Mon
Nov 12 2012 3:00pm
The Dresden Files Reread: Book 2, Fool Moon

The Dresden Files Reread on Tor.com: Book 2, Fool Moon

How many different werewolves can you cram into one story? In Fool Moon, the second in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, he shoots for the, well, moon. Harry Dresden is back again, and this time the fur is flying.

Let’s get this out of the way right from the start—Fool Moon is, by many accounts, the worst of the Dresden books. Its plot is muddy, there are large portions of exposition thrown at the reader, and it tries to cram every kind of werewolf into its pages. But it has its shining moments, and it begins to set up storylines that will later become great.

In Fool Moon, wizard Harry Dresden is called upon by Lt. Karrin Murphy to help with solving some grisly murders that were committed during the full moon. The latest is someone who worked for Johnny Marcone, the crime boss introduced in Storm Front. With the fallout from Storm Front, Harry’s relationship with Murphy has become strained. While she wants Harry’s help, she doesn’t trust him.

The fact that the murders occur during a full moon of course points to werewolves. As Bob the skull tells us, in a large lump of exposition, there are several different types of werewolves, all of which Butcher sees fit to throw at us at some point during the novel. There are the more conventional werewolves (Type #1), which are humans who use magic to transform into wolves. These appear shortly afterward as Harry investigates a lead and encounters a gang of teenage werewolves called the Alphas. The Alphas are led by a woman called Tera West, also a shapeshifter, though as we later find out she’s a wolf who can transform into a human (Type #2).

A group of FBI agents is also involved with the case, and one of them gives Harry some information that causes him to come into conflict with a a biker gang called the Streetwolves. They are lycanthropes (Type #3), humans who take on bestial natures without actually changing shape. They aren’t behind the killings, but they decide they don’t much like the idea of Harry living.

Harry escapes them, and in the process of turning down an offer from Marcone to work for him (by defending him from werewolves), he learns about Harley MacFinn. MacFinn is a loup-garou (Type #4). One of MacFinn’s ancestors was cursed to turn into a monstrous wolf-creature, and the curse has been passed down through to him. One of Harry’s friends, a woman named Kim Delaney, has been trying to help MacFinn contain himself, but her magical containment circle fails and MacFinn, as the beast, kills her.

In the resulting chaos, Murphy arrests MacFinn and also beats Harry up, locking him in a cop car. He’s freed by Tera West, who, it turns out, is MacFinn’s fiancee. She wants Harry to contain MacFinn before he kills again. But by the time Harry gets to the police station, MacFinn has already changed, and the loup-garou tears through the police station, killing everyone around him.

The Dresden Files Reread on Tor.com: Book 2, Fool Moon

Harry leaves to pursue, but is waylaid by the Streetwolves. They capture him and take him back to their lair, but Harry is saved by a conflict between Marcone’s people, the Streetwolves and the FBI agents. During the fight, Harry sees the FBI agents transform into wolves themselves, using magical belts. Tera and the Alphas return to save Harry. Harry also captures FBI Agent Harris, who he then interrogates.

It turns out that all the FBI agents are hexenwolves (Type #5), using magical belts to transform into wolves. The agents have been behind all the killings. They are after Marcone, sick of not being able to touch him as law enforcement agents. They’ve been using their abilities to target him, not caring about the innocent people they’re killing. MacFinn is their patsy, set up to take the fall for all of the slaughter.

They all head to Marcone’s estate for the big finale, where a giant battle occurs. Murphy ends up shooting the lead FBI Agent, Denton, through the head. Harry uses the belt he took from Agent Harris to kill one of the other hexenwolves before taking out MacFinn with his silver amulet and magic.

Did you get all that? If not, don’t worry about it. It gets confusing. In an effort to give us adequate red herrings, Butcher crams the book full of wolves and the wolf-like. Unfortunately, when the FBI Agents’ plot is revealed, it all seems anticlimactic. Was their plan really the best way to go after Marcone? The upshot to this whole plot is that Harry realizes that the agents didn’t find the belts all by themselves. He starts to figure out that someone must have given them the belts, and this someone just might be targeting him.

Probably the best thing about Fool Moon is that it gives us Billy, Georgia and the other Alphas, who will continue to show up in later stories and become important characters not only to the overall storyline, but to the personal development of Harry Dresden. Also, the relationship between Harry and Susan intensifies, which will become important in later stories. And Susan gives Harry his black leather duster, which, frankly, is much cooler than his other one (which got trashed anyway).

The good news is that if you got this far in the books, it all gets better from here. Butcher’s plotting gets better and he handles his toys with much more restraint. Also, the stakes continue to get higher, and Murphy stops doubting him all the time. By Book 3, things start to get really good.

