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Publisher's Summary

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

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Thwarts Every Expectation - In a Good Way

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.

83 of 88 people found this review helpful

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  • D
  • corona, ca United States
  • 11-28-12

Back to Life and as Good as Ever

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.

48 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Sanger, TX, United States
  • 03-05-13

Entralled

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Can't wait to see what happens next

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • AUSTIN, TX, United States
  • 12-12-12

How do they keep getting better?!

What made the experience of listening to Cold Days the most enjoyable?

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.

What other book might you compare Cold Days to and why?

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.

What does James Marsters bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes. I'm not talking about it though.

Any additional comments?

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.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • Shreveport, LA, United States
  • 11-27-12

Harry's Back!

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.

56 of 71 people found this review helpful

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  • Suzanne
  • MONROE, GA, United States
  • 12-03-13

Dresden is the best

Jim Butcher has done an outstanding job with this latest installment. I love the book, I love the way James Marsters does the narration (I still cannot get over how well he transitions from male to female voices without a hitch). This book is great - character development, story-line and of course details etc. Butcher mixes and simmers the brew until you are hooked and cannot go back. Every installment gets better and better. Even though the subject matter is fiction/fantasy - Jim does it in a way that is believable and keeps the reader wanting more. I have listened to this audiobook 3 times (I have a long commute) and even so I find myself getting into the scenes and characters finding nuances that I missed before. The interaction between some characters is downright hilarious while poignant and heartfelt moments still highlight some of Dresden's softer attributes without seeming sappy or awkward. Don't worry guys - this is PACKED with action, Harry is still Dirty Harry when it comes to the bad guys. Lots of killing, lots of magic and a lot of faeries. Definitely worth the time and money.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cliff
  • madison, MS, United States
  • 09-10-13

Finally! The series is back on track.

What did you love best about Cold Days?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cold Days?

Hard to do without spoilers. How the end of the book turns out. Quite the twist towards the end.

Which scene was your favorite?

Lots of favorites, but I really like when he told Mauve off towards the beginning of the story

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Dresden. Ice cold.

Any additional comments?

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Dresden is back

If you are a fan of the series this will be one of the more exciting books so far. There are new powers it seems and many ways for everything to turn out. James Marsters is of course an amazing narrator as well. If you like Sci-Fi you will love this series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chuck
  • United States
  • 01-25-13

Dresden as the Winter Knight? What could go wrong?

Butcher continues to amaze with this great story and our boy Harry Dresden is bigger and badder than ever. As the Winter Knight (and Mab's play thing), Harry has to battle not only the Winter Knight's Mantle that is trying to take him over, but Mab, Maeve, and seemingly the entire Winter Court. Throw in Outsiders, Demonreach, and oh, Harry trying to deal with all the relationships he had before dying and coming back, Molly, Karrin, and Thomas, and you've got a fast paced roller coaster ride that seemingly will never end as more and more obstacles get thrown in Harry's path.

If there is one problem I have with this book (and it's happened in several of the other Dresden books, though not frequently) is that Butcher seems to continue to pile on Harry's troubles. There is the requisite "issue" Harry is dealing with, and the little subplots that surround it, but then Butcher just keeps adding more and more roadblocks, issues, and problems that seem to stretch Harry beyond his capacity. It just feels, I don't know, like he's making it overly dramatic just for the sake of doing it. It always ends up working out in the end and I do realize that it all has a purpose in moving the story forward. Butcher also does this thing where he puts Harry up against immortals and such that severely outclass him, and Harry even says in the books "there is no way to beat such and such a creature" and yet, in the end, Harry miraculously prevails and finds some loophole. It's a minor gripe, and doesn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. This is still an excellent book and great continuation of the series. I can't wait for the next book!

James Marsters narration gets better and better with each book and he does an excellent job reading Cold Days. When I first started listening to this series I wasn't crazy about him, but now, he IS Harry Dresden!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful