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Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Cold Days (edition 2012)

by Jim Butcher

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1,5801024,623 (4.31)86
Title:Cold Days
Authors:Jim Butcher
Info:Roc (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 528 pages
Collections:Audited against Amazon (inactive), Your library, Owned, Kindle, Read, Favorites
Tags:urban fantasy

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Cold Days by Jim Butcher



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Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
Well, thank God, Harry is back on the horse! Last book made me worried he was losing his groove. As usual, lots and lots of cool action, impossible situations in which Harry's life is getting shittier and shittier...Still, better him than us, right? So enjoyed this one, peeps! ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
Great read (listen) the story continues with quite a few twists and turns near the end that I did not see coming. Read again by James Marsters as the entire series has except the last novel, which was and extreme distraction.
( )
  Mindslayer | Nov 18, 2015 |

[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]


After his sorta-kinda resurrection at the end of Ghost Story, Harry Dresden finds himself at the bidding of Queen Mab as the new Winter Knight. He gets a bit of “physical therapy” courtesy of his new queen, and once he’s recuperated, she throws him a big birthday party on Halloween night, filled with near-death experiences and threats from a bunch of Winter fae. Including the infamous Redcap, who murders people and dips his hat in their blood. And some sort of monster that constructs itself out of dead body parts.


Oh! And Mab also decides to give Harry his first task as the new Knight: to kill the Winter Lady, Maeve.

Double yikes.

Flabbergasted by this turn of events, Harry heads off to Chicago. At first, he tries not to get any of his friends involved in this mess. He breaks into Butters’ apartment and steals back Bob, but Andi the werewolf, who’s now apparently dating Butters, attacks him, thinking him an intruder. She lets him go after some persuasion, and Harry has a talk with Bob about Mab’s orders. Bob reveals that immortals can be killed on Halloween and only Halloween, so Harry has to off Maeve by the end of the day — or he fails.

Of course, Harry has to figure out why Mab would want Maeve dead in the first place. Which is kind of hard to do when a bomb explodes in front of your car and then you’re attacked by tiny, iron-nail-shooting fairies. Harry is pinned down by the onslaught, but thankfully a bunch of cats show up and scare the fairies away — except they’re not cats. They’re Molly’s illusions.

She helps Harry to her new, fancy apartment, given to her by a race of beings known as the svartalves in exchange for some job she did for them. In other words, she’s doing a heck of a lot better than she was in Ghost Story, when was she the wizard vigilante known as the “Rag Lady.” Harry reluctantly brings Molly up to speed on what’s happening, and Molly brings Harry up to speed on what’s been happening since he left.

Including the fact that island of Demonreach is apparently about to explode and take half the Midwest with it.

Well, crap.

Harry heads to Thomas’ boat, the Water Beetle, for a trip to the island, where he runs right into Thomas himself, who at first thinks Harry is a doppelgänger and attacks him. After he’s convinced Harry’s the real deal, they head to Demonreach together. But the island is pretty damn angry about something, so Harry leaves Molly and Thomas on the dock and heads up to meet with the genius loci of the island by himself. The loci reveals to Harry that the island is actually a supernatural prison that holds thousands of super-dangerous beings within it. If the island is compromised in any way, it will explode in a vain effort to kill as many of the inmates as it can before they’re set free to wreak havoc on the world. Unfortunately, some of them are immortal, so it’ll only set them back a bit.

Basically, if Demonreach is breached, the world is doomed.


With his problems compounding, Harry meets with several different forces to try and figure out what the hell he’s supposed to do. He consults Donar Vadderung during a meeting at Mac’s bar, and the man helps him figure out exactly how the island is going to be attacked…but not much else. Then, after Vadderung leaves, Harry is attacked by an Outsider, who he manages to fend off for the time being. Out of sheer luck.

Perturbed by the presence of Outsiders, Harry consults a number of other forces. He talks directly with Lily and Maeve, who tell him of some kind of evil Outsider presence known as Nemesis, which can infect any kind of being and warp them into whatever it wants. Maeve claims that Mab is infected.

Harry is attacked by the Redcap and friends after his meeting with Lily and Maeve, but thankfully, Murphy shows up, and Harry is able to get away. Back at Molly’s apartment, Harry comes up with something akin to a plan. He has Murphy and Thomas use their connections to get Marcone and Lara Wraith in on the Demonreach issue, and while they’re busy, he tries a few more sources for information.

He summons Titania, which goes horribly…

And then he summons Mother Winter in an attempt to figure out whether Mab or Maeve is telling the truth — unfortunately for Harry, this angers Mother Winter, and she drags him to her cottage in the Nevernever. After a brief confrontation, Mother Summer comes along and takes Harry with her on a trip to a mysterious location. Harry finds himself standing at the literal Outer Gates, the border between our universe and Outside. Where Harry learns that the majority of Mab’s fae forces have been fighting the Outsiders in a constant war for…ever.