I’m interested to hear thoughts from the other fans out there. Do people like this one more than I expect? Is this anyone’s favorite? If so, what do you like about it?


Rajan Khanna is a writer, narrator, and blogger who apparently has a limited tolerance for werewolves. His website is www.rajankhanna.com.

44 comments
ikilledasmodean
1. ikilledasmodean
Amidst all the werewolf confusion, I think there is one key plot point to this book that directly contributes to Harry developing as a character, and actively makes the rest of the series better. By this, I mean the death of Kim Delaney.

Kim is the only character we've met who as a small-time practitioner claims some level of training by Dresden, and while this is not such a formal apprenticeship as with Molly, I can't imagine that it was so casual that he didn't really care whether she lived or died. So when she did die, Butcher made it pretty clear I think that Harry was pretty broken up over seeing her body. And immediately following was the realization that perhaps his friends, who were helping him fight/deal with the supernatural world, didn't need to be kept in the dark, that perhaps by clueing them in, he could save their lives.

This, I think, is what signals the upturn in the next several books - Harry's decision to relax with all the secrecy stuff helps strengthen his relationship with Murphy, which allows her to be more badass in fighting things, which makes for better books.
Tim Kaufman
2. Tymerion
This is an ok book...

I actually consider this to be my least favorite of the series, but that my preference...his writing is a little better than the first, but the first had the novelty of being the first...and that makes it more interesting than Fool Moon.

We also see great tension with Murphy grow, which leads to my favorite relationship in the entire series, Murphy and Harry. Their friendship and terrible romantic choices give us some of the ost human moments in the entire series...

I love the Alpha's..in book 4 and beyond...here I just have problems believing their motives for becoming werewolves...

One really high point for this novel though is how the relaitonship with Susan moves along, which makes the events of book 3 and the rest of the series really palpable for the reader.

plus...like you said, it only gets better from here...
ikilledasmodean
3. RobL
I'm happy to hear that the series gets better. I've read the first two and wasn't sure whether I wanted to continue. I found the numerous types of werewolves to be interesting, but the exposition was clunky and they did seem crammed into the plot sometimes. A few other things bothered me, including (1) the jurisdiction dispute between the FBI and Chicago PD seemed so cliched (it made sense later, but it was annoying at the time), (2) Murphy's distrust of Dresden (he deserved the benefit of the doubt after the events of book one), (3) Dresden was significantly injured several times in book two--to the point that it was unbelievable he was still on his feet, and (4) the fantasy rules were unclear during book two; it was difficult to tell what was a crisis and what wasn't, because it was unclear what Dresden could and couldn't do.

Despite my complaints, book two was an engaging page-turner. If it's the worst of the series, I'll definitely give book three a shot.
Jack Flynn
4. JackofMidworld
Maybe it's because I was riding the wave of the Dresden Files tv show I was still watching when I read this one or because I'm a werewolf fan but I liked it. I also like the fact that it added magical depth to the world.

In some universes, there's only one kind of shapeshifter but, as an old-school D&D player (where there were werewolves, wolfweres, jackalweres, polymorph, etc), I thought the idea of several different types of shapeshifters was pretty nifty, showing the different ways of that magic worked in Dresden's world. Which, after saying it out loud, pretty much supports the whole "things get better" thing.
Shaz Taslimi
5. shaztaz
This has always been the book I disliked the most in the series. Honestly, even SF is better.

One of my favourite thigns about it, though, are the two potions Harry makes in this one. Seriously, how awesome is that blend-in potion? And, oh, how I've longed for that night-of-sleep-in-a-bottle potion!

The fight with the loupgarou at SI is the other bit I enjoyed in the book. That's when harry uses one of my favourite lines in the series: "Don't mess with the wizard when he's wizarding!" And yet, this is where we lose Carmichael. I've always regretted that one.

And of course, you gotta love the alphas, even if they don't come into their own until later.

Now, people, I need help with this one. Remember Chauncy? We're told Chauncy is a demon from the underworld. I take it that's different from the Nevernever. But he also refers to Margaret LeFay as associating with the underworld before her redemption. Where exactly does Chauncy fit in? He further mentions the unnatural deaths of both Harry's parents. We still haven't heard anything about Harry's father's death being anything other than natural except for this one reference.

Another thing is when Harry calls up Chauncy, he mentions that the demon didn't get loose, so Harry is clear of the seventh law. The seventh law, I believe, is that thou shalt not reach beyond the outer gates, right? But that only applies to Outsiders.

