Harry Dresden lives!
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 one 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.
©2012 Jim Butcher (P)2012 Penguin Audio
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
This is book 14, so no introduction to the plot or summary of the series so far will either make sense to new readers or be interesting to series regulars. So, instead, it is worth asking, is Cold Days worth reading if you are already a Dresden fan? And, perhaps more importantly, does it give you hope for the continued adventures of Dresden in the future? The answers are both "hell, yes!"
Remember, we are 14 books into a series, one in which hundreds of characters have been introduced, where each book reveals bigger secrets than the last about the universe, and where every potential proverbial shark has been jumped, including the resurrection of the main character. And yet Butcher somehow, against all reason and expectation, keeps writing books that feel as if there is an overarching plot that makes sense, with real character progression, internal consistency, and a vibrant but changing world.
It is worth noting this achievement, since, to my knowledge, no fantasy or science fiction series of this length has ever pulled off a series of such consistent highs, and on a nearly yearly basis! Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin lost steam along the way, Bujold makes each story fairly self-contained, Pratchett switches characters, and most other epic series feel a bit like the TV shows Lost or Twin Peaks - spinning out of the creators control with needless complication and wandering attention. Not the Dresden files! The action is still exciting, the humor still solid, and the characters still engaging. And, as per usual, the stakes get ever higher, while still leaving room for both mystery and future books.
The short version: the book is excellent, and the series an achievement that has managed to transcend its fantasy-noir roots. The only reason not to get it is if you haven't read the first 13.
I read, I write; I listen
Having downloaded the book a few minutes after two in the morning, the day of its release, and taking only a few hours to catch a little sleep, and do that annoying thing called work in between, I just came up for air having spent the best eighteen hours and fifty minutes that I have spent in a long time. Then, taking time only to reacquaint myself with the family again, I couldn’t wait to write this review; Kudos to those reviewers who could transcend time.
Harry’s back and he’s alive again. For those keeping up on the series he had been dead in the last book and only by the help of Mab was he able to come back to the mortal world; but now he belongs to the Queen of Winter as her white knight. Of course, this is Harry and he has every intention of defying her whenever he can.
The story begins in Artic Tor where Harry meets some new “friends,” and begins his rehab; coming back to life is not easy.
After some interesting rehab exercises, orchestrated by Mab, Harry almost feels like his old self again and then receives a surprise birthday party, thrown by some of his new winter court friends.
Having survived his birthday party Harry receives his first assignment as the new white knight.
In order to complete his assignment, and keep his island Demonreach from exploding and taking half of Chicago with it, Harry seeks out his old companions; Bob, the skull, His half-brother Thomas, Molly his apprentice, and the pizza loving faeire general Toot-Toot, to name a few.
This was a great listening experience; Jim Butcher writes a superb story and the narrator, James Marsters, is Harry Dresden and gives a fantastic performance.
Others here have written stellar reviews and I won't try to duplicate. I just want to say WOW. I just finished the book because I decided to start the series over and hold the new book out like the last morsel of some incredibly rare treat. So I've been totally immersed in Dresden's world for awhile now and I'm feeling a little bereft. I can't wait for the next book! I listened to this series more often than anything else I've ever owned and they just don't get old.
I absolutely HATED the book where Harry was dead. I didn't hate the book as a book, I mean it is a well-written piece of fiction by one of my absolute favorite authors, I mean I just hated Harry being dead! In retrospect I think it is perfect that the other guy did the narration for it. So now when we hear his voice well, it's because Harry is dead! I hope that poor guy gets work on other books that aren't quite as well established because he has talent and didn't deserve the thrashing he got here... but thank you James Marsters for coming back to life along with Harry!
My admiration for Jim Butcher has only increased with this installment. As others have noted, most series are losing steam and direction by book 14 but it seems that Mr. Butcher has lots left for our wizard. It must be so incredibly satisfying to be the creator of such a body of work and have such a loyal following. Good for you Mr. Butcher! Thank you.
I have to put a plug in here for his Codex Alera series too. Even if you're not a huge high fantasy fan these are worth a listen. Same high quality writing and character development.
First, the story was incredible. Second, Marsters is THE VOICE for Harry Dresden, period. Butcher's style is fluid, shifting beautifully from action to dialogue to narrative introspection. Jim, I started reading the Dresden Files when the very first one was published. I've re-read them many, many times and have gone back even to listen to them all on audible. Thank you for investing so much into this story, making it more and more incredible with each new installment.
