Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Detective
Where I Got It: Borrowed from my mother
Score: 5 out of 5
So, my mother’s been reading The Dresden Files for a few years (though she’s a few books behind now). Back in 2007, when the tv show came out on Scifi Channel, I watched it, though I hadn’t read the books, and I really liked it. I know some fans of the books don’t much like the tv show, but I really enjoyed it. I like Paul Blackthorne, the stories were fun, and I was sad when it wasn’t renewed for a second season. Still, I knew I needed to read the books eventually, and last winter break I FINALLY got around to reading the first book (which I did not write a review for, sorry). Though I can tell you this, I like almost everything about the book better than the show (especially Karrin Murphy – I have no idea why they changed her so much in the tv show), EXCEPT for Bob. I miss Bob from the tv show. *sigh*
Anyway, I finished book 2 almost two weeks ago (I know, I know, it took me long enough to get around to the review), and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it, though it is far from a new book for most everyone else.
For those who aren’t familiar, The Dresden Files series is about Harry Dresden, a real-life wizard who lives in Chicago and works as a private investigator of a sort. He will find missing people and things, take care of hauntings, etc… but no, he will NOT do love potions. Of course, most people think he’s a crackpot, but Detective Karrin Murphy of Police Special Investigations believes him just enough to often ask for his help on cases that just don’t make conventional sense. There is also the problem of the White Council, a ruling body of wizards with very strict rules about how wizards should behave – who don’t like Harry much. There’s way more, of course, but I won’t go into now.
So, we come to book 2, Fool Moon, which finds Harry helping Karrin to investigate a series of extremely vicious murders that he suspects may be the work of werewolves, while also trying to keep ahead of the FBI, who have come to take over the case, don’t trust Karrin because of her past dealings with Harry, and don’t like Harry much at all. Things get extra complicated in this book, as Karrin and the rest of the police begin to suspect Harry might be behind the murders, at least three different people want Harry dead, and he realizes that there are at least FOUR different kinds of werewolves involved.
What I Liked:
This book is so fast-paced its just ridiculous! I mean, my God, good luck catching your breath on this one! (I’ve just started reading book #3, Grave Peril, and that one looks to be the same way.) I’ve mainly been reading YA so far this summer, this reading a more mature, darker, more fast-paced urban fantasy has been a joy. I love how smart and dark this series is as a whole. Butcher balances the fantasy elements and the detective story elements very well – because The Dresden Files ARE as much detective story as they are fantasy, and it’s obvious that Jim Butcher has a great love for both (and you all should know by now that I love both as well).
This books throws a lot of information at you very quickly, and runs through some pretty intense action scenes very quickly as well, and respects the readers enough to assume you’re going to keep up without having to slow down too much or over explain (though I do actually think there are one or two points where Butcher does over-explain, they are few and not too intrusive).
I did find in the first book of The Dresden Files, Storm Front, that it was obviously a first book. Not to say that Storm Front isn’t a good book, because it is, but it was still obviously a freshman effort, so to speak. I also had to take some time to get used to the first-person narration. While first-person is common in some detective novels, it’s not so common anymore in fantasy, so that threw me off in the first book. However, it is obvious that Butcher’s writing is improving steadily as he dives into Book 2, and I was more prepared for the first-person narration this time around. I suspect each book will be just a bit better than the last.
Of course, I adore the main character, Harry Dresden. While the plot lines are exciting and fun, and all the magic trappings are interesting and well thought-out, the real appeal, the only real reason people continue to read these books, is because of Harry Dresden. He is a fantastic character: intelligent, gritty, sarcastic, chivalrous, very self-aware. He’s self-deprecating, but he also has at least a basic idea of his own worth and skills. He’s often scared, but brave enough to work past it. He’s powerful, but not so powerful that everything comes to easily for him. He’s endearing and sweet, and a hilarious bungler with women. He’s honorable to a fault, despite himself. And all the smart-ass remarks he either says or thinks, are just plain funny.
But, of course, the plot – fast-paced, complicated, filled with dark motives and crazy-strong magic – was awesome too, but it’s hard to talk about without giving too much away, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
What I Didn’t Like:
Actually, I can’t think of much. Again, there are a couple points when I think the narration falls into over-explanation, but that only happens a couple times. And I do think the “wrap-up” chapter at the end is a bit too fast and cut-and-dry and sort of like reading the summarized conclusions of a science paper (okay, that’s a bit mean, but you get my drift). But other than that, this book was pretty damn fantastic.
I have no doubt that many of you are already on board the Dresden Files bandwagon – I was a bit late to this particular party. But still, if you haven’t read any of these books yet, I definitely recommend them. They are an absolute BLAST. Here’s the Goodreads page; and here’s the Amazon page. Have at it!
As I mentioned, I have started reading Book #3 now, but I’m reading 3 books at once right now, and I’m also going on a trip at the end of the week, so it might be awhile before I finish it. I’ll post a review of it whenever I do, though, I promise.
You can expect a review of Disney’s Brave tomorrow or Wednesday. Til then, Bye!