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fool moon title

Book Review: Fool Moon, by Jim Butcher

I borrowed an audio copy of Jim Butcher‘s Fool Moon through my local library. I do actually have a paperback copy of the book, but borrowing the audio allowed me to listen while I did other things; multi-tasking to the max.

fool moon

Harry Dresden–Wizard

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work–magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses–and the first two don’t count…

my review

I love urban fantasy. I love to see magic-wielding people slinging power around in modern settings. But I have learned to avoid male wizards. Think Iron Druid, Harry Dresden, Nate Temple, etc. I seem to generally have the same problem with too many of them. As such, I tend to read the first in these series, to test them out, and then abandoned them.

However, I was at the store the other day wearing a shirt that said, “I ❤ books.” The girl at the register commented on it and thus followed an excited conversation about which books I read. (I think she must lack in book-friends, the poor dear.) She strongly recommended Sarah J. Mass and the Dresden Files, promising both series get better the farther into them you go. (As an aside, Throne of Glass is another series I read the first of and never came back to.) But on the strength of fervor alone, I decided to give the second Dresden Files book a chance.

And I will admit that I liked Fool Moon more than Storm Front (which I somehow seem not to have reviewed, but gave 3*).  I liked it more than I liked Hounded (2*), and at least I finished it, which is more than I can say for Obsidian Son (1*).  But I had the same problem with it that I do so many urban fantasies, written about male protagonist, by men. The women. OMG, the women! Or, maybe I should call it the male gaze on the women.

Butcher literally tells the reader how good the legs of the werewolf trying to kill Harry are, as she tries to kill him. This just after she strips off her shirt to shift and he tell us how big her tits are. Just about every single scene with a female in it, regardless of context, includes a comment on her body. It gets so redundant, until I spend half the book anxiously waiting for the next irritant. I don’t care about her erect nipples or how big her tits are in the middle of a fight. I care how big her claws are and if she’s going to use them to gut someone. But really, it’s the needless repetition of it all, like a woman can’t even be mentioned without her body being described in the same manner as the room EVERY SINGLE TIME.

And the honest truth is that Butcher might not be as bad about it as some authors are. But when a reader has been so irritated with the frequency of encountering something that they go into a book or series expecting it and then find it, the level of irritation comes with all the history of the genre. it’s a collective annoyance. And I side-eye every book about male wizards now, especially those written by men.

Beyond the male gaze issue, I didn’t hate it. I liked the rest of the book. I really appreciate that Harry his tough as nails, but still cries and admits to fear. I’m interested in seeing what develops about his ancestry and the mystery surrounding his parents. I think I’ll continue the series. But I can’t see it being a favorite. Credit where credit is due, though, I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up at all, and decided to keep with the series, if it wasn’t for check-out girl.

Quick comment on the narration. James Marsters does a fine job with it, EXCEPT that he audibly swallows constantly.

fool moon jim butcher