Cold Days - Jim Butcher image
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.

My wife and I got to know each other by chatting over books on our lunch breaks. Once we’d established that we had similar tastes, we started lending each other books and then meeting up for after work drinks to discuss them. Then I stole her away from her fiancé and (exactly two years later) married her myself.

Shortly after she moved in with me, I started a new job with a film company in London, with an hourly train commute each way. She started lending me the Dresden Files and I devoured them on those train rides. Because she already owned the lot, I didn’t have to wait between each delicious fantasy-detective morsel and fully immersed myself in Harry’s adventures, one after the next.

The first few books of the series are about Harry establishing himself and Butcher establishing the wider magical world he inhabits. Then we get a stronger series thread weaving in with the war against the Red Court, leading up to the epic, dramatic climax of book twelve, Changes.

The follow-up to that, book thirteen, Ghost Story, left a fair amount of fans cold but I was prepared to be a little more forgiving. For the series to keep going and growing, Butcher needed to hit the reset button and boot-up with a fresh campaign. He laid the groundwork for that in Ghost Story, showing that the world as we knew it would go-on without Harry, leaving him free to step up to the next stage.

In Cold Days, Dresden’s new campaign really gets up and running. In the previous books Harry was an impetuous youngster, often underestimated by his more powerful and experienced opponents. Nobody will make that mistake again! Harry is now a real power-player, able to go toe-to-toe with the big boys, and welcomed into the inner circle of a secret war.

It’s not a perfect book – because there are a lot of new developments to work through we end up with more condensed plot advancement and exposition than rests easily within the Dresden Files standard framework (it feels a touch like it’s bursting at the seams). And in a way, it’s a kind of sad development – Harry has now outgrown his allies – which means some of the wonderful cast we’ve come to love don’t have much to offer (except moral support).

But Cold Days is still a tremendously fun book! Anyone who’s made it this far in the series isn’t going to stop any time soon – and it’s such a beloved, familiar world that dipping back into the series is like coming home from a long trip, or relaxing into a warm bath – comfortable and cosy and delightful.

After this I read: A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold