The Dresden Files: Cold Days [Spoiler Alert]

Cold Days, the 14th book in The Dresden FilesJim Butcher’s The Dresden Files was a series I found difficult to put down from the moment I laid my hands on its first book, Storm Front. Within less than three months, I devoured all 13 currently available novels, plus the short story collection Side Jobs. The Dresden Files cleverly mixes everything we know about folklore, the supernatural, the fantasy genre and detective fiction and gives us a tale of magic, gunfights, faeries, vampires, monsters, mobsters and pure mayhem. Cold Days, the fourteenth book released this November 27, delivers classic Dresden. In fact, I’d say this is the best Harry Dresden book to date.

(SPOILER ALERT. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

So Harry Dresden is back from the dead, thanks to Winter’s Queen Mab. Not only that, he’s also the new Winter Knight, the result of a deal Harry made with Mab in Changes to save little Maggie Mendoza from the clutches of the Red Court. With the help of a mysterious physical therapist named Sarissa and Mab’s rather brutal exercise regimen, Harry recovered from the effects of his coma and returned to fighting form.

Of course, since the Winter Knight serves as the Winter Queen’s killing machine, it’s now Harry’s job to snuff the people Mab wants snuffed. And since it’s Mab we’re talking about, we can pretty much expect her not to make the job easy for Harry. Harry’s first mission as the Winter Knight proved it so.

It won’t be a Harry Dresden book without one problem after another piling up for our previously deceased hero. So, aside from the assignment Mab gave him, Harry has to figure out what’s threatening to make Demonreach go boom along with the rest of the American Midwest. He has 24 hours to complete both missions. To add to the pressure, Harry has to fend off Fix, his erstwhile friend and current Summer Knight, as well as Winter Lady Maeve’s Sidhe goons. Also, Harry must find a way to pick up the pieces of his former life and convince his friends he’s not really dead.

There are two things I loved most about Cold Days. First, I really enjoyed how Jim Butcher tried to misdirect readers as to who is the real perpetrator of the chaos Harry has to straighten out, only for said readers to find out the answer is there right under their nose. And then, Mr. Butcher throws in a sudden twist that basically tells us that nothing is going to be the same in the Dresdenverse ever again.

Second, Cold Days throws the windows wide open on the world of Faerie. Readers are given a deeper insight as to how the Summer and Winter Courts work. The Queens of Faerie are no longer just powerful and terrifyingly beautiful entities in the Dresdenverse. They have very human-like qualities, which Mother Summer explained is the result of heavy mortal influence on the Sidhe.

I especially like how Mab is fleshed out as a character in this book. Mab has always been described as scary, ruthless and potentially insane. In Cold Days, we find out more about her motivations and that there are layers and layers to the character. We also learn that she plays a deep game of chess.

There’s just one detail I did not like with the story. That’s Karrin Murphy. I don’t understand her. Harry’s “death” broke her. One would think that after finding Harry to be alive, she’d jump at the chance of being able to explore a possible romance with him, just as they were about to at the end of Changes. After all, life is too short and few people ever get second chances like that. But no, Murphy chooses to be chicken and play the wait-and-see game again.

Here are a few not-so-spoilery notes about Cold Days:

  • Butters got himself a girlfriend.
  • Toot literally fell in love. She hates pizza, though.
  • Bob discovered the Internet. And online porn.
  • Cat Sith. ‘Nuff said.
  • There’s another scene reminiscent of Harry’s ride on Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Dead Beat. I haven’t decided which one is more epic yet.
  • Santa Claus is not the jolly old man we all believe him to be.

I really think Cold Days is the best Dresden Files book yet. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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