Many fans promise that Butcher only starts to hit his stride as the series continues, but I felt that this fifth book was generally less appealing than its predecessors. The plot was thin, the characters lacklustre and overall I felt it was missing that “so bad it’s good” quality that made the earlier books enjoyable. Also, there were a couple pages where the “adult tone” mentioned in the commendatory cover quote was a little too adult for me.
[Why I read it: sometimes I need a break from the 19th century literature and books on quantum physics.]
I much preferred this plot’s faerie angle to the last book’s vampire theme and, as an added bonus: no love interest. I might have dropped a couple IQ points while reading it, but probably no more than would have evaporated after a couple hours of watching TV sitcoms.
[Why I read it: Partly because the fans promise the series gradually improves, partly because I’m not in the mood for serious literature right now and partly because I’ve come to view the Dresden Files as an old pair of stained sweatpants–not something I’d show off in public, but pretty all right for days of lounging around and eating junk food.]
I had not planned to read any more of the Dresden Files series after finding its first book, Storm Front, to be rather underwhelming. But I changed my mind after coming across a substantial number of comments and forum posts from fans who admitted the shortcomings of the earliest books and provided heartening assurances that the quality does nothing but improve as the series progresses. An unusual claim in this age of mindless sequels, but one that makes sense: if some authors explode onto the scene with First Novels of stunning perfection, many more must follow a flawed first offering with steady growth as a writer. Partly because I thought it would be fun to witness Butcher’s potential maturation as a writer and partly because I find the series’ premise appealing and enjoyed the TV show, I thought it would be fun to check out the second book.
While I did not feel that Fool Moon merited a higher rating of a whole number, it did seem more confident and less cheesy than the first book, even containing a passage or two that made me stop to appreciate a novel, well-communicated idea (all of which bodes well for the rest of the series). I could have happily done without the awkward sex scene and adult content sprinkled throughout in the drab, obligatory way that characterises both the modern novel and the movie desperate for a PG-13 rating. Perhaps that raciness is what characterises a “guilty pleasure” for others, but I would have felt guilty enough for reading a popular paranormal thriller when there is so much “serious” literature piled up by my bed.
A delightful overload of classically cheesy clichés, straight from the detective fiction bible, was the only thing that made this book readable to me. I enjoyed the supernatural take on the whole private eye thing, and Butcher included some imaginative touches, but most of it felt pretty generic. Far more interesting than the plot was the [ultimately unanswered] question “Is Butcher purposefully mocking the detective fiction genre, or does he actually have a bona fide degree, carved in cheese, from the Nancy Drew School of Writing?”
While enjoyable, I don’t really feel any compulsion to read the rest of the books in the series.
[Why I read it: I thought the TV show looked interesting, but my books-before-movies rule required me to first give the books a try.]