October 07, 2011

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Having just read the first book of the Dresden Files, I was pretty excited to read the next book, Fool Moon. I have to say, I wasn't quite as impressed with this one. I just couldn't get into it as well and found myself putting it down quite a few times in favor of other things. It's not to say its a bad book per se, just not as impressive as the first one by far.

Harry Dresden is a wizard working in Chicago. And when I say wizard I don't mean parties and fake magic tricks. He is the real deal, and he's been called in by Murphy of the Chicago PD to help with a murder case. He's used quite a bit by the police for these things, he specializes in the supernatural and that is useful to them even if they don't believe him about it. He still gives them good leads. This time someones been ripped to shreds and surrounded with wolf paw prints in the dust. Obviously its someone playing a very mean prank, but they need Harry to figure out who. And he's more than willing, but he knows something they don't. There are werewolves in Chicago.

And not just werewolves either. With the help of his talking skull Bob, he finds out that there are all sorts of classes of humans that transform into wolves. Some by magic, some by will, others by evil magic users. It can be quite complicated. While he's trying to figure out who's causing all the horrific murders in the city, the FBI is making it difficult, and so is a local gang who just so happens to be "wolf-themed" as well. Murphy has also turned against him thinking he is one of the bad guys and he narrowly escapes being arrested and has the police pursuing him now as well. With all these problems facing him, he may not be able to stop the real killer in time before another massacre.

Harry, like in the first book, is incredibly awesome. He has a lot of character flaws but that just serves to make him more life-like. Its the rest of the characters I really couldn't stand in this novel. There are so many of them its hard to keep track of, but even some, like Murphy, are just not written well. She is constantly against Harry in this novel and that just doesn't seem to be supported by logical reasons. Yes he doesn't tell her the whole truth, but if she's as familiar with the supernatural as she seems to be in the book surely she can realize that there's a lot going on there and that Harry is distracted. Obviously if she turns against him this easy she's never thought much of him to begin with; yet the book seems to claim the opposite. The wolves in this tale range from all sorts of good to bad and shades of grey yet they aren't really fleshed out. They are described well yes, but when it comes to their personalities, there are more details needed.

The writing is richly descriptive and Butcher does a good job of describing Harry and the other characters. He also does a wonderful job of describing the settings as well so you have an idea about the gritty back areas of Chicago and the surrounding areas. As a warning, there is a quite a bit of blood, gore, and violence in this book; not appropriate for everybody. There is also a mildly written sex scene that is not too explicit as well. The book is written through Harry's eyes and Butcher does make him a good narrator. He's able to tell what's going on clearly and since we have access to his thoughts its easier to understand some of the magic involved. Also to note, this book could be read as a standalone despite being the second in a series (which is good because I'm choosing not to recap previous books in this series in reviews due to the fact that there are twelve books already and recapping through the series would be a book in itself).

I just couldn't get into this book as well. There's a whole lot going on and while the book is full of adventure and mystery, it never gives you a breather and chance to settle down and think things straight. So much detail is just thrown in and mixed with the pertinent facts that its hard to tell what's important and what's not while reading. I'll certainly continue on with the series, but after this book I'm not in a mad race to do so anymore.

Fool Moon
Copyright 2001
342 pages

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