dresden . Is it something that only a woman could have done?”
    ———–

    Here we have another character LITERALLY calling Harry out on his shit, and the author gets no credit for self-awareness on this front? This is a clear marker that HARRY’S sexism (it’s inappropriate to call it misogyny because it’s not rooted in hating women) is being (at least in this book) more severe than the author’s sexism. There’s no denying that there are male gaze issues with this book. Several of the earlier Dresden books have that problem, but the first is by far the most severe. Butcher himself has acknowledged that, and chalks it up to the fact that as he grew older, his perspective stopped being that of an early-twenty-something and became more mature and rounded. Still, a division needs to be maintained between what the characters believe and what the author believes.

    Reply
    1. Hek

      I will grant you that it’s a step in the right direction, but “Harry’s sexism is more severe than the author’s sexism” is pretty hollow praise. “Okay, but HOW sexist is the author, precisely?” is not a good question for a book to leave you wondering about.

      I also think you misunderstand what misogyny is. It doesn’t require hatred of women – only not seeing them as equally human. Putting women on a pedestal and thinking they are ideal beings who are gentler, kinder and wiser than men is just as misogynist and dehumanising (the keyword there) as seeing them all as shallow and traitorous.

      (Although, I’m confused about what about “women are meaner and better at hating than men” doesn’t sound like hating women to you… but ok.)

      Reply
  3. Adriana

    I didn’t read any of his books so I shouldn’t speak but I have listened to a short story that was picked for some anthology. It was terribly boring not mentioning the poor prose and cliche characters. The female characters were simply flawless, great at everything except maybe cooking and raring children. How horrible. From what you write, I don’t find Dresden sexist at all, he is simply a man with heavily edited emotions because god forbid the PC police may rip him to shreds otherwise. Butcher is so hellbent on making the females strong flawless and kickass that Dresden comes off as unmanly and Butcher’s female characters are well Xenas programmed to be liked by delusional female readers with low self-esteem. I suppose not everyone wants to look in the mirror and see the dirt. As a woman I cannot help but wonder about men who find other men sexist. Where do you draw a line? Do you have to become some sexless robot to be checked off as a proper 21st century man? I am bored to death just thinking about such men. Otherwise I am glad that you are taking Butcher’s writing apart. Yet another trash filled with wishful-thinking to feed the cheap appetite of this boring generation.

    Reply
    1. Carter Dohoney

      Oh, Dresden is QUITE sexist, especially in his early years. What he ISN’T is a mysogynist; his sexism comes from a perspective of youth and being brought up by someone with a few centuries of ‘dated and traditional’ under their belts. Frankly, he mostly ages out of it as the AUTHOR ages up.

      Reply
  4. Cathy

    Man, these books are horribly written. I borrowed the first one off a mate to read on a longish bus journey and it was just terrible. Amateurish, forgettable, and just very… very… Fedora-ish. You know? Very fedora-ish indeed.

    Reply
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  8. BP

    I am just starting the series so did not read beyond the first few paragraphs above due to spoilers, but I have already come across a few of these sexist quotes. And yes they are sexist. However, and I can’t prove it yet one way or the other, but is the book/author sexist or is Harry Dresden, the POV, simply a sexist prick? For now, I am assuming the latter. Authors tend to get criticized more about this stuff when they write in first person.

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      Well, if Dresden is sexist and we’re expected to like him (and I think we are) what does that say about the author and the book as a whole?

      Reply
        1. ronanwills Post author

          Sure, but I don’t like this one despite his flaws. And frankly if rampaging chauvanism doesn’t put someone off a character I’d find that pretty weird

          Reply
      1. ba

        given that this is written almost as a parody of the standard noir detective story complete with all the tropes of classic noir detectives it seems he is staying relatively true to the genre in regard to harry’s personality. The main differences being the supernatural/wizard angle and the fact that his is very self-aware of his flaws and constantly displays self-depricating humor. The sexualization of women (and/or nearly every females being very attractive and almost always a blink away from having spontaneous sex with the protagonist) is also pretty common in the urban fantasy genre.

