Fool Moon (Dresden #2), by Jim Butcher

I never used to keep close track of the phases of the moon. So I didn’t know that it was one night shy of being full, when the young woman sat down with me in McAnally’s pub, and asked me to tell her all about something that could get her killed.

  • TITLE: Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2)
  • AUTHOR: Jim Butcher
  • PUBLICATION DATE: 1st January 2001
  • PUBLISHER: Orbit (UK)

I knew from the very beginning of Storm Front that I was going to be a Harry Dresden fan. There’s very little not to like about the series, the set-up and the delivery of The Dresden Files, and I have a suspicion that the series merely improves with time.

It’s quite obvious from the offset that Fool Moon is going to be about werewolves. Great, I thought, another chance to see the furry beasties done right. Say what you will about Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, but her werewolves are done well. They’re not essentially rats on stilts, not large slobbery dogs, and certainly not especially monstrous. Good things, all. So, I experienced much the same delight with Jim Butcher’s werewolves.

Where (in my opinion and for my hard-to-please tastes) Butcher fails somewhat with his depiction of vampires (mainly appearance, origins, and “vampire rules”, for me—yet, his notion of the different coloured Vampire Courts is excellent for me, and goes some way to make up!), he totally succeeds with his werewolves.

Butcher’s imagination and ability to take existing folklore and use it to the fullest, is what makes his world so attractive a version of our own supernatural world: that there are elements of “truth” and “accuracy” within his magical lore, roots that can be identified (with), makes his slight reimagining of our own world addictively readable—much in the same way Rowling’s Potter world does. It is so entirely believable, coupled with just enough accepted “fact” that the reader accepts the world and is swallowed deep into the setting.

Fool Moon begins in much the same way as Storm Front—Harry is called in to consult on a homicide and immediately it is clear that supernatural forces are responsible. Lt. Karrin Murphy and Harry share a relationship a few degrees more uneasy than before, due to the events in Storm Front but Harry is determined to patch things up, and subsequently agrees to assist in the case as best he can—even if that means getting knee-deep in trouble before he’s even started.

With the FBI sniffing around, a teenage band of werewolves, and a tough biker gang, aptly named the Streetwolves, not to mention that it was Gentleman Johnnie Marcone’s man who was offed, Fool Moon sets out to give Harry his weirdest, most complex case yet.

This second instalment of The Dresden Files proves, yet again, that Butcher’s idea of the supernatural is anything but cliché. Butcher can give us werewolves and still come out of it gleaming with originality—it’s an art he has down, and as Harry evolves through the following instalments, I can only assume Butcher’s supernatural genius will improve as exponentially as Harry’s magic (and trouble-load).

Imaginative, dark, funny and witty, Fool Moon really raises the bar set by Storm Front, and readers hooked at book one will seal the deal and call themselves Dresden fans from here onwards. An excellently paced, exciting urban fantasy adventure, Fool Moon simply is what Butcher does, and what he does well.

Harry is an approachable, likeable character who engages constantly: there is never a dull moment in a Dresden book, and always something new to intrigue and enthral. Fool Moon was a quick, fast-paced adventure that introduces new characters, establishes existing characters further, and shows the reader a damn good time whilst doing so. An absolute pleasure to read.

4/5

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