What's going on with Chaunzaggoroth?!
ikilledasmodean
6. J8457934567
This definitely is one of the weakest Dresden novels, but the whole scene with the loup-garou at SI HQ is one of my favorite passages in the series. It's tense, and gripping, and just flat out awesome. (May I just say, the captchas for posting here are just a little too eager to keep us from posting? This is my 4th attempt to post!!)
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
I rather liked the multiplicity of werewolves--just as I like the various kinds of vampires that we'll see. I thought it was a fun instance of explaining why the myths were confused--they are all basically true but referring to different creatures.
S Cooper
8. SPC
This was one of my favorites on my first read-through. Admittedly that was before I realized how much better they'd get, but I got a big kick out of all the different werewolves. (I like "multiplicity of werewolves")
ikilledasmodean
9. SunDriedRainbow
I enjoyed Fool Moon, because I liked the varying kinds of magic that happened, and I'm a giant nerd for magic.

The part where Harry uses magic without being able to speak is one of the coolest moments in the series, IMO.
Bryan Schenk
10. Damplander
I've re-read the series at least 10 times, since 4 books were out when I started and I've basically re-read them all with the release of each new book.

I'll admit this one is not as strong as most of the other books, but it has so much that is important later to Harry and his universe that it's still a good and important read.

Jim later tones down the physical beatings he gives Harry although he also puts in a bit of explanation for how Harry continues to function after all the beatings as well:)

But I admit a fair portion of my enjoyment is looking for the next bit of torment that Jim is going to inflict on Harry and how he is going to manage to keep on investigating to get to the bottom of the problem even while wounded:)
Chris Hawks
11. SaltManZ
Sure, I'll 'fess up: this was easily my favorite of the first three books. At the time, I even liked it better than #4, but I've since abandoned that misguided opinion.
Matt Stoumbaugh
12. LazerWulf
To tell the truth, I don't really see why everyone is hating on this book as "the worst in the series". And even if it is, it's still pretty darn good.

I mean, yeah, it can be exposition-heavy at times, but you need to realize that Butcher is creating a world here that could very well be the same world we're living in, and as such a lot of explaining is needed to show how fantasy tropes can still apply in modern-day times, and so is forgivable.

Technically Tara is also a Type #1 Werewolf, as she uses magic to change from wolf-form to human-form (the only difference being which one is her "real" form). The Type #2 that Bob mentions (Human transformed by another's magic, or transmogrification, which is breaking the Second Law) is the only type we DON'T meet. (Which is okay, as I find the absence of this type inconsequential, unlike the absesnce of the Jade Court.)

This book has a lot going for it. It does introduce the Alphas, cements Harry and Susan's relationship (short-lived though it may be) and, as I've said, builds upon the world a bit more.

Okay, as I'm writing this I'm starting to see some of the points that this might be the weakest, and perhaps I'm starting to agree. Nevertheless, it's not unlikeable, and definitely not my least favorite. (That honor goes to Grave Peril, though that's more of a personal distaste than anything, which I'll probably go into next week.)

P.S. "SF" can be taken as both "Storm Front" and "Small Favor", which is why the Dresden Forums have taken to using "StF" and "SmF" to avoid confusion.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*
RobL@3: Later in the series, Butcher reveals that Wizards have a better capacity for healing than humans, not that they heal faster, but they heal more completely (i.e. broken bones mend completely instead of just fusing back together). That said, most of his injuries in this book aren't that serious. Yes, he gets shot but it's said that it went through the muscle of his shoulder, missing bone and major arteries. And he gets beat up a lot (Murphy, MacFinn, Streetwolves, etc.), but I imagine growing up with the kind of training Justin DuMorne gave him, he has a slightly better tolerance for pain, and none of those injuries were dehabilitating.

shaztaz@5: The Seven Laws of Magic were never really fully laid out until, I think, Book 4 (Summer Knight). So I kind of chalk that up to early-series clutter. Technically, the Seventh Law is "Thou shalt not seek beyond the Outer Gates." So if Chauncy was an Outsider, then Dresden would still be breaking the law by contacting him, not just by letting him loose. Besides, we've seen Outsiders being summoned, (He Who Walks Behind in Blood Rites, and the uber-ghouls in White Night) and this doesn't seem to be the same as when Harry summons Chauncy. Besides, even though Harry has power over Outsiders, he still has trouble against them, so if Chauncy was one, there would have been a bigger struggle when he tried to get out.
George Brell
13. gbrell
I would agree that Fool Moon is my least favorite novel in the series. My main evidence for that is that it's the book I've returned to re-read the fewest times (once).

It's interesting that there seems to be strong concensus about this. I wonder if there is similar concensus as to the best novels.

My ordering, if anyone is interested:
Small Favor, Changes, Dead Beat, Turn Coat, Death Masks, White Night, Summer Knight, Blood Rites, Proven Guilty, Ghost Story, Grave Peril, Storm Front, Fool Moon.
George Brell
14. gbrell
@12.LazerWulf:

(Which is okay, as I find the absence of this type inconsequential, unlike the absesnce of the Jade Court.)

