Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fool Moon, by Jim Butcher

This week I'm taking another look at the Dresden Files series, although strictly speaking I'm taking more of a listen instead. I looked at Storm Front a pretty long time ago so I really have only a vague recollection of the events of the book. Which kind of hampered me when I started listening to Fool Moon. However, I did remember some of the important bits and the book managed to bring me back up to speed so it worked out all right.

Harry Dresden, as you might remember, is a professional wizard and sometime-consultant for the Special Investigations unit of the Chicago Police Department which deals with the unofficial magical cases in the Chicago area. After the events of Storm Front, Lieutenant Murphy has come under scrutiny from Internal Affairs and she's distanced herself from Dresden. But in the fall Murphy finally calls Dresden in on a very strange murder case. Which looks like it's been committed by a werewolf. But as Dresden soon finds out there's more than one type of werewolf in Chicago, and not all of them need silver bullets.

Overall I think this book was okay, and most of my issues probably came from me having read the first book so long ago that I'd gotten foggy on details. There's an important character arc for Dresden in this novel, and it sets up arcs for later story lines which are tempting enough to want me to keep going with the series. I really do hope that Dresden actually develops as a result of this arc and becomes a better character because his own self-conscious actually called him out on a lot of stuff in this book. And honestly? I think I have to agree with his subconscious. But if there's a sort of reset between this book and the next I think I'll justifiably be a little annoyed. So if the previous book did the job of establishing the world, its characters, and rules, then Fool Moon definitely helps the world grow and expand, while leaving plenty of room for exploration.

Otherwise? It felt kind of like a popcorn book for me. It's a little silly at times, a little scary, and a little sexy. I certainly didn't piece the mystery together before Dresden managed to do so himself, but I'm not very good at piecing mysteries together on a regular basis so I don't feel very bad about that. It's just good entertainment. There might not be a lot that's terribly substantial to the book beyond Dresden's own character arc, which makes up a fairly small part of the book, but it's pretty good entertainment.

And you know what? Sometimes that's okay. Not every book has to be super serious and deep and meaningful. Sometimes you just want to watch giant robot tanks fight. Or in this case watch werewolves fight. And quite frankly I was pretty well entertained by the book so I think it did its job.

I do want to make a note with the audio book edition I listened to, I think James Marsters, the narrator, did a pretty good job as well. He does a lot of the reading in a very tired voice, which I think works well for Dresden considering how much he gets beat up, dragged through the mud, and forced to stay out all night trying to catch werewolves. I think it was a very nice touch, especially since Dresden's basically a private eye but with magic.

Entertaining, if not terribly substantial, and I rather enjoyed it. If you like urban fantasy definitely worth reading if you haven't already.

- Kalpar

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