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REVIEW: 'Cold Days' by Jim Butcher


After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.

He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill.

Guess which Mab wants first?

Of course, it won’t be an ordinary, everyday assassination. Mab wants her newest minion to pull off the impossible: kill an immortal. No problem there, right? And to make matters worse, there exists a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his new-found powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…

His soul.


If you are this deep into reading the Dresden Files with me, then you probably aren't waiting for a review to decide to pick up this book.  If you are new to the series, I would definitely recommend starting at the beginning, though you could probably survive if you missed the first book or two of the series.  Like all the novels in this series so far, Cold Days has its own stand-alone story, but the "bigger story" going on behind the contained one could leave you lost at times if you haven't been reading the previous novels.

I felt the last novel, Ghost Story, was one of the weaker novels of recent years in the series.  It had a different feel to it from what readers have been getting from Dresden, and Jim Butcher had previously warned fans that it would represent a shift in the series.  Cold Days gets Harry Dresden back on track... somewhat.  He heads back to Chicago (after a stint in the Nevernever) and reunites with his friends, even if the group is even more dysfunctional than before his "death."  But it's those manic relationships and the screwball comedy that comes along with them that makes these stories so fun.

Butcher does manage to keep enough of the humor and fun in the story to feel like a Dresden adventure even if the overall saga has shifted to a darker tone.  The series is definitely coming to a head soon and Butcher has done an excellent job building a deeper and richer world from cliche fairytale tropes than I expected.  I always worry about a main character getting too powerful with magical abilities, and Harry's power level seems to be continually growing.  So far Jim Butcher has dealt with it well, but as this saga builds toward its conclusion the stakes and the players are going to be off the charts.


If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, Dresden Files is practically required reading.  If you are looking to dip your toe into the genre, this series is definitely a good place to start.


Cover & Synopsis for Jim Butcher's next Dresden Files novel: Skin Game
REVIEW: 'Ghost Story' by Jim Butcher
REVIEW: 'Side Jobs' by Jim Butcher
Original 'Dresden Files' Comic from Butcher

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