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Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files Hardcover – November 27, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 2,382 customer reviews
Book 14 of 15 in the Dresden Files Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Harry Dresden, the Chicago PI and professional wizard, has been having a pretty weird time of it lately. In 2012’s Ghost Story, Harry is trapped between life and death but on the trail of his own killer all the same; after discovering that killer’s shocking identity, he decides to let himself pass into death. But Queen Mab has other ideas, and that’s where the latest episode in the Dresden Files novels picks up the story. Mab, who has wanted Harry to be her hatchet man for a long time, has a job for him—several jobs, actually, a sort of shopping list of evil deeds, beginning with murder. Harry, basically a good man, doesn’t take killing lightly, especially when his intended victim happens to be immortal. Harry thinks there must be a reason why Mab wants this particular immortal killed at this particular time, and when he hits up some sources back in Chicago, he figures out she’s probably setting him up—but why? By this point, more than a dozen novels into the series, Butcher is pretty much assuming that if you’re reading the latest Dresden novel, you’re familiar with the ones that came before it. Readers coming to the novel without any previous experience might feel like they’ve tuned into an epic, multicharacter TV miniseries about halfway through, but fans of the Dresden Files, who have a lot invested in Harry, will be lining up to see whether he escapes his death as slickly as he did last time. Butcher remains the gold standard for urban fantasy. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Dresden Files started slowly as a paperback original series but eventually built an audience and moved to hardcover. From there, it was a short jump to becoming the quintessential urban fantasy. --David Pitt

Review

“Butcher is the dean of contemporary urban fantasy.”—Booklist

“Harry Dresden is perhaps the best-written supernatural detective working today.”—SF Revu
 
“If there is an author that defines urban fantasy, it is Jim Butcher.”—Fresh Fiction
 
“What would you get if you crossed Spenser with Merlin? Probably you would come up with someone very like Harry Dresden.”—The Washington Times
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Product Details

  • Series: Dresden Files (Book 14)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; First Edition edition (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451464400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451464408
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,382 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful novel that rewards longtime Dresden followers with callback after callback to previous events in the series (it especially demands a re-reading of Summer Knight in particular in order to fully understand who's who in its large cast of background characters, both present and deceased), and although it would be a poor idea for new readers to jump in at book 14 of a series as long as this one, the cast of characters are so well fleshed-out, the adventure so intriguing, the story so flat out entertaining, they wouldn't necessarily have to know absolutely everything about what occurred in previous stories to feel let in on the fun.

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files have always contained a wonderfully manic combination of screwball comedy, High Urban fantasy, and the detective genre. As is traditional in a good noire story, our lead is a capable protagonist who finds himself in a dangerous situation that is rapidly spinning out beyond his ability to control, thanks mostly in part to a cadre of dangerous women who run the gamut from murderous matron to femme fatale to a literal Ice Queen. Expounding upon his troubles are Harry's increasing list of character flaws. Although Harry possesses magic, he isn't particularly wise; Although he's intelligent, he's not a very good deductive reasoner; and even though he's become powerful due to deals brokered in previous books in the series, he's hardly an invincible combatant. What he is, is a man as prone to making things worse for himself through accident as well as intent.
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Format: Hardcover
I had quite a few quibbles with the last volume, Ghost Story, so I started Cold Days with lowered expectations that it more than surpassed them bringing Harry back to form and thrown into the thick of all things paranormal. So my greatest fears that the series was ruined for me are unfounded at this point.

Dresden awakens inside Faerie's Winter Court with new powers and new debts that must be paid. Summer Knight was the volume that made me love the series since it broadened the Dresdenverse so much and Cold Days explores the politics and inhabitants of Faerie deeper than ever before. We see Mab in all her crazy glory along with nearly every other important figure including many unexpected personages of a magical persuasion. And when Harry is given a seemingly impossible task from Mab, of course, he gets drawn into even greater problems and old grudges back in the real world.

Harry has always been thought of a strong power in the past, but this supercharged version would have stomped on the young Dresden. There is still a heavy reliance on past associates including some that might have been better left out, but outside of that the action and detective work was incredible. Harry's magical island, Demonreach, is vividly explored with many of its secrets finally unveiled. Cold Days more than most any other volume has payoff and reveals galore for long-term series fans. Many of the dots that have been tossed Harry's way over the length of the series are connected to great effect and seemingly disparate cases finally make sense.

So if you're still hanging in there for the series, which I expect most are, Cold Days brings the series back to a nice high with plenty of laughs and things are on track for plenty more action.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since the book just came out, I will try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. I've read every book in the Dresden series and I feel that Jim Butcher is really starting to come into his own . . . especially in terms of how he handles the world-building/exposition aspects of the story. Ever since the events of "Changes" forced both the writer and his protagonist to stop relying on a variety of metaphorical (and literal) crutches, I've found the series to be re-energized. Personally, I was getting a little tired of stock descriptions of the Blue Beatle and hearing Harry pontificate on the mechanics of lifting an engine block. However, there are still some minor issues with the pacing - I found that "Ghost Story" dragged a bit, while "Cold Days" is more akin to a relentless steamroller of plot developments.

This installment reunites Harry with a number of his rag-tag band of allies (although a significant portion of the early chapters are devoted to events that take place in the Nevernever). However, a couple of key reunions are left for future books (hopefully). I am still concerned about the issue of "power creep" as Harry continues to gain access to more and more power, to the point that the Outsiders may be the only remaining threat that has any real weight to it. Granted, the mantel of Winter Knight is borrowed power and Harry makes a point of repeatedly mentioning how outclassed he is by his opponent(s), but I think he doth protest too much.

Butcher has repeatedly stated his intention to turn the Dresden Files into a 20-book series, and I have some reservations about his ability to continue to find new and compelling challenges for Harry & company to face.
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