You might disagree, but Cold Days reminds me some of the Roger Zelazny series (let's just go with the anthology titled "The Great Book of Amber".) Cold Days is perhaps an evolution of Urban Fantasy and flirts many times with the idea of a higher fantasy mentality where as "The Great Book of Amber" was more of a high fantasy flirting with concepts of urban fantasy.
Marsters has depth for Harry's feelings and those around him. Butcher developed very deep and intricate events around equal parts dialogue, action and narrative perspective. Marsters transitions between all the elements that drive a Dresden novel rather seamlessly. After hearing Marsters's stellar performance on Book 14 after such a disappointing absence for Book 13, it's clear that he is the voice of the Dresden Files.
Yes. I'm not talking about it though.
Cold Days is different than the previous 13, in that there is a lot less censorship. Lot of F-bombs and more graphic sexual descriptions. I don't say these are negatives. None of it was gratuitous, but they do stand out and they give this installment of the Dresden Files a different vibe. Book 14 was rated R to me, where the other 13 were more PG-13. Again, this is not a complaint. Some people like to know these things, so I figure it's a worthy additional comment.
While I'm not sure "Enthralled" is the best title for a story featuring so many supernatural elements, I was enthralled. It was hard to stop listening to do things that others seem to think are necessary, like eat, sleep and work. I listened during my commute and any other minute I could squeeze in.
James Marsters, the narrator, does an excellent, nay - amazing - job of binging the characters to life. When I hear his voice, I know which character he is portraying. He delights!
If you're not already a fan of Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files" this is not the place to start. There have been 13 previous books that led to this book. While you don't have to read all the stories before you get to this one, it does help.
If you're a fan, the story is an excellent extension of a long arc that has been building since we met Harry's Godmother and the Faery. There is so much character development and such great plot twists that I was carried along wishing that James Marsters could read a little faster... and knowing if he did that the story would end too soon. And after something like 14 hours, the story still ended too soon.
I am left counting the hours until the next book is released. Why? I could tell you, but that would be a spoiler, and I don't want to spoil this book for anyone.
For those of you, like myself, that found Ghost Story a little lacking - Cold Days not only kicks the storyline up 3 notches, we finally see Harry back in his element. I can't enumerate the number of times that I was agog and aghast at the events unfurling and even now I've finished it I'm still stunned!
James Marsters IS Harry Dresden. No doubt in my mind and I hope that he continues narrating the series until its conclusion.
Thank you Jim Butcher for writing what I consider one of the best Urban Fantasy series in print at the moment.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
It is classic Dresden. Attitude, danger and fun. Good to see Jim Butcher getting back into his stride after the last few books in the series being less than stellar.
Hard to do without spoilers. How the end of the book turns out. Quite the twist towards the end.
Lots of favorites, but I really like when he told Mauve off towards the beginning of the story
Dresden. Ice cold.
Great story. Glad to see the series is back. Still even though the last 2 books in the series were lackluster, Jim Butchers mediocre is better than most authors best. Read the book already.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
Welcome back James Marsters!
Not only is Marsters great, he IS Harry Dresden. 'Nough said about that.
I don't know of any author but Jim Butcher who can pen a 14-novel series and never make you feel that he is just churning-out another block of words for a paycheck. If anything, he gets better. 'Days' has all of the action and humor that we expect Jim, Harry, and James to deliver. I can't wait for the next installment.
OK, so, a lot of Dresden fans that I know were disappointed in Ghost Story. An overlapping subset were disappointed in the lack of James Marsters narration in Ghost Story. In this book, both Harry and James are back in full form.
Harry Dresden is Harry Dresden, right down to the overprotecting his friends who don't need it and too dense to see what's in front of him. This book has action, combat, frenetic running in the wrong direction, little bit of romance...All the best things about this series. We also get some backstory on a couple of major characters in the series who have looked like minor characters up to now. Things are going to get really interesting for poor, tired, Harry now..... but who needs sleep anyway, right?
The narration is spot-on, just what we've come to expect in the first twelve books. Butcher's writing remains superb, and I love that in Harry's pop-culture references (always scattered through the books) he's finally worked in an homage to Terry Pratchett. Thank You, Jim!
While I didn't mind the last narrator, James Marsters just kicks up the enjoyment factor up a notch. I haven't slept much just listening to Cold Days. I have to agree that Dresden as a ghost wasn't as good, but Cold Days more then makes up for it.
Please Please keep James Marsters as a narrator for the rest of the series.
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