Dresden is BACK! Not that I was worried, but after the disappointing Ghost Days (#13), I was eager to reconnect with the Harry I knew.
Cold Days is the 14th (yes, that’s right) novel in an impressively long series — impressive because I’m still eager for more! This series doesn’t stagnate. With each new book, Harry changes. It’s not just that he faces tougher bad guys (although he does), it’s that the personal cost is high, and never more so than in this latest volume.
Harry is the winter knight. The mantle of winter is dark, predatory, and primitive, and it wants Harry to do things that he normally wouldn’t do. His thought processes changed subtly in this book as he took on the mantle, and as a result this wasn’t as light/witty a read as usual. There was still some humor, but not like before. This was darker.
The beginning was a little bit slow, although entirely necessary. Once it got revved up, though, it moved as quickly as any of the other books — forcing Dresden to work against a goal that puts the “dead” in deadline.
I highly recommend this book to Dresden fans, and I highly recommend the series to fantasy fans. (Start with book 3, the first 2 are meh.) That said, this was not my favorite in the series. I wasn’t disappointed per se (come on, I did give it 4 stars), but I’ve liked others better. If I had to point to one problem, I’d say it’s increasingly Karen Murphy. I never loved her as a character — she annoyed the heck out of me in the first couple of books (did I mention you should skip those?) and though I started warming to her, I’m going back the other way. She’s not making sense to me as a character any longer. She’s going up against these uber bad-guys without anything of particular note. I can believe that she’s a tough cookie and good with a gun, but I’m having trouble buying that she’s anywhere close to the same league as these super beings. Also, I’m struggling with her age. She had to have been close to 30 in the first book, and given that each one takes place at least a year later, she’s got to be in her mid-forties by now. As a normal human being, she’s past her physical prime. Plus, the (very minor) romance with her missed its moment about 6 books ago. It’s too late. I’m past it, and they need to be too.
But mostly, good book! It is impressive that after 14 books in a series, I am still very much game for more.
Title: Cold Days
Author: Jim Butcher
Published November 27th 2012