A Weekend of Reading

I read two books this past weekend, which cut in to a lot of potential writing time. That said, I do not regret taking my mini reading vacation one bit. Since I’ve become a pseudo-grown-up, I’ve felt like I just never read enough. Besides, the books I’ve been reading (volumes 6 and 7 of the Dresden Files) are very absorbing. I do have to say, though, that I wish Harry Dresden would stop being such a sucker for the dames.

As for the writing… Well, it’s picking up. The manuscript keeps on shrinking, but I’ve decided to write some additional scenes that explore my main character’s background a bit more—and help complicate the plot a bit. The expected time to completion is… well, a long way off, but I’m actually really excited about the new scenes. There were a few weeks when working on the book felt like an uphill slog.

On a slightly related note, I’ve started a tumblr. I’m planning on using it as an electronic commonplace book. It’s someplace where I can start collecting things—pictures, music, quotes—that might be useful for writing projects. A sort of writing scrapbook, except I prefer the history around the term commonplace book.

Reading Notes: Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, #4)Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This isn’t a review, but rather a few notes to myself about the werewolves that appear in this book. The werewolves actually play a relatively minor role, and this post really doesn’t address most of the story. If you’re curious, though, I really like the Dresden Files, and do recommend you read the series.

This particular volume featured the Alphas, the group of werewolves that we first met in Fool Moon (Book 2). Apparently they’ve matured quite a bit and have turned into some pretty good allies for Dresden. The alphas seem to be what Butcher describes as classic werewolves: humans who use a spell to change his body into that of a wolf, but the mind remains human. These werewolves can be hurt and killed the same way as regular wolves. They also can change shape at will. Overall, they seem to be a pretty nice lot. Butcher/Dresden also emphasizes that they’re quite muscular.

Book Source: Free Library of Philadelphia

Book Review: Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2)

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I’ve mentioned before, I got into the Dresden Files books because of the SyFy Channel show. I was worried when I started reading Fool Moon that this book would be similar to the TV show. It turns out that there were some similarities, but nowhere near as many as there were for Storm Front.

For those of you not familiar with the series, it’s about a wizard named Harry Dresden, who is the only openly practicing wizard in Chicago, if not the country. Harry has a rather dark past and a lot of power. So far, the series hasn’t explained why, though it seems to have something to do with his family. His personality is portrayed as sort of a noir detective, which I rather like.

Part of why I wanted to read Fool Moon is because—as I’m sure you’ve guessed—it’s about werewolves. Butcher actually lays out an interesting scenario in which there are four types of werewolves:

  • the classic werewolf: a human who uses a spell to change his body into that of a wolf, but the mind remains human. Can be hurt and killed the same way as regular wolves. There’s a subtype where someone else turns a person into a wolf. Eventually the ensorcelled person loses their humanity.
  • A Hexenwolf: Make a deal with a demon, devil, or sorceror, and use a talisman to turn into a wolf. This seems to let your id run loose, although in a more wolfy way. Eventually you lose your humanity.
  • lycanthropes: A person gets taken over by a spirt. They’re still people on the outside, but wolves on the inside. They’re resistant to pain, injury, and sickness, and heal very quickly.
  • loup-garou: A person who has been cursed to become a wolflike demon at the full moon. They’re super strong and resistant to just about everything. However, they can be killed by weapons made of inherited silver.

It’s an interesting system, and I happen to like it. Dresden, the main character, manages to encounter several of these types. Werewolves are considered a type of theriomorph (a new word for me), meaning anything that shape shifts from a human to an animal.

Fool Moon turned out to be a lot of fun to read, and I’m definitely continuing with the series. I particularly enjoyed some of the humor that Butcher injected into the main character (Harry Dresden), as well as Butcher’s way with detail, which made me wonder if he tested some of these things out himself. If so, I’m impressed (and also intimidated about what that might mean for my writing).

Book Source: Free Library of Philadelphia