Monday, January 7, 2013

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 newfound powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…His soul.


This might be a review I should save until my feelings are sorted out, but, guys, I have no idea when that will be. I love Harry Dresden - I love this series and the characters and the incredibly intricate world that Butcher has created but with this installment I say without shame that my heart hurt for pretty much everyone involved. 

Readers knew by the end of Ghost Story that things were not as they appeared, that Mab had kept Harry alive to fulfill the bargain he'd made with her but there's no way I could have predicted the way things turned out. For 2/3 of the book I happily went along with Harry, getting reacquainted with all my favorite characters and reading about him facing the consequences of his choice to attempt suicide-by-assassin. Emotions are ugly, complicated things and possibly the most poignant when when he comes face to face with his brother. Questions of choice, what makes a person a monster, both are hugely important to this installment and Butcher doesn't take the easy way out when contemplating the dark and light places inside each of us.

The heartbreaking part? The end. I can't really get into it without being too spoiler-y (I even had to give a warning during a Twitter convo with a friend) but I just can't believe how this ended. Peoples lives are forever changed and new enemies are revealed with even more grandiose powers and reach than usual. I will say that as much as I tried not to, I couldn't end this book without feeling a little disappointed in Murphy and her decisions. She is well aware that sometimes sh*t happens and I felt like she took the easier road rather than the one that could be more fulfilling.

I don't know what the heck's going to happen in the next book but I may make my friends read it first.

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 11) Turn Coat 12) Changes 13) Ghost Story 14) Cold Days