I had people who warned me against Fool Moon. The chief of police, the mayor, the innocuous millionaire who kept showing up at surprising times. “Stay away from this one,” my close friends and colleagues said to me, “this one is nothing but trouble.” But I’m always sucked back in by books whose covers go all the way down to there and whose perfume reeks of low-grade binding glue.
Or is low-grade binding glue.
If you know what I mean.
Fool Moon is about running a small business in a big city. Harry, after successfully solving his last case has fallen on hard times. Chicago P.D doesn’t need consultants any more. Not until people start getting MURDERED. As you may have guessed, these murders coincide with full moons. Normal human beings show up to tell Harry that they don’t like him or they don’t trust him or that his severe injuries would be twice as bad if they were allowed to beat wizards up. The plot advances as Harry runs into many types of werewolves.
A business-wizard who can only cast 3 spells a week and make 2 potions at a time represents a huge threat to the werewolf way of life.
It’s worth saying that Fool Moon is better than Storm Front on a technical level. Plot points are incorporated neatly into the storyline. The action develops and twists in surprising ways. The werewolves are scary at times. (Can we all agree that werewolves with shotguns are scarier than vampires with shotguns?) But the weakest point of the book remains Harry.
Let’s talk about Harry; I’m worried about him. He’s got a bad case of the backdoor bragging, “Sometimes I hate having a conscience, and a stupidly thorough sense of honor,” and a firm belief that women should be protected by remaining ignorant in the work place. Those are annoying traits, but they aren’t the real problem. The real problem is that Harry is a shitty wizard and expects us to sympathize with the fact he is a shitty wizard.
Looking through Fool’s Moon, I don’t know what Harry the Wizard actually did. He got beat up, certainly. He was directly responsible for the injuries and deaths of some of his friends and allies. Time and time again he used his powers to run away after being threatened or beaten. I was told time and time again that this series is awesome. Why? What about Harry should the reader like? His unwillingness to take action or inability to do good?
I don’t mind flawed characters. That’s how you create conflict. Flaws prevent people from attaining their goals; the essence of drama. The author, Jim Butcher, has made Harry Dresden passive. People antagonize Harry literally because he shows up to solve crimes. Instead of performing basic glamour charms, or summoning familiars, or demonstrating his mastery of the elements, he essentially responds, “you wouldn’t believe me if I showed you.”
Well I wanted to believe. Now I know I’d be a fool to care.