Re-reading the early books it's fairly clear to me that Butcher didn't nail down his vampire mythos until later in the series. The relationships between the Whites, Reds and Blacks seem to shift a fair amount and Bianca's position, in retrospect, makes very little sense.
ikilledasmodean
15. Garbonzo Bean
I really think it's unfair how much heat this book (along with Storm Front) takes for being the "worst" book of the series. For starters, even the "worst book", whichever you may think it is, contains fun and enjoyable moments, and contains small pieces of the bigger story.

These first two books are what they need to be in many ways. That is, a smaller scale exploration into a new world with new characters. Many of those charcters to be with us over the long haul, growing and changeing with each appearance. This coming from an author that is also learning and growing with each book.

From these, humble beginnings, "literary candy" if you will, comes a very enjoyable series with surprising complexity and continuity. One in which I can hardly waint to see what comes next...
Shaz Taslimi
16. shaztaz
@12. LazerWulf: Yes, it has always seemed to me that the early references to the laws are rather inconsistant, though I'm not sure I've fully put my finger on the places where they go wrong. But the reference to the seventh in FM is definitely one of them. I knew that Chauncy was not an Outsider and I always figured he was just a creature from the darker parts of the Nevernever, but then the only law that truly applies would be the fourth.


Unlike the various kinds of vampires, the various types of werewolves are, well, rather irrelevant on the grand scheme of things. They're apparently just an interesting curiosity. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not the same situation as the vampires.

I haven't never quite figured out what it is exactly that doesn't quite chime for me in FM. Don't get me wrong, I do like it. It's just my least favourite book of one of my favourite series ever. That still makes it one of my favourite books overall!
Debbie Solomon
17. dsolo
While I'll agree that this isn't as strong as his later books, I also liked the multiplicity of werewolves. Again, it was also putting in place building blocks for Harry's world. As for the Alphas learning how to be werewolves, I can see a bunch of college kids thinking that would be cool. Remember they're gamers, so they're already interested in fantasy and roleplaying. One of the things that I really enjoy about the Dresdenverse, is the introduction of different characters and mythologies. He throws everything into the pot. I just finished reading the Bigfoot short stories, and now I'm wondering if Tera West knows River Shoulders. I would like to see her character show up again. As for the FBI, that's a theme that shows up from time to time, which is responsibility and power. JB really hammers on that theme in "The Warrior". JB's writing dramatically improves when it comes to adding layers to his stories. So, despite the technical flaws, the story and characters still sucked me in.
ikilledasmodean
18. Adam Rafferty
My thought is that when the books first open Harry is about 25 years old and he really is still learning alot about what is going on. So yes this great big beautiful complex world that Butcher has created is a bit muddled and crowded but so is reality. It takes a while flesh out all these characters who do grow emotionally and in strength over the next 10 years of their lives. I think that is what I like most about his writing the scars they recieve here make them more real.
Matt Stoumbaugh
19. LazerWulf
gbrell@14: The first mention of the Blacks and Whites (and the first time it's mentioned that Bianca is a Red) is in Grave Peril, and it does seem to me that their relationship to each other is pretty well defined. True, when Bianca is introduced, they don't mention other vampire types, so JB probably hadn't thought to include them, but his world is such that that didn't automatically exclude them. My quip about the Jade Court was just lamenting the fact that ever since their casual reference in Death Masks, they've never been broached, though common speculation is that they're Jiang Shi (or Chi Vampires), prevalent in Asian folklore.

shaztaz@16: I kind of know what you mean. As a reader, I'm more interested in the story itself, and so I'm a bit forgiving about how that story is told. Storytelling-wise, the first two are pretty weak, but that's to be expected, since the first three were for a writing workshop class, meaning JB was just getting a feel for being a writer. As I mentioned, Grave Peril is my least favorite (followed by Changes, Turn Coat, and Death Masks), but that's mostly because I hate downer endings, rather than anything being wrong with the storytelling. They're all great books.

My favorite book is Summer Knight, and most of my impromptu rereads stem from me wanting to read that book, reading it, then continuing on from there, so I haven't read the first three as often as I've read the others (I try to get a full re-read in before the latest book comes out, though, so it's not like I've never re-read them), which is why I never really took note of the weakness of the first two.

I had to get all my books off my shelf and lay them out in order to decide where they all stand in relation to each other, so my favorites go: SK, BR, WN, DB, GS, PG, SmF, StF, FM, DM, TC, Ch, GP. And if you can recognize those just by looking, without having to look it up, then you are a true Dresdenite.

