Monday, October 11, 2010

The Dresden Files: Fool Moon, a Review

Things have been rough for Chicago's only wizard-for-hire Harry Dresden. He's had very little opportunities for employment since the events in Storm Front took place, and for some reason Detective Karrin Murphy has made herself scarce, taking his largest source of income with her. But everything changes when some grisly murders are discovered. Murphy suspects supernatural forces and Harry Dresden is once again called upon.

Fool Moon, book two of The Dresden Files, is a lot like the first in the series. Harry is still a sarcastic, grumpy wizard that's got a golden heart. Magic runs rampant through the Chicago area, both light and dark. The book reads like another episode in the life of Harry Dresden, adding a little more characterization and background to the wizard and his ilk, plus throwing in a bit more world-building to boot.

The writing style is identical. We read the story from Harry's first-person limited POV with the benefit of hindsight. This works very well for most of the novel, but a few phrases lessen the effect of the story. For example, Harry may say something like "now, looking back on it..." That pretty much takes out the possibility of him dying, unless we discover Harry's been narrating as a ghost or something, which, I suppose could happen, but I don't think so. There are also a few instances where Harry will be talking directly to the reader, which also comes across as odd.

The plot of Fool Moon is pretty quick paced and action filled. Butcher's prose reads fluidly, and it's easy to keep turning pages to see what happens next. That said, I didn't enjoy this book near as much as I did Storm Front. I'm not sure if it was the conflict itself being merely mediocre or if it was something else. Still, the story book was fun and instilled in me the desire to read the next episode of The Dresden Files.

The real beauty of these books is the world-building. Harry's conversation with Bob, the wise spirit that's stuck inside a human skull, is revealing about the mechanics of the world. The hints of something larger going on. The ever-present background of the White Council and the mystery that permeates it. Butcher slowly reveals things about Dresden's universe, holding out the allure, and it works very well considering Dresden's nature.

In the end, Fool Moon has enough in it to make the book recommendable so long as you know what you're getting into. If you're expecting deep thoughts and philosophy, you'll be disappointed. This book is a fun romp in an urban fantasy setting with nothing too deep.

12 comments:

ibeeeg said...

I read Storm Front and liked the read, but have not gotten to this one yet.
I liked Harry, there is something about him that tugs at the reader. I did not look upon the first book as a deep typr of read, so I would have suspected the following ones to be somewhat on the same level as the first. A book that is quick paced and action filled can help greatly in overcoming an areas that one may not like. I do admit though, I worry that maybe possibly this series will become somewhat formulated, and it sort of seems that it could happen based on your review of this book. Because I do like Harry, I will give this book a read...eventually.

Marie said...

My husband has been enjoying working his way through this series- he says they're like popcorn and it sounds like you'd agree :-)

logankstewart said...

@ibeeeg: Indeed. One of my friends has read every book and graphic novel tie-in in this series and assured me that this book was one of the weakest in the whole thing. Apparently, it's supposed to get really good, but I have the same fears as you, that it may become formulated. I guess I'll see...

@Marie: Like popcorn is the perfect simile to use. That's exactly how this book was.

Lightheaded said...

It gets better. And better. And better. With some off nights in between. I just finished the 9th book. I don't want to read the tenth yet because that means I only have the eleventh left and after that I've to wait for next year (I think) for the twelfth.

logankstewart said...

@Lightheaded: Ooh, thanks for the confirmation. It's definitely a series I've got potential excitement for, I just hope it matures and turns into the awesomeness that I hear it is.

Okie said...

I picked up Storm Front a few weeks ago and haven't gotten to it yet in spite of numerous/continuous recommendations from friends and in-laws. It sounds like a fun series generally, but also one I'd have to be in the mood for. Maybe it will hit the table this month in honor of Hallowe'en. :)

ibeeeg said...

@logankstewart: Good to know that your friend says that this is the weakest book in the series. I really need to forge on with these books, not certain why because I did like the first one.
Glad to know that my fear of the series becoming formulated was not only within my own wacky brain. :) Whew!
I read your reply comment back to lightheaded... I agree with you in that I also hope the seires turns into the awesomeness that I keep hearing about this series.


@lightheaded: So very good to see that you think the books keep getting better. That makes me feel more pumped to get back into reading them. Thanks.

logankstewart said...

@Okie: Good luck, and enjoy whenever you get to it. The first one was pretty fun.

Fence said...

I, like a most sensible person (not), read this book first. And well only, in the series. It was grand, but nothing to persuade me to invest in such a huge series.

A good solid bit of entertainment but just not quite to my taste.

logankstewart said...

@Fence: Haha... Sensible... Really, though, you started with this book? I can't imagine starting a series with anything other than Book One. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it, but am sorry(?) that you decided to pass on the series as a whole, I think.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kailana said...

I started reading this series, but haven't got very far with it. I really must go back and try to get through more than the first book! I am terrible with series!

logankstewart said...

@Kailana: Good luck, and enjoy it when you can.