Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Cold Days, by Jim Butcher
Obligatory Warning: Dear and gentle readers. As you probably know by this point, it's basically impossible to review this book intelligently without revealing spoilers. If you wish to avoid such things please avoid the rest of the review now. If you've already read the book or don't care, please continue. Thank you for your patience.
So, Dresden's back from the dead. Perhaps not well but definitely alive and in service to Mab as the Winter Knight. Dresden starts off going through rehabilitation therapy from hell as Mab tries to kill him dozens of different ways. As a result Harry ends up all the more paranoid and stronger than ever. Finally Harry is introduced to the Winter Court and Mab gives Harry his first official mission as the Winter Knight: kill Maeve, the Winter Lady.
Needless to say this is a pretty tall order for Harry. Not only is Maeve an order of magnitude far more powerful than him, but as an immortal it's not even certain Harry can kill her. To make it even more complicated, Harry doesn't know why Mab wants Harry to kill Maeve, which he finds just as unsettling. As always with fairies, despite them being creatures unable to lie nothing is ever straightforward. Oh, and then there's the issue of the island of Demonreach possibly exploding in the very near future unless Harry does something about it. So as usual there's absolutely no pressure or time limit whatsoever.
Honestly, this book is a lot like the others in the general outline. There's a problem. Harry has a limited amount of time to solve the problem. Ass gets kicked, magic gets done, and problem is eventually solved. I think what I liked most about this book was seeing how far Harry's advanced power-wise just by becoming the Winter Knight. He has the resources of the Winter Court at his disposal, and Toot-toot and the Za Lord's Guard have become formidable allies for Harry. Plus, Harry's allies like Molly, Murphy, and Thomas have gone up in power level as well. These guys definitely feel like they're the A-team when it comes to taking care of magical business threatening Chicago.
And I think that's what's most powerful about this series is we've seen Harry grow. At least, power-wise anyways. He's still pretty stubbornly stupid, refusing to bring his allies in until he realizes they'd get involved anyway so he should have asked for their help in the first place. But it definitely feels like we're operating on an entirely more powerful level than we were before.
Another thing I like is that we're finally getting to see the people who were behind all the bad things going on. We finally learn a lot more about the Outsiders who...really just hate reality. That seems to be their main motivation. And they've taken the brute force approach of attacking reality from the outside, but the forces of Winter are keeping them at bay. So the Outsiders have had to use other, subtler methods to try and worm their way into reality, which is what most of the world-ending events Harry has been preventing have been. Well, at least a significant percentage of them.
Honestly, this book, like so many of the others, is more of the same but at a much higher power level. If you're a fan of Dresden, I don't think you'll have anything to complain about in this book, and if you're not a fan you probably haven't made it this far in the series anyway.