Monday, July 21, 2014

Dresden Files: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden's case files continue in Fool Moon, the second book of the Dresden Files series written by Jim Butcher. The idea is that Harry is a modern day wizard who is drawn into conflict because of his consulting job working for the police on matters that are 'supernatural' in nature.

Jim Butcher's prose flows easily and the use of first person narration makes the reading quick and easy. Those looking for depth and multiple layers of story might be a little disappointed, but in terms of popcorn fiction, I found it fast and easy to digest.

One of the things that Jim really knows how to do, is put the odds against Harry. +John Wick wrote a series of articles that was compiled into a book called Play Dirty. In it, one of the things John puts forward is that beating the hero to the point of death and allowing them to pull out all the stops to achieve victory, is what makes a good role playing game, or story worth becoming involved in. John' primary example in that is the good old movie Die Hard where our hero suffers beating upon beating but manages to claim victory at the end.

Fool Moon also continues to build the world of Dresden. The author lays out several seeds for future books with a casual mention here and a casual mention there. We get more information on the world in general and a lot of ideas on how werewolves work. There are several varieties of the creature presented here and the authors puts all the versions through the paces. In that aspect, it reminded me very much of a role playing game in which the end effect may be reached through several different means.

The fact that there are different versions, also helps explain why so many of the myths may appear to be wrong from one perspective. Those viking berserkers who have an animal spirit in them may be one type of animal soul, but the person whose invulnerable to everything but silver? That's an entirely different type of beast. Makes you want to think more about the different aspects of monster creation.

Mind you, as a Chicago native, I'm still not 'feeling' it so to speak. It may be that these are character focused novels with a relatively small cast, but I also don't get the modern feel of the city. With all of the speed cameras, camera lights, and other bits of surveilance and technology around, it's hard to believe how frequently Harry throws about 'big' magic without it becoming huge news. This problem continues in future volumes I see and its strains things a bit.

I'm also not 'getting' where Harry lives where he has a two story apartment but most of the people he deals with aren't people that would live in the type of area that Harry could afford. He's kind of semi-imposed against some generic city with no Mayor or named politicians. Still, can't blame Jim for that too much as having too many real world details can bog down the writing and Chicago, like many modern cities, is always in a state of transformation with one neighborhood becoming slum like and others rising to renovation and removal of 'undesirables'.

Like other works by Jim in the series, the book is available in a variety of formats and is a quick read for those wanting 'modern' magic.

For those who've played the Fate Game, are there any bits that you're stealing from the books or just going with information from the books themselves? I'm tempted a bit, but it's a two book series and even with the dreaded Amazon discount it's still over $40 bones. What's worse as I'm prepping some material for a Champions aka Hero 6th edition Sci-Fi campaign, I know that I'm not going to be using it for a long time.

Too many ideas, not enough time.