Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
New York: Roc, 2012
ISBN 9780451464408 (hardcover)
Katherine gives this wizard story 4 stars — be ready for action and a thrilling ending that will surely carry to the next story.
Harry Dresden has seen and gone through a lot in the 13 previous Dresden novels (and one compilation of short stories) including working with or fighting ghosts, fairies, warlocks, angels and demons among other beings. Sometimes he feels that he has lost more than won in his battles for good. You see, Harry is a wizard who has literally given his life for others and presently he lives in a world that isn’t life or death. Harry used to be Chicago’s only professional wizard trying to keep those forces of darkness from taking over the town, state or country.
Harry is now the Winter Knight to Queen Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, and it just isn’t going to be easy for Harry. He must obey her every command and for starters Queen Mab wants Harry to kill her own daughter Maeve, the Winter Lady. And Harry isn’t one who likes to kill especially when he can’t understand why. Besides, Maeve is an immortal – one just doesn’t kill an immortal.
But that isn’t the only strange event happening – besides a murderous Redcap who has Harry in his radar there is the growing and real threat of something dark and powerful coming that has to be stopped – The Outsiders. Harry turns to old friends, some who thought he was gone forever, including Bob the skull, Andi the werewolf, Molly his protégé, Karrin Murphy the ex-cop, Mouse his special dog, Thomas his vampire brother, and Rashid the GateKeeper wizard. And new friends from his new world also join him like Sarissa, Harry’s therapist (one needs a therapist when one comes back from the dead) and Cat Sith, a Malk faerie in the shape of a cat becomes the reluctant helper.
Throughout this tale Harry must try to decide what is real and what is false as he finds himself the new Warden of the Demonreach island prison that contains the old and deadly Gods, including the Nagaloshii. The Summer Queen (Titania) and her new Summer Lady Lily (past daughter Aurora was murdered by Harry in a previous story) become involved in the epic battle that will cause great consequences at the end of this story. To say more would certainly ruin the story.
I have loved this series with maybe the exception of Ghost Story but one stumble isn’t bad. Now, the big question is whether one can read Cold Days without reading the rest of the series and all I can say is that each story is a stand-alone but it is always better if you understand the nuts and bolts of relationships amongst the characters. And what is wonderful about the Dresden series is that the relationships do grow. Nothing is static – including Dresden.