I shall definately buy no. 3 as i am a fan of Dresden but with a big BUT! I love feisty women in books, films whatever. Now Murphy I am afraid I just don't like. She continues to ask Dresden for help then blames him, amd is completely unsuportive and keeps arresting him. So hope she is not in all the books.
It's official! Jim Butcher has a hit series on his hands. Fool Moon, the much anticipated second book in the Dresden Files series, does more than live up to fans' expectations: It exceeds them. This book rocks, fulfilling the lofty precedent set in Storm Front for fast paced action, witty dialogue, a riveting plotline, compelling characters and, most of all, it's endearing protagonist: Harry Dresden, a wisecracking gumshoe wizard with a heart of gold and just enough of a dark side to keep things real. Fool Moon returns to the alternate-reality version of modern day Chicago as introduced in book one, an unsettling yet exciting world of both everyday familiarity and film-noir style fantasy where chaos results when paranormal forces interact with a mostly disbelieving humanity. It's this disbelief that keeps business in a slump for Harry, the windy city's only professional wizard. Thankfully Lt. Karrin Murphy, head of the Chicago Police's Special Investigations unit, has experienced enough weirdness on Chi Town's mean streets to know that the paranormal threat is very real. Determined to save lives at all costs and faced with having to solve crimes that go beyond the scope of forensic science, Murphy usually turns to Harry for help. But in Fool Moon Harry discovers that Murphy is forced to risk her badge to bring him in on a murder investigation after an editorial in a local paper criticizes her use of public funds to hire a "charlatan psychic" and Internal Affairs begins probing into her suspected connection to the Chicago Mob through her past involvement with Harry. Time is running out. Evidence found following a series of gruesome murders leads Harry to believe that a pack of werewolves is on the rampage in the city and with only a few nights of bright moonlight left, the wizard is in a race against the clock to put an end to the slaughter or lose the trail until the next full moon. Fool Moon is solid entertainment that leaves readers with that all-too-rare sense of deep satisfaction that comes from getting your moneys worth. New readers will discover the thrill of riding shotgun with Harry and returning fans will enjoy the hints scattered throughout the novel that unearth more of Harry's rebel past, in particular a closer look at the events that lead to the Doom of Damocles, a form of probation placed on him by the White Council who oversee the ethical use of magic in the world of the mundane. I look forward with great anticipation to the next book in the series, and to watching Jim Butcher become a household name in fantasy fiction.
I like these stories, but Dresden himself annoys me. It's the sexism, there's no getting around that. It manifests in two ways.
Dresden thinks he's an old-fashioned guy who likes to save damsels in distress, which is true, except that they're frequently the ones saving him. (No judgement, Lancelot was the same way. Mind you, he's a bit useless, so...) Harry doesn't seem to realise their competence is the reason he's still alive. That wouldn't be too much of a problem if he didn't seem proud of it, but he readily admits, "Yeah, I'm a bit old-fashioned and chauvinist, so what?" It's like, no, dude, that's not something to be proud of.
And it isn't chivalry to underestimate the women around you and try to stop them doing their jobs because you think they're in danger. Chivalry is being a rich medieval bloke who owns a horse. Wait, I'm getting literal again. Anyway. This kind of sexism is not that much of an issue although it's annoying and condescending and completely illogical given that they keep saving him -- it's the second type that bugs me.
The way he stares at boobs every time they're present is what really annoys me. He's just so focused on breasts. In a story about werewolves you get a fair few naked people, more than you normally do in fantasy beyond the GoT type, which means this came up a lot, and dude, it got boring. Boobs are not that interesting, and it's weird to stare at them in that situation. It's gross and sexualising and horrible. Look, I like girls, okay? But I've spent years in changing rooms with them (I do ballet! People are always seminaked backstage of dance shows!) and I can control myself enough not to stare at them when they happen to be barely clothed in a totally non-sexual way. Nudity doesn't have to be sexual. You don't have to treat it like it is. Just because someone's got their boobs out, doesn't mean you need to start thinking about them instead of not dying or whatever you're meant to be thinking about. Do us all a favour and get over it, will you? They're naked because three seconds ago they were a different species, not so that you can enjoy the mammary glands their genes happened to give them.
So yeah. The sexism of Dresden's narration really got in the way of me enjoying this as much as I would otherwise have done. Because hey, werewolves, yay. More excitingly, a werewolf descended from an Irish guy cursed by St Patrick, who is called MacFinn -- I mean, my nerdjoy was endless. I could talk for ages on werewolves and diberg and the Fianna as an ancient motorcycle gang, I really could. I can ramble about Patrick being a dick to Oisin and the others until the cows come home. But unfortunately, that was all overshadowed by wanting to punch Dresden in his misogynistic face.
Please tell me he gets over it in future books. Otherwise I might have to stick to Peter Grant and Alex Verus, who fulfil my magical crime interests without such a heavy dose of sexism.
The second book of The Dresden Files starts with Harry Dresden on a diet of ramin noodles, so broke he has to look up to see the bottom. Then, a strange spell on a sheet of paper and a curious student tempt him with a steak dinner. The action goes a fast pace from there on. Trouble comes, not only from biker gangs and mobsters, but from mysterious wolves that are not wolves. Murders come fast and furious and when Murphy's cut out of the loop, she does her best to put Harry in jail. Then, as if things weren't bad enough, the FBI jumps into the madhouse with both feet. Maybe Harry says it best. 'A mangled corpse in the middle of a blood-drenched floor. Berserk FBI field agents drawing guns and shooting to kill. A little kung-fu, a little John Wayne, and a few casual threats. It was just one more night on the job.' Are the Good Guys good or bad? Are the Bad Guys good? The twists and turns of this plot will keep you guessing right up until the very end. Just one warning, don't start it too close to bedtime. You can't put this book down.
The second book in the Dresden Files follows Chicago's only wizard detective as he investigates some suspicious wolf-like attacks. Like the first book, the narrative is quite informal first-person, which I find takes a while to get used to compared to the more formal tone taken by most novels.
The plot is strong and builds tension throughout, although I often found my mind had wandered slightly and events had overtaken me - I had to turn back a page to get back on track. The narrative is enriched by occasional hints of things to come and backstory which is drop-fed without much explanation, teasing future books in the series.
I felt as I read though that I couldn't detect much in the way of direction to the story and was just going along for the ride rather than being guided through events. Other than Dresden himself, the characters are more bluntly mysterious than ever deep, and I found that sightly frustrating, though it may be designed as an artefact of seeing the world through the wizard's eyes.
Over all, I feel the same about this book as I did the first entry - I'm still not convinced that the series is going to keep my attention throughout, but I'm also not ready to abandon it by any means. I look forward to reading more and hope it starts to really grip me in the next book.