At this exact time, a terrible battle is raging, and if Mab dies, upsetting the ability of the Winter Court’s army to fight…the Outsiders could get through and invade our world.

After a short talk with Rashid the Gatekeeper, Harry returns to Earth horrified at the scope of what’s happening. He gathers his friends and allies for an all-out battle on Demonreach. But before he can even get there, he’s attacked by the freaking Wild Hunt — only to realize that the Hunt has covertly come to help him. The Erlking and Kringle (aka Santa Klaus, whom Harry met as his birthday party) are leading the Hunt, and while keeping up appearances, they both let Harry take them down so he can control the Hunt himself and use its forces to stop the assault on Demonreach.

Harry arrives at the island, and after a vicious battle, confronts Lily and Maeve. Maeve is the one who is infected by Nemesis, and she had misled Lily into believing Demonreach is a well of evil power that threatens the world. Maeve captures Harry and friends, but Harry manages to summon Mab in the nick of time — unfortunately, a seriously unbalanced Maeve decides to go out with a bang. She murders Lily, and Lily’s Summer Lady mantle jumps to Sarissa, Mab’s other (lesser-known) daughter, who helped Harry recuperate in Arctis Tor at the beginning of the book.

Realizing Maeve cannot be salvaged, Mab takes control of Murphy’s body and uses her to murder Maeve, whose Winter Lady mantle jumps to…Molly. Harry realizes far too late that the reason his godmother was keeping so close to Molly back in Ghost Story was because she was training Molly to become a good host for a fae mantle.

When all is said and done, Demonreach is saved, but the fairy courts have been shaken up by the Lady mantle swaps, and Molly’s life is now forever changed.

In the end, Harry remains alone on Demonreach, as he’s been made aware that there is something growing in his head that is not supposed to there, and the Demonreach loci is the only thing keeping it at bay. His friends, sans Molly (and Lily), return to Chicago to clean up any loose ends and live to fight another day.

The End.

Cue Sequel.


My Take

What can I possibly say about a Dresden Files novel that I haven’t said in one of my other 13 reviews? Not much.

Butcher brings the same great characters and world-building to the table as he always does in this installment. He (somehow) manages to up to the ante yet again, creating a tense and fast-paced plot that follows Harry on another dangerous and wacky adventure compressed into an absurdly short time period (one day this time!). He pulls together and adds to plot threads that were woven into installments ten plus books ago and manages to keep them fairly coherent, consistent, and interesting. He builds even more complexity into his overarching story-verse and sets off major events that will reverberate for books to come.

There was nothing surprising about this novel, really — and that was a good thing. I was a little let down by Ghost Story, if you remember, because it very much felt like the boring interim between two important arcs in the Dresden-verse: everything that happened before Changes and everything that will happen after. This book was the first installment of that “after,” and it was quite a doozy. Butcher completely makes up for the somewhat slow pacing of Ghost Story in this book, and the plot jumps right back into all the action and super-high stakes that the series is so good at.

I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series progress from this book on, as Cold Days was definitely a fairly high point in the books, and, much like Grave Peril way back when, promises of even greater things to come.

Another excellent Dresden Files novel all around!


Is It Worth Reading?

Definitely. It you were let down by Ghost Story, this one should pick you right back up!



4.5/5 ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Fourteenth of the fifteen book series; I'm going to miss Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden and his cohorts - a lot!!

  idajo2 | Nov 3, 2015 |
I realized that Jim Butcher writes episodes as if in a TV show, they have a main story with an underlying story arch. I feel like this is one of the aspects that keep the story interesting as there isn't a lull with filler information. This and the previous book, Ghost Story, goes away from the episode atmosphere as Harry being a PI and getting over his head. Now they are more true sequels focusing on the main story. Ghost Story went stale quickly, but Cold Days redeems the story a bit. While not as good as many of the previous books, this book was good.

One part that was confusing is that Ghost Story everybody was surprised or disbelieving that Harry Dresden's ghost was there, but now in Cold Days he is alive the majority of his companions just say "Hey, 'sup" (obviously simplifying). And all the issues that were affecting his companions In Ghost Story are not longer present and barely mentioned. (It almost seemed like Jim Butcher wanted to move away from events in Ghost Story and start fresh, which is okay in my opinion). ( )
  renbedell | Sep 17, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Butcher, Jimprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marsters, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGrath, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shutterstock.comCover imagessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simmons, JoieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Chris Achterhof,
writer of ''Greed" (he'll know why after reading this),
and all my old gaming buddies in the International Fantasy Gaming Society. 

You people are all silly, and you made the nineties a much brighter place.
First words
Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, has unique ideas regarding physical therapy.
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Book description
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 ab out 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, no matter who she wants him to kill.

Guess which 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 take out the entire midwest if not stopped.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, dodge the Great Hunt, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, kill an immortal or 20, 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.
Haiku summary
Hottie wizard dies,
Comes back stronger than before;
Saves the world again.

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Following his death by a mystery assailant, Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, 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.… (more)

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