REVIEW: Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Cold Days by Jim Butcher
(The Dresden Files #14)
Orbit Books (Nov 2012)
Hardcover, 515 pages

Urban Fantasy

Warning: contains spoilers for other books in series

Harry Dresden, everyone’s favourite wizard is back in corporeal form and ready to save the day. Book fourteen of the Dresden Files starts immediately after the last book with Harry recuperating from his near death (or I guess real death) experience and in the service as Mab’s knight. Mab’s treatment method is unique as it involves physiotherapy and a daily doses of fighting for his life while his new boss tries to kill him. While a seemingly insane treatment method it does help to prepare Harry for the rest of the story where almost everyone but Mab tries to kill him! At the end of his treatment Mab decides to celebrate by giving Harry a big birthday bash in Arctis Tor with everyone who is anyone in the Winter court in attendance. A showdown at his very own birthday party over his physiotherapist Sarissa, leaves Harry with a new enemy who he names Red Hat and his first target from Mab – none other than her very own daughter and Lady Winter, Maeve.

Not sure how to kill an immortal Harry heads back to Chicago for information and ends up fighting for his life again. This time he is saved by his former apprentice, Molly who informs him that something is happening on his island and its about to unleash devastation on a grand scale that could kill off the whole mid-western United States.  Harry hooks up with his brother Thomas and they head out to the island to speak to Demonreach. What Harry learns from Demonreach kicks him into action while all at the same time he searches desperately for the answers to his ‘Maeve’ conundrum. A trip to visit the ‘Mothers’  – both Summer and Winter gives both Harry and the reader an interesting insight into both Maeve and the endless war faced by her soldiers on the borders of Faerie. Time however, is running out for Harry,as he only has 24 hours to save the island from exploding and figure out how and if he should, kill an immortal.

Butcher, brings back almost all of Harry’s friends including his brother Thomas, his ‘will they/won’t they’ love interest Karrin, Bob and even his faithful, pooch Mouse. I did miss Michael though and the other wardens were only mentioned but more importantly there