P.S. Who else has noticed that, apart from Changes, each book has a title that's two words long, where both words contain the same number of letters? (Changes was a deliberate change from the normal naming convention, and the fandom rejoiced when Ghost Story returned to the old ways.) It's more obvious on the earlier covers (as seen above), though I adore Chris McGrath's artwork on the new ones.
Shaz Taslimi
20. shaztaz
Well, in one the Q&As I've seen on youtube, Jim did mention he originally forgot to write a mystery into GP, so maybe that didn't help? I was amused to hear that one.

I'm not going to attempt to put them in order as I can't even begin to decide which goes first, much less put them in any kind of order, so I'll just keep them in a happy jumble of much-beloved-ness in my head instead. It works.
Rajan Khanna
21. rajanyk
I think ultimately Fool Moon suffers in comparison to the later books which outshine it. But it's by no means a horrible book. I was, however, talking to a friend of mine and we were discussing new readers who sometimes bounce off of the first two books. I was wondering if it might work to start with Grave Peril and maybe read the next couple and go back and pick up Storm Front and Fool Moon later? I'm not saying it's the recommended order or anything, but I wonder if that might work.
Rajan Khanna
22. rajanyk
@1 ikilledasmodean - that's a good point. I think of Kim Delaney as quickly forgotten, but I do agree that Harry's evolution, in terms of opening up to the people around him, does begin here. I think here Harry is still trying to tow the line with the White Council but soon realizes that keeping stuff hidden doesn't help.
Rajan Khanna
23. rajanyk
Re: Chauncey--I guess I always just assumed he was a kind of generic demon. I don't recall them really being used much in later books, though.

And this book is memorable for introducing the Alphas who I think get a lot more interesting as the series goes on. Going back through the books for the reread, I forgot how often Harry goes to them for help. The Alphas also help to humanize him, something that Harry often needs. But then again, most of Harry's friends humanize him, even the inhuman ones...
ikilledasmodean
24. TBGH
I think of this one as the weakest in the series, but it still has some of my favorite moments. When Harry realizes Murphy melted down her inherited silver (jewelry I think) I smiled. It was a key moment that indicated even though Murphy kept on saying she didn't trust Harry she was still taking his advice even when totally off the wall.

Also when he is under the influence of the ultra-coffee potion, I loved reading his thought processes. The conflict there is so well done and you can see both the thoughts and how it all goes so very very wrong.

Finally, I thought for sure Carmichael was going to be around for awhile and was shocked by his heroic death. The obnoxious tough cop guy gets to be the hero and bites it, who would have thought . . . and yes I did that on purpose.
ikilledasmodean
25. UnRiel
This book is notable to me because Harry really learns the consequences of being a member of a clandestine organization like the White Court which requires secrecy and how keeping secrets is sometimes more dangerous than sharing knowledge. Butcher is great at making the reader who is in Harry's head feel his pain and frustration as the consequences of bridging the two responsibilities becomes unsupportable. He doesn't have the right to make decisions for others and when he does bad things happen.

I love the exploration of the different types of werewolves. Butcher is notable among fantasy authors for the rigor of his mythology - he explores the fairy tales and backs them with science.

Finally, this book reveals that not all endings are happy ones; something Jim repeats throughout. Harry's clients do not always meet a happy ending, to save friends and lives Harry must act and he does with finality. This is the hallmark of a courageous author and contrasts Butcher with other popular current authors that never risk their characters.
Emmet O'Brien
26. EmmetAOBrien
This is definitely my least favourite of the series to date. It's got all the same early series weaknesses as Storm Front, including Harry playing by Indiana Jones rules when it comes to injury, it's got the fridging of Kim Delaney, It's got the abovementioned plethora of werewolves (and I have never much liked werewolves; glad the Alphas are the ones who got kept), and it's got a spiralling failure-to-communicate plot between Murphy and Harry that just hurts.

It does however have one shining moment for me, which is the death of Carmichael; a character who up to that point seemed as well set to be a series regular as anyone in the books. Knowing Butcher is willing to have real irreversible consequences happen to characters who appear to be core cast is what has kept me reading through the series' later dips.

