Book Review: Fool Moon

Fool Moon
The Dresden Files #2
by Jim Butcher
read by James Marsters

My rating: 3 / 5
Genre: Paranormal mystery

Harry Dresden is the only professional wizard available for hire in Chicago and is sometimes called on by the police to help solve crimes where magic is involved. So when a series of murders that happen around the full moon show other signs of involving werewolves, Harry is on the case. But will it prove to be too much for him to handle?

I was not as big a fan of this second book as I was the first in the series. I’ve read that the series gets better after you get into it (though how far into it varies widely), but while this one started off similarly enough to the first, it did not have as much of interest to me. It wasn’t so much a mystery as it was police procedural, and even after the case was basically solved, there was a lot of book left, which turned out to be mostly fighting. It doesn’t help that I usually find werewolves boring in any iteration. I did appreciate that there were various types of werewolves, but since I was listening to the audiobook and couldn’t easily go back to remind myself of which was which, it mostly confused me.

I’m finding some formula in the series that I really hope Butcher steers away from soon enough—like how Murphy keeps believing Dresden to be a bad guy (not that he helps the situation by not telling her the full truth, but she can’t manage to be understanding of how his hands are tied) or how Harry just gets beat up…so…much. Still, I enjoyed some humorous moments and lines, and there was a bit of a twist at the end involving one of the werewolves. Overall, the book just felt like it dragged on, but I’m still looking forward to continuing the series. I can’t pretend that I’d recommend this book in general, but it shouldn’t be enough to dissuade anyone from trying the series, especially if you’re a fan of mystery and detective noir novels, and enjoy or at least can tolerate the addition of supernatural elements (and the content warning below). In particular, if you like to listen to audiobooks, I recommend the narration by James Marsters.

One final note, something that was worse in this book than in the previous—there is quite a bit of sexual content. After my husband finished the audiobook, he commented on how, with the couple of female werewolves, every time they were in a scene, whether they were fully clothed or not (one of them was naked in at least 75% of her human-form page time), the narrator felt the need to remind us that they had certain female parts. And he was right…they were referenced often. I really hope this doesn’t remain at this level. There’s also some language, but not actually as much as I anticipated. And there’s certainly some violence, much more than the previous book (werewolves are beasts). My tolerance on things like these is fairly low, especially compared to the average reader, and while I do plan to continue, I really hope the level of sexual content, at least, doesn’t stay this high.

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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Review: Storm Front

Storm Front
The Dresden Files #1
by Jim Butcher
read by James Marsters

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Paranormal mystery

Harry Dresden is the only professional wizard available for hire in Chicago and is sometimes called on by the police to help solve crimes where magic is involved. He also takes other cases, and when he’s asked to track down a missing person while also working on a murder case for the local PD, Harry is relieved that he might just be able to pay his rent this month. However, tracking down someone who kills with magic, which is not just illegal but also forbidden in the magical realm, requires more than a little investigating. And the missing person’s case turns out to be more involved than he’d thought or hoped, too. Suddenly, Harry has a lot more to be worried about than whether or not he’ll be evicted.

I am so glad I finally decided to give this book series a chance. I enjoyed so much about it and was interested from start to finish. The author drops the reader right into the middle of this magical world, which feels very real, due to the way Butcher mostly explains some of the magical mechanics almost off-handedly, rather than as a big info dump. It almost felt like I’d jumped into the middle of an ongoing series, even though this is book #1, but not in a bad way that made me feel like I was struggling to understand. I did have some confusion early on, but not enough to lessen my enjoyment.

The mystery/detective side of the story was interesting in its own right, but add in the vampires, fairies, and demons, and it was more of a thrill ride. I also really appreciated the wit throughout the story, which I picked up on in the first few chapters. And I have a feeling that Bob could become a favorite of mine.

I knew what I was getting into, as far as content goes, but for anyone who doesn’t really know—there is quite a bit of sexual content, though nothing gratuitous. Even when Dresden spends a decent stretch of time naked, the reader isn’t reminded of it constantly, and in fact, I forgot a few times that he was naked. There’s also some language, but not actually as much as I anticipated. And there’s certainly some violence, but again, it’s not gratuitous. All of these content issues together aren’t enough to discourage me from continuing the series (and my tolerance is fairly low, especially compared to the average reader).

I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Marsters, which I’ll admit went a long way to pushing me to finally start this series. I highly recommend the book in general, and his narration specifically. If you’re a fan of mystery and detective noir novels, and enjoy or at least can tolerate the addition of supernatural elements (and the content warning I gave), you should give this book a read.

Find out more about Storm Front

See what I’m reading next.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!