Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dresden Files 14: Cold Days (Jim Butcher)

Rating: 4/5
Year: 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Read Again? Yeah.

Turns out Harry Dresden was only Mostly Dead after being taken down by a sniper in "Changes." He did a little time as a ghost in "Ghost Story." Now...he's baaaaaack!

Well, there's a hitch. He's not a freelance wizard anymore. He made a deal in "Changes" that bound him to Queen Mab, agreeing to become her Winter Knight, which makes him her enforcer, assassin, or whatever she wants.

The previous Knight was an evil, sadistic bastard. Now Harry wear the mantle. There's a constant struggle between keeping his own identity and allowing the cruel, hungry passions of Winter to take over.

Oh, and as in every previous book, he has to save the world from Armageddon. Again. This time he has a day to pull it off...and Mab wants him to kill her daughter Maeve, the Winter Lady.

Dresden has been speculating over several books about a sort of "Black Council," an evil counterpart to the White Council of wizards, shadowy hands manipulating events and people (and creatures) to trigger a new Armageddon focused on Chicago on Halloween. Turns out he's right, in a way: parasites. This angle is used to explain why nearly every previous book has a super-monster flocking to the Windy City to further their plans for Total World Domination (or at least the Utter Destruction of Everything): the baddies have been influenced by parasites. I don't like or dislike this angle just yet, since it's only now being introduced. If Butcher handles it well, it could be cooler than a "Black Council."

This book brings back Butters the Medical Examiner, Molly the former Apprentice, Murphy the ex-cop (and love interest?), Bob the talking skull, Thomas the White Vampire (and Harry's half-brother), and Mouse, Harry's humongous dog.

No one's particularly surprised Harry isn't actually dead, but now that he's the Winter Knight everyone's convinced he's a raging murderous bastard, or at least under the Winter Queen's sway.

The story moves well. No rambling. Good plot development, some revelations about the role of the Faerie Folk in keeping the evil Others at bay.

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