It also starts laying groundwork in a number of important ways, notably, to me, the way Harry totally misses Chauncy's "legend has it" qualifier for the loup-garou's origin story.
Evan Langlinais
27. Skwid
I was amused when Harry acquired a black leather duster, because at that point the transformation of Butcher's character into me was complete. I'd been wearing Harry's now standard uniform for years prior to the introduction of the character. Hell, I even have a similar build and general appearance, although I'm shorter by a couple of inches.
john mullen
28. johntheirishmongol
Funny, I don't really think of books as best or worst when it comes to an author. Is it something I enjoyed? If yes, I keep going with a writer. I do like his style and I know it has gotten better but it this book is a good read.
ikilledasmodean
29. Zazriel
Shaztaz - I always thought Outsiders were more like Chtuloid monsters. I think that their strange otherness that went past your typical run of the mill creature from Hell. I felt that way even before Backup where Thomas talks about the Oblivian War and the purpose of the Venatori and gives us an even better picture of what an Outsider is. That said I have always struggled with Chauncy's role in Fool Moon - it seemed such a throw away scene with potential that was never realized. Most of the info Harry heard later in the series anyway. All I can think is it was the first obvious shot over the bow that indicated that there was a bigger battle going on than we ever realized and its one I don't think we will really understand the scope of until the end of the series. I am not talking about the black court, I am talking about the battle for Harry's soul. I think Harry is a pivot point, a man whose great personal power could lead him to be a Merlin or a Sauron, a Hitler or a Ghandi. If Chauncy was not lying and Harry's father was murdered then this could be the oppositions first attempt to sway Harry, by leaving him orphaned and emotionally vulnerable to DuMorne. When that fails and Harry has not crossed over that is the chance for the other side to exert their influence and Ebenezer was given the chance in to help shape Harry's world view. Why not kill Harry? I think both sides want Harry to grow and acheive his future, they just want to sway him in the direction they want. Positive forces are hindered by not being able to take direct action until their opposition does, so a bunch of little things have to add up before Mouse make his appearance. Reading all the books in order the back and forth pattern is really obvious. I still think Chauncy is weak plot element though
ikilledasmodean
30. Zazreil
Robl - I disagree about Murphy, she really doesn't have a lot of reason to trust Harry in Fool Moon. Storm Front left a lot of questions for her unanswered. She was out cold for the Scorpion battle and then in the hospital when Dresden took down the wizard. It looks on the surface that Dresden is a good guy but I can see her having questions about how she was so conveniently poisoned. One of the things I love about Fool Moon is the fleshing out of Murphy's character - or I might call it the redemption of Murphy as Butcher takes her from the Stereotypical bull-headed arrogant cop that blunders into trouble and needs to be saved, to someone strong, smart, and cool-headed under fire. You can see Murphy and Harry earning the respect and trust that becomes the basis of their future friendship.
ikilledasmodean
31. Zazreil
I actually like Fool Moon a lot. I think it has so much to recommend it.
1)I don't read mysteries much cause I always figure out the who-done-it so for a mystery to hold me it needs something else. Fool Moon delivered that by going through the 5 types of werewolves. So the fact I figured out the FBI were the villians the moment they walked on the stage was offset by the my amusement at ticking off the various Werewolf tropes. I got an extra giggle from the Wolf-were, almost never seen in the horror genre and one with few legends. It felt like Butcher's RPG roots were showing .
2)Murphy was bad-a**ed. That scene when she faced down the Loupe Lagrou, shot the FBI agent - smart and tough
3)The Alphas - I do have to be honest that my love of the Alphas increased as they appeared in future books, they were good here but AWESOME later
4)Tara - love how Butcher handled the wolf-were concept, she really did come accross as different and not human, and at the same time her attachment to her fiance made even more sense
5)Marrcone reveals himself more - scum and yet you begin to understand and appreciate not only how he got to the top but how he holds the loyalty and respect of his men.
6) As a native Chicagoan, what I enjoyed is that unlike Storm Front, Fool Moon is starting to get a Chicago feel. Of course Butcher gets better as he goes along but at least we have a few flickers in this book

One other thing is how I am realizing that the title again has a dual meaning, first obviously having to do with werewolves, but secondly how frequently Dresden was played for a fool
Matt Stoumbaugh
32. LazerWulf
rajanyk@21 If you're not starting with Storm Front, then Summer Knight is the better starting off point than Grave Peril, though again, I have issues with GP, and SK is still my favorite, but that's partly because of how good of a starting point it makes. All you really need to know about the first three books is laid out in the exposition of the fourth book, and the scene where Dresden finally brings Murphy into the loop is also a great world-building scene.

@22: Kim is actually mentioned again in one of the later books (I forget which one), and it turns out that his failure to save Kim is one of the Defining Moments that Dresden considers to shape his character.

@23: I think the reason Chauncey is never brought back should be fairly obvious, he already has 3 of Dresden's 4 Names, and he makes it clear that any further information would come at the cost of that last name. Take a look at that scene again, Chauncey always uses Harry's first and last name, never just one or the other, and when he learns "Blackstone", he makes a point of always including that, as well. I do recall, however, that there was one other demon that he summoned later in the series, which had no body of her own, so she was forced into a Raggedy Ann doll. Mostly, however, he uses Toot Toot and the 'Za Lord's Army to gather information, as their price is the cheapest. (A Little Caesar's pizza is $5. If you could ingratiate yourself to an entire clan of dewdrop faeries for the low, low price of $5/week, wouldn't you?)

