Feb 10, 2015

[Books] Fool Moon (The Dresden Files - Book 2)

My continuing exploration of the books in the Dresden Files series of books. And after how much I had enjoyed Storm Front, the priority level of reading these books bumped up a bit since then. And getting into this second book was an equally great experience as well - cue the classic geek moment of wondering why I never got into the books before.

Fool Moon is quite the follow-up novel and much more than I had expected for a second book in a series. Usually you'd sort of expect that the follow-up book would be more of the same with some effort to take things up a notch or so - all part of easing readers into the whole fictional universe.

But man, this book is more than just a gentle next step into the world of Dresden and the magical creatures that also call Chicago home. This felt like quite a leap or the sort of story that you'd expect from a TV season finale or something. But no, it's just an example of the quality of writing that Butcher is trying to maintain across these books and such effort cannot go unnoticed.

No wonder so many folks enjoy these books.

Synopsis: Fool Moon is the second book in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series of urban fantasy titles. I was rather expecting this book to have won awards, but I can't seem to find any right now. Feels like quite the missed opportunity if you ask me.

Some time has passed since the events of Storm Front and Dresden has developed a bit of a bad reputation given the involvement of Johnie Marcone in the previous affair. Lt. Karrin Murphy has generally been keeping her distance from Dresden given his rumored connections to the gangster and for the more basic fact that he did not disclose all details of the last case. The general sense of trust between the two is damaged at this point and Dresden if feeling bad about the whole thing.

But despite all this, Murphy does eventually have to call in Dresden to consult on a strange homicide - one that appears to be so savage, it looks like an animal attack. But given the scope of things, it also seems to indicate the possibility of a werewolf. But the FBI is also involved in the case given a recent string of similar murders and Murphy is unable to do much given an Internal Affairs investigation as a result of her involvement in the last case. Thus Dresden decides to do the best that he can to help out given his unique magical gifts.

I appreciate the fact that the incidents in Storm Front had such a significant effect on Dresden's status quo. It's far too easy for these book series to stick to the episodic format of status quo - adventure - status quo every time. Here the significance of the deaths involved in the last case resulted in some major consequences for various characters here. And thus things aren't quite the same at all. As much as Dresden does in fact have a new adventure of sorts to embark upon, he also has to deal with Murphy's lack of trust in him, which is rather significant to his sense of well-being.

And the case itself is rather fascinating as well - an unusual exploration of the world of werewolves. And given how early on Bob the spirit explains that there are several types of werewolves out there, the list of werewolves acts like Chekhov's gun this time around. The list has been provided and thus you know that Harry is eventually going to have to deal with every single type of werewolf as he tries to get to the bottom of things. And as much as many readers may predict this, the manner in which they are revealed is sure to surprise folks.

And that's really what has me enjoying these books so much. Butcher is able to take many familiar concepts like movie monsters and good old-fashioned detective work and yet present them in a manner that is new and quite striking. And you can really feel the weight of every decision that Dresden makes whether it involves lying to Murphy one again or tapping into his dwindling magic reserves.

And yes, I love how limited the magic system is and how this book builds on the concepts established the last time around. Magic is not a be-all, end-all cure to things and thus despite him being a Wizard, Harry still needs to put a lot of work into getting things done. And this particular case pretty much has Harry on his last legs more than once as he tries to survive the many threats involved in this case. And the whole thing is just brilliant to behold.

Fool Moon is an amazing story and one that had me on the edge of my seat more than a few times throughout the book. It's amazingly well-written and quite the follow-up to the first book. Thus I'm more than happy to give the title 5 examples of Harry's magic fizzling-out out of a possible 5.

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