Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Cold Days coverHarry’s back. Back from the not-quite-dead, and back from Fairie. He’s not the same Harry he was when he died; he’s still a wizard, but now he wears the mantle of Queen Mab’s Winter Knight too, and he must fight the dark, violent and domineering tendencies of the Winter Knight’s mantle in order to save Chicago, and ultimately, the world.

Cold Days was absolutely spectacular. I can’t believe I almost put the Dresden Files down forever after Changes (which I thought was fairly awful). Cold Days reminded me of every reason I loved Harry Dresden and his friends from the very beginning of the series, including the wit, conflicting emotions, crazy antics, and powerful magic. Several of Harry’s friends and allies show up in this novel, including this brother Thomas, drop-dead gorgeous White Court vampire, and his apprentice wizard and daughter of his best friend, Molly Carpenter.  The polka-loving medical examiner Butters gets a cameo, and Mouse the giant Temple dog gets some action as well. And of course Karrin. It was fun to see Harry interacting with the characters we know and love again, something that was missing from Changes.

We also get to see much more of Faerie in this novel, and Butcher does a lot of world building in that area. We become intimately acquainted with Mab, queen of the Winter Court, and the inner-workings of the Fae. It’s amazing that after twelve books there’s still more for us to learn about Harry Dresden’s world–and more for Harry to learn as well! As usual, Harry has plenty of internal conflict in this novel, trying to do the right thing, or at least the less wrong thing, and remain a good person while he’s at it. We get to visit Harry’s island Demonreach often in this novel, a place Harry first discovered a few books ago, and which has become more and more interesting every time Harry visits.

I love Butcher’s use of humor and pop culture in his novels. Harry has such a dry sense of humor. There’s some laugh out loud funny lines, but also philosophical lines that make you think. (It’s not from this book, but one of my favorite “Harry Dresden” quotes is “Time is a river. Life is a journey. The door is ajar.”) All that said I’m really glad I didn’t give up on Harry Dresden and I picked up this book. In fact, I had so much faith in this book (anything had to be better than Changes), I “adopted” it for my local library.Totally worth it. Can the next one be published immediately please?

Favorite quote: “Sometimes it isn’t easy to be sane, smart and responsible. Sometimes it sucks. Sucks wang. Camel wang. But that doesn’t turn wrong into right or stupid into smart.”

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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