EmmetAOBrien@26: I'm guessing that by "Indiana Jones Rules", you mean that Dresden ignores injuries that should be dehabilitating. Except that he doesn't. First, as I mentioned earlier, none of his injuries are that serious. Yes, he got shot, but it was through the shoulder, through and through, as they say, and his other injuries are just bruises compounded against each other. (Seriously, he gets beat up a lot, but no bones ever get broken or anything.) Second, his injuries are never forgotten. He's constantly bringing up his injuries (like when Georgia hugged him after he said they could go to the final fight with him, he mentions that a sharp pain goes through his shoulder). In fact, I think JB kind of beats us over the head with reminding us how injured Harry is.

Zazriel@29: The way I read it, the Oblivion war wasn't against outsiders, it was against old gods (little "g") who are trying not to be forgotten, and they're never called outsiders. The only confirmed outsiders we have at this point are He Who Walks Behind (or "Walker") and the uber-ghouls from WN (who I do picture looking like the Predator, as designed by H.P. Lovecraft), and they're not trying to get people to worship them.
Matt Stoumbaugh
33. LazerWulf
And now, a question for Rajan: Are you planning on tackling Side Jobs as a whole? Or each story as it takes place? (Or maybe not at all? Though I hope this is not the case...)
ikilledasmodean
34. Darakez
While the final battle scene doesn't have the gusto of other Dresden Files books, where this book shone was in the scenes at Georgia's house immediately prior to the climax. In this calm before the storm, we see Harry face himself in his dreams and see a glimpse of the powerful wizard he will one day be. Awaking from the dream a black duster, similar to what his dream wore, is bequethed him by Susan. It's great foreshadowing.

Through exposition following Chaunzaggaroth's scene the reader gets some great world building moments as we learn more about the power of names and the Nevernever (and yes Shaztaz, all supernatural realms; Faerie, Heaven, Hell, and everything in between, are in the Nevernever). While we are treated to some unpleasant moments with Karrin's suspicions about Harry, I found those moments to be realistic depictions of the very real overzealousness of real life police officers which is seen so much in the news. Karrin's unpleasant side is a great defining moment for her character, and it comes up multiple times. While we don't learn more about it in this book, we are treated to its full force. Given the nature of Karrin's job, it's not unreasonable that she reacts the way she does.

The villains are the weakest link of the book. At this point in the series the addictive nature of black magic isn't fully explored in Butcher's world. Harry's time as a hexenwolf alleviates that somewhat, but up until that point there is little to make the irrational nature of the FBI agents relatable. The Lycanthropes, one note villains at best, were written far better, as their motivations were clearly understood. Harry never really gets to cut loose in the book, constrained as he is by fatigue wounds and sporadic loss of equipment. When he throws the Loup-Garou through the police station, it's a jarring reveal of how powerful he really is. However it does set us up for the firestorms he unleashes in Grave Peril. It is one of the weaker books in the series, but I can't say it's bad. Oh, and the audio version read by James Marsters makes up for any shoddiness with the excellent narration.
Shaz Taslimi
35. shaztaz
The sole reason I mentioned Outsiders is due to the reference to the seventh law which I think we all agree doesn't apply. It is of course quite clear that Dresden would never summon up Chauncy again after the way the encounter ended. This is the very first reference we get to the rest of Dresden's family. However, I don't think we really get an idea of Dresden himself being particularly special until Martha Liberty says something along the lines of "you know what he was meant to be" in the beginning of SK. This is completely from memory so pardon me if I'm getting it wrong.

I always found the scene with Chauncy memorable and significant and find it odd that it's never even referred to again afterwards. It's a bit like Dresden knew, theoretically, that whistling up a being of Chauncy's level was dangerous, but he only feels it to the core of him after Chauncy almost lures him into giving away his entire name. He seems to have a better appreciation of it and realizes he had underestimated chauncy, tricked by the civilized face he'd put on. I reckon this influences his later choices for sources of information, maybe makes it even more alluring to invest in his own personal pixie network. By the way, I love the 'Za Guard.

Still, I just always wonder when/if we'll hear more about Dresden's father.
Rajan Khanna
36. rajanyk
@33 LazerWulf - Side Jobs will be covered. Rather than break it up I figured I would just cover it after Changes since the last story takes place then. And that is how I ended up reading it and I expect how many people did. But it may be broken out into two or more posts depending on how unwieldy it gets.
ikilledasmodean
37. Kasika
This might be the only Dresden files book were the sum of the parts is not greater than the whole thing.

I remeber when reading this book thinking a werewolf is a werewolf, but then they have to go out and through several different ones at us. I even had fun finding out that they weren't made up by Butcher, but all had other litereary and historical origin outside the series. While I though that was great for the audience's imagination, it dragged down the plot. It is like having a movie that is 30 min too long. Everything was good, just not all of it had to be there. Butcher has learned better now.

