Book Review: Fool Moon By Jim Butcher

Jean-Paul’s rating: 2/5 stars

And I’m done with The Dresden Files (both the books and the TV show).  Jim Butcher is lucky that fanboys (and fangirls) are so easy to please.  That is the only reason I can offer for how popular this series of books is.  With “Fool Moon”, the trick is to throw as many different types of werewolves at the reader as possible to cover up the fact that every single character behaves stupidly and changes motives on a whim just to advance the story.

And, oh look, another murdered naked woman!  Why is she naked?  Either female wizards are required to get naked to perform ritual ceremonies and male wizards are not or Butcher just wanted to add another pointlessly sexualized murder victim to titillate the fanboys.

Let’s see what other stupidities we have going on in this book.  There’s the scene where Dresden is trying to cast a spell at a werewolf that is charging at him only to have Murphy jump between him and the werewolf and points a gun at Dresden and tells him to get down on the ground.  She, a supposedly trained detective, doesn’t hear the werewolf?  Nope.  She, a supposedly trained detective, doesn’t think to just take a step or two to the side and shoot the man running at Dresden from behind?  Nope.  Instead, she shoots right at Dresden.

Oh, and then there’s the FBI agent who actually attempts to shoot Murphy while they are both at a crime scene.  The agent, completely unprovoked and breaking about a billion laws, pulls her gun and shoots at an officer of the law.  That agent is certainly going to jail for a long time, right?  Wrong.  Murphy refuses to even file a report because she doesn’t want there to be bad blood between her and the FBI.  Seriously?

There is also this scene where Marcone is tied up and strung up over a pit as bait for a werewolf while Dresden and his crew are stuck in the pit.  Somehow, defying all physics, Marcone is able to pull a knife from his person (even though he was searched) and cut some magical rope that then falls into the pit and allows Dresden and his crew to climb out of the pit.  Someone please explain to me how that is physically possible?

Of course, the worse thing, as in the first book, is every single interaction between the main characters, Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy.  For example, Harry and Karrin have a conversation about how Karrin is pissed at Harry for hiding things from her in “Stormfront”.  She makes him promise her that he’ll never lie to her or hide anything from her like that again.  THE VERY NEXT THING Harry does is hide things from her.  In fact, he is hiding things from her as he’s promising her to not hide things from her.  Harry Dresden is either a complete asshole or Jim Butcher is a horrible writer.

Then there’s also the whole thing with Murphy using Harry to investigate every paranormal happening and always coming to the conclusion that Harry must be involved somehow.  Every freaking time two books in a row!  You either don’t trust him or you do.  Pick one.

I did give it two stars and not one so now I’ll say something nice about the book.  Much like the first one, all of the magic and werewolves and ideas are legitimately interesting.  It is fun to read about loupe-garou and Hexenwolves and what the differences are.  Jim Butcher would likely have had a fine career writing a Monster Manual.  Unfortunately, he decided to try to tell a story.  Jim Butcher can not tell a story.

One thought on “Book Review: Fool Moon By Jim Butcher

  1. Steven Scott

    I think you may have committed the cardinal sin to reviewing…you already had made up your mind to how good or bad this was before even reading line one. Look, maybe this book and this series just isn’t for you. Murphy jumping in front of Dresden, and the ability of Marcone to pull a knife and cut some rope for the protagonists is just movie magic, dramatics, *Telling a Story*. It’s no different that Batman showing up just the right moment to help catwoman out, or any car explosion/flip combo in any action movie. It creates drama.

    Murphy didn’t get shot by the FBI agent, and you failed to take into account the politics of the situation. 3 crooked FBI agents would have told a different story than her, and she was on thin ice as she later pointed out. But It’s not surprising you would miss that, since you also missed the politics (or at least had no idea what was going on) with Harry promising not to hide anything from Murphy…

    1) Its a little bit like a Fed who is working with the Cops. Yes, they will help you out and try not to hide anything, but something you probably need are still classified. The thing is, one of the classified things Harry has to keep is that there are somethings that are classified. He was worried that if she knew, she would be killed. Hence his dilemma.
    2) The plot twist where she finds out he is holding out, is something he didn’t think was related and was a very big deal before. It is a little campy, but so is the whole series.
    3) Is Harry Dresden an asshole? YES! One of the reasons I like the series is that our protagonist isn’t some white hat, goodie-two-shoes. In fact, he mentions this often. Every time people soulgaze with him, they are always more spooked by what they see than Harry is (well, so far at least).

    Yes, its a little stilted that Murphy doesn’t trust him two straight books. It makes sense both logically and in the story though. Murphy felt a little burned by him last book. For months she stays away from him, not sure to trust him or its worth trusting him. She is forced to go back to him for this new case, and it appears like she is burning him again.

    I don’t really understand your aversion to reading about dead naked women. This series is campy with its sexy dealings in a 70’s-ish way. It doesn’t feel exploitative to me though, since the series has several strong female characters and the series seriousness when its around your ‘dead naked women’. They don’t feel throw away, and they gravity of the situation is always reinforced. (Also, there were just as many naked men (both living and dead) in the last book.)

    I think you just didn’t want to like this book. That’s ok, still doesn’t mean the books are bad.

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