Review: “Fool Moon,” Jim Butcher

Pros: Character conflict and tension
Cons: Mild werewolf confusion
Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Lieutenant Karrin Murphy no longer trusts Harry Dresden. The last time he consulted with the police he failed to tell her about some things pertinent to her case, and it doesn’t matter to her that he thought he was protecting her. If anything, that just makes the betrayal worse. She only reluctantly turns to him for help when a killer leaves behind hints that the crime might have been done by a werewolf. Of course, it isn’t so straightforward. It seems there are a handful of ‘types’ of werewolf. Without figuring out which this is, Harry can’t do all that much to help. Things get complicated when the FBI gets involved, and Harry is going to have his hands full just staying out of jail, much less staying in one piece.

 

Fool Moon: Book two of The Dresden Files comes after Storm Front, which I quite enjoyed. I stumbled onto the series finally after seeing the TV show and becoming intrigued. There are plenty of differences between the show and the books obviously, but I think the show manages to carry off the feel of the world quite well.

Harry and Murphy’s relationship is stretched to the breaking point in Fool Moon. While I get where Murphy’s distrust is coming from, it’s a bit frustrating when she keeps leaping to all the wrong conclusions about Harry. But seriously, I’m impressed with how her character comes together. Her genuine trust problems and hard-headed cynicism make it all the more touching and impressive when she bends to accept Harry’s world with its vampires, werewolves, and wizards.

As for Harry, he’s still half-stumbling into trouble wherever he goes, flying by the seat of his pants as he tries to separate the good guys from the bad guys. He has to stay alive without using the kind of magic that will cause the White Council to come after him, even when he’s backed against the wall. And let’s face it: Harry would rather save lives than keep his nose clean. He’s a nice sort of haphazard, seat-of-his-pants hero for the story.

There was power to be had in hatred, too, in anger and in lust, in selfishness and in pride. And I knew that there was some dark corner of me that would enjoy using magic for killing–and then long for more. That was black magic, and it was easy to use. Easy and fun. Like Legos.

There are plenty of fictional worlds in which the use of magic is likened to the use of addictive drugs. It’s fairly common by now, but I think Butcher’s take on it has creativity and credibility. He makes it easy to see how Harry could get tempted down that dark path without overdoing the magic-as-addiction angle.

The plotting and tension are great; there are plenty of dangerous moments and interesting reveals to keep the reader intrigued. I was swept along with the story and very much enjoyed seeing what happened next. Now that I’ve read two books in the series, I’ll have to catch up with the rest!

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