This book does have one of the best fights in the series too. The Loup- Garou fight in Chicago PD, was one of those fights that helped show the promise the series had. sure it made you expect more from the ending, but it was still an awesome sequence.
ikilledasmodean
38. Garbonzo Bean
Lazerwulf@19 : in reference to the two world titles, I remember reading an explanation from JB somewhere that using two words of equal length was an accidental pattern noticed when Fool Moon's cover was designed and he ran with it. Changes was an intentional departure due to the subject matter. I wish I could remember exactly where I read this so that I could refence it here. However, I find it very appropriate for that book.
ikilledasmodean
39. TimWarp
The first time I read this book, I didn't care for it, because I was so worried about Harry never catching a break! It seemed he was always so tired, hungry, beat-up, broke, untrusted...now, when I listen to it in the car, I'm amazed at how many threads Jim Butcher was setting up for us, some of which took YEARS to begin to follow.
lynn williams
40. sfobsidian
I enjoyed Fool Moon. A lot. I kinda have a thing for wolves, so perhaps that added to the appeal for me. I could hardly wait for Harry to conduct his research for Murphy as I was intrigued by the 'multiplicity' of werewolves. The scene where Harry blows the loup garou thru several wall of brick buildings was awesome! As for the above mentioned weakesses of plot, characters and story....hey, it's all Dresden, and its all good!
lynn williams
41. sfobsidian
Something that I find kinda odd. My brain did not read 'Nevernever'. It always read 'Nevermore' It wasn't until discussing the series with my son and I asked him why he kept calling it the Nevernever (I was even a bit disgusted with him for getting it wrong!) I didnt believe him, and had to look for it. And I found it, to go show him, I had to look twice before I saw that he was right. I still see Nevermore most of the time.

I believe that in one of the books there is an EA Poe reference, but not early enough for me to make the mistake right from the get go.

Anyone else do that?
ikilledasmodean
42. Wordwizard
I guess I'm unlike anyone else in that I ENJOY chunks of explanatory material. They are often my favorite part of a SF story, although with the DFs, there is plenty more to enjoy.
Matt Stoumbaugh
43. LazerWulf
Wordwizard@42: No, I'm like that, too. SF/F worldbuilding, by its very nature, requires a lot of exposition.

And, hey, at least it's not 40 pages about how to tie a knot. (I'm looking at you, Melville...)
ikilledasmodean
44. Dasinterwebs
I didn't like this one too much either, but it seems, for the reasons that everyone else DID like it.

I really didn't like the Loup Garou fight in the police station. It was a well written peice of action and certainly had me flipping pages, but it's importance seems to have been glossed over. Lots of people died, and a whole lot more saw what did it. What's more, those who didn't get to see the carnage first hand would still have seen bodies that were clearly mauled by something (Special Investigations officers are used to this, but internal affairs? the Coroner?) as well as the shattered bricks and bent steel. So... how the heck didn't this one make all the papers? '15 Police Officers, two prisoners killed by beast, tonight at 11.' Add to that the cataclismic blast of evocation Harry throws down in full few of a half dozen officers, how could anyone in authority possibly hand wave this one as a weather balloon or some such nonsense?

I didn't have too much of a problem with the exposition, because it made sense in the context of the story. Harry doesnt know jack about werewolfs, or any shape changer for that matter, and Bob's explanation fixes that, informs the reader, and lets the reader know how important Bob is as a source for information.

One thing I did really hate was the dialogue. Butcher is oddly formal or just plain odd in his choice of words and phrases for most of his characters. Every now and then it comes out again (whenever Charity Carpenter opens her mouth), but it seems like this problem was heavy in StF and FM. I think that including Faeries gave Butcher a much needed outlet for his flowery languague urges.

Someone breifly mentioned the FBI agents going mental, but no one mentioned that John Marcone was right there when all sorts of odd behievior was exhibited: the Female agent rubbed all over Denton; the Fat one (I really only remember Denton's name) had his shirt off and his wolf belt was clearly visible; the New Kid was clearly jonesing for something. And Marcone didnt think any of this was the least bit odd?

At the time I read it, I liked the Street Wolves better than any other group introduced, including the Alphas. Everyone's favorite teen wolves get better as the series progressed, but just looking at this book alone the Alpha's feel shoehorned into the plot. They have poor motivation, little character depth, and are generally cheesey. Contrast them with a figure like the leader of the Street Wolves: savage, powerful, smart, but slowly loosing his grip on a band of super human psychopaths. His motivation for attacking Dresden, his abilities, and just his shear presence made him the most memorable character in the book (to me at least).

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