Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2)" by Jim Butcher

Cover from Goodreads
This review features a book that is the second in the series, and may have minor spoilers for those who have not read Storm Front. My critique of Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) can be found here.

For some odd reason, I couldn't get Harry Dresden off my mind as I sat by the side of Flathead Lake. Maybe I had a touch of sun stroke- I certainly haven't professed to loving this series (so far) and this book suddenly seemed an ideal beach read, out of the seventy books I had on my Kindle (many of which might be considered better candidates than this to another pair of eyes). Perhaps it was because I labeled the last book funny and needed some more 'fun in the sun'. Nevertheless, this was one book I spent my meager free time there reading.

This one is probably a bit gorier than the last, which would be saying quite a lot. I've never been much offended by violence (immune to it, as my brothers taught me how to die 99 times in Goldeneye [a video game]), but it seemed a bit unnecessary, and it didn't shock me (if that was the intent). I'm a fan of grittiness, but gore without much purpose doesn't win my vote, as previously noted in my Ink Mage critique.

The Plot:
Harry Dresden has been largely unemployed for the last several months since the events of Storm Front, and is living a meager lifestyle of Ramen Noodles. His associate, Kim Delaney, offers him a free steak dinner in exchange for a chance to talk with him while he ate, showing him some magic he says she's better off leaving alone, as she doesn't have a lot of expertise. She storms off, leaving Detective Murphy to waltz in and offer him a chance to come back as a police consultant, on the condition that he tell her everything he knows in regards to the case. He agrees, but will he risk their friendship by not telling her about things he shouldn't? And when the killer appears to be a deranged animal that kills without conscience every full moon, is anyone in Chicago safe?

A quote I loved:

"I found him in a Dumpster one day when he was a kitten and he promptly adopted me. Despite my struggles, Mister had been an understanding soul, and I eventually came to realize that I was part of his little family. and by his gracious consent was allowed to remain in his apartment. Cats. Go figure."

        ~Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, page 53

The thing that bugged me the most about the first book, Harry not taking care of himself, is still present in this one. However, there is a point in this book where the problem is actually noted, which is a mild improvement. I still think there is a bit of childishness in the way he is always "running on empty", for lack of better words. When we grow up, we're expected to do a lot of things, but one of the most important is to maintain our well-being by getting enough sleep and caring for cuts and scrapes (a minor spoiler: someone else does that for him in this book, but at least it's being done).

Another thing began bugging me in this book: despite having several free (and notably meager) months of time, Harry never whips up potions he might use in the future. I can see that might cost money, but some of the potions have ingredients he would have lying around his shabby apartment. Even if Bob demands more free time, wouldn't it be nice to have a few potions in advance for his misadventures?

Despite my grievances against it, Fool Moon is an admirable addition to The Dresden Files. I found myself staying up later than usual to just read "one more chapter" that turned into "just two more chapters", and so on. If you're looking for a book that is funny, well-paced, and will keep you up at night, Fool Moon may be the fit for you.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars, maintaining the rating of Storm Front for an action-dense urban fantasy.

Content: Lots of gore (as noted above), mild cursing, mild sexual themes, and plenty of werewolves. Ages 18+.

Page Count: 356 pages in the Kindle edition

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