I am slowly working my way through The Dresden Files, and by slowly I mean I am only up to book 2 of 16. While the first book jumped straight into the mystical world that Harry Dresden lives in, Fool Moon was a slower book and while Harry Dresden is such an interesting character, the plot of this book was lacking a little depth.
Title: Fool Moon
Author: Jim Butcher
Date published: 2001
Page Count: 401
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.
Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work–magical or mundane.
But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.
A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses–and the first two don’t count…
Fool Moon is the second instalment in the popular Dresden Files series. After reading the first book I was itching to pick up the second as i thoroughly enjoyed the world, the characters and the mix of magic and mystery. While I did enjoy Fool Moon, there was a certain complexity lacking in the plot, with the book carried by the enjoyable character that is Harry Dresden.
Fool Moon takes place a couple months after the events of Storm Front. Dresden is struggling to find consultant jobs as a Wizard/Psychic. His friendship with Murphy (a detective) is on rocky ground and there is the emergence of a possible rogue werewolf on the prowl in Chicago. Murphy brings Harry in to try to uncover who or what the murdered is and to try and stop the monster more people are brutally killed.
Firstly, I really enjoyed the lore and concept behind werewolves in the Harry Dresden universe. The differences between different types of werewolves, how they are created and their power level was very well explained and I continue to enjoy the type of magic that is the feature of the Dresden Files-going back to more ancient and raw roots based in potions, symbols and hexes. However, the overall story lacked in complexity and depth. Too much of the body of the plot as revealed early on and this lost the murder mystery investigation that was one of the highlights of the first book in the series. The links between people, locations, organisations and crimes were not there for me and the major twist was unimpactful as I was not immersed in the story as a whole. If there was more time spent fleshing out the story and the key players, overall it would have been a more well rounded story.
One of the highlights of the book ids that Harry Dresden continues to shine in Fool Moon. His wit, sarcasm and dry humour adds humour to what is at times can be a dark and gory book. Harry is solid in this story and we ca see some of character development even between this book and Storm Front, Murphy is a different matter. Her decisions at times seem unrealistic and illogical, especially when it comes to her steadfast belief that Harry is guilty of the gruesome crimes despite a lack of evidence and his strong denial. Their years of friendship are tarnished by the event in Storm Front, so much so that Murphy is so suspicious and dismissive of Harry in Fool Moon. We do see Harry come to understand that he cannot protect Murphy, and it is better to educate her on the paranormal as opposed to keeping her in the dark, I really wanted to see some understanding and growth and Murphy’s side. In the end, it was her ‘grudge’ combined with the slightly archaic views Harry has on Women, that led to a lot of the death and violence throughout this book.
I really enjoy the Harry Dresden world, and Harry himself is an entertaining and likeable character with darkness and mystery surrounding him, the story in Fool Moon did not quite hit the mark. The small payoff for the major reveal at the climax of the book and the lack of depth and complexity in the plot made the interesting lore about werewolves and the character development less impact and enjoyable. While I will definitely continue with the series, I am hoping we get back on track with the next book Grave Peril.