Cold Days (The Dresden Files, Book 14) Audio CD – 27 December 2012
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About the Author
Jim Butcher is a martial arts enthusiast whose résumé includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago. He turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and the Cinder Spires novels.
- Publisher : Recorded Books, Inc.; Unabridged edition (27 December 2012)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1664620885
- ISBN-13 : 978-1664620889
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1. They are now pretty much critic proof. Jim Butcher has got the formula pretty much perfected, so if you're already a fan of Harry and his world you'll almost certainly enjoy the next volume, whatever Amazon reviewers or other critics might say. You might enjoy some marginally more than others, but overall if you liked all the previous books you'll like this one too.
2. The 'Dresden Files' sub-title really makes no sense any more. The books are now so far beyond their fantasy private-detective origins that I can barely remember the days when Harry was working out of a shabby office in down town Chicago.
'A Dresden Epic' would probably be a better sub-title now, because that's what they've become. Ghost Story: A Dresden Files novel was a bit of a return to smaller scale story-telling, but Cold Days ramps up the scale once again. If Ghost Story was a chance to pause and reflect after the destruction of the Red Court and the end of the vampire/wizard war, then Cold Days marks the start of an entirely new phase in the Dresden series; one where the stakes are even higher than before.
Butcher reveals this fact with a truly epic scene in the Never-Never, which expands the reader's understanding of the wider universe and makes him or her realise that all the books prior to this have only uncovered a tiny part of the bigger picture. Its a great way to expand the Dresden universe and send the series off in a brand-new direction. In fact the whole book seems to be setting up new plot threads and dynamics, but Jim Butcher is skill-full enough by now to weave all the developments into a satisfying and compelling story.
If I have a complaint about Cold Days its that the finale does become a slightly overblown affair that risks veering towards the ridiculous, with characters undertaking feats that are almost superhuman at times. It doesn't quite trip over that line but it does come close.
I would also say that, as the Dresden universe expands and focuses less on Chicago and the 'real world' and more on the Never Never, the series also risks losing the human scale that grounded it and made it so compelling. Wars against creatures from parallel dimensions are all very well, but a bit more pounding the pavements of the Windy City, uncovering supernatural crimes, and fewer massed battles wouldn't go amiss. May be then calling the series 'The Dresden Files' wouldn't seem quite as ridiculous.
This book is worth every bit of the 5 stars I've given, but if I was marking out of 10, I'd probably knock half a mark off for a very specific reason. Jim Butcher is fantastic at writing the Dresdent set piece stories - he's got it down to a charm, with the non-stop action, 24 hour deadlines, new characters, old characters, and the amazing epic showdowns. And he manages, extremely well, to develop the characters and to let us get to know them in the course of each story. But I'm missing some familiar aspects of Harry's pre-CD world - the apartment, the Blue Beetle, Mister the cat, things that gave the action a grounding in some sort of every day reality, as did some of the shorter stories in "Side Jobs". Of course Harry always ends up in some even more epic battle at the end of each book, but I enjoy the more mundane stuff as well and hope we get a bit more of a mix in the next books.
As with every Dresden book, the second time of reading is always my favourite! There are so many details and I always miss loads of them first time round. Some of the most important plot developments happen in the course of a couple of sentences, easily missed, and I'm sure I'll find even more when I read the book again. Can't recommend this series of books enough!
The plot is a direct continuation from Ghost Story, as Harry wakes as the Winter Knight. Regular readers will expect him to rapidly face off against the Big Bad, come off worst, fight a series of running battles becoming progressively more tired and injured and finally triumph in a spectacular conflict.
Unsurprisingly, this happens.
What will thrill diehard fans is that we - finally - get an explanation for what happen in Arctis Tor all those years ago. And it was worth the wait, creating an overarching mythos that ties the plots of all of the early books together in a way that almost seems planned. This alone makes the book worthwhile, but there are many trademark geek references (including Grimtooth's Traps!) and what must count as the best use of a Queen song in modern fantasy.
Cold Days misses out on 5 stars because of the repeated explanations (we get it, magic doen't work well over water, shut up about it now...) but is still a must read for Dresden fans everywhere.
And if you are not a Dresden fan, go and read book 1 asap.
Jim Butcher has woven a complex fantasy world that I do prefer to the lightweight Potter stories (which are not well written). I believe that the Dresden TV series flopped but I see why it would be very difficult to create on film....it's visuals are monster fights without the trappings of pretty symbols and stunning backdrops to name the more obvious. Having said that, the Dresden Files are a good read....although I do hope that we will return to Dresden's Chicago reality sometime soon.
The cast of supporting characters is much more interesting and enjoyable than the monster battles and huge injuries Harry suffers.
Jim Butcher is a clever story teller, writes well and is developing new books like chapters, always fast paced but too heavily weighted with improbable monsters and magic folk.
Harry Dresden's often flippant cheap wit is irritating and does not strike quite the right chord, and one wonders when he will learn a little diplomacy and grow up a tad.
If you like fantasy then read well written fantasy and this is in that category.