        All that said…how often do you hear the Bond films torn apart based on Bond’s chauvinism/sexism which is 1000x that of which you will find in the dresden files.

        Reply
        1. nathan

          Yesssss! Someone gets it! Plus MANY of the females are very badass. Like super bad ass. Shit, Murphy could take black widow in a second,and Molly in the most recent book probably has enough power to rival or flat out destroy marvel’s Thor.

          Reply
  9. Casper L

    Funny that we never ever apply this to female authors….? How many female authors portray men as assosiated with death, advancement, fraud, and technology, while women are portraited with things like heroism, nature, emotions, and spirituality….

    Im not offended at that because I know the difference between fiction and reality. I have also read all 14 books in the series and the books are filled with fantastic female characters who are strong, likeable and doesn’t back down. The lead characters humor is mildly sexist but almost never in a serious way. Just like when a female is having a fight with a male friend who with a smile comments “You are a pig” or something similar…..

    I have always spoken up againts misogyny, and im a big supporter of feminism, but reactions like this is what is hurting that movement. You are turned to the same kind of cultural censorship that the religious right attempt to dictate and that is not beneficial to either feminism nor women in the long run.

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      ” How many female authors portray men as assosiated with death, advancement, fraud, and technology”

      Advancement and technology are positive and neutral respectively, death is generally seen as a masculine trait in the sense that the hero is super awesome at killing bad guys, and I’ve never noticed fraud portrayed as something men do more than women.

      “heroism, nature, emotions, and spirituality”

      Okay, “heroism” is a stereotypical male trait. In most stories written by men, the male protagonist is the hero.

      Nature, emotions and spirituality all tie into the cliche of women being the “fairer sex” associated with nurturing and healing while men are gruff badasses who get things done.

      “Im not offended at that because I know the difference between fiction and reality”

      Do you know how fiction influences reality, by perpetuating and normalizing harmful and negative attitudes and stereotypes?

      ” I have also read all 14 books in the series and the books are filled with fantastic female characters who are strong, likeable and doesn’t back down”

      I can’t speak to the other 13 books in the series, having not read them. But in this book none of those positive qualities were present.

      “I have always spoken up againts misogyny, and im a big supporter of feminism”

      And yet you seem to be pretty good at concern trolling the movement.

      “You are turned to the same kind of cultural censorship that the religious right attempt to dictate”

      Please look up the meaning of the word censorship. Criticizing something is not censorship.

      Reply
      1. 4evrFire

        If i commented in the fallacies of your reivews would you treat them seriously or just consider me another “troll of the movement”?

        Reply
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  11. Þorsteinn

    Hang on. A novel sharing a name with one of the more famous white supremacist webites out there? I must admit – at first I thought this article would be a copy-paste of a review from Stormfront, because I wouldn’t be completely surprised people there would lap this up, and a positive review on there would be a good indicator that something massive were wrong with this.

    Reply
    1. Trixbat

      The book’s title is “Storm Front” with two words – the review got that wrong. How much else the reviewer got wrong when it couldn’t get the title right, one wonders…

      Although the fact that a novel in a series with “Dresden” as the name of the hero (a favorite city of white nationalists for various reasons like its importance in the rise of Hitler and its fire bombing by the RAF making the Nazis seem like victims) combined with “Storm Front” in the name does make you wonder a bit what the author was thinking. Especially given the wizard is under the sway of the “White Council” (a nod to Lord of the Rings, but given the other two elements, is a bit, as one is wont to say … “problematic.”

      Reply
      1. Carter Dohoney

        Word of God is that the name Dresden is actually a reference to the BOMBING of the city of Dresden. It’s a nod to his tendency to have a destructive relationship with buildings. In the first book alone he causes major damage to an elevator in an office building, and has a prominent role in a house burning down. He’d say it wasn’t his fault, but….

        Further, as the series progresses one gets the sense that the White Council aren’t exactly being depicted as ‘the good guys’. They’re described as arrogant, prejudice towards non-wizards, heavy handed, shortsighted, and “a fine bunch of assholes”. even by some of their own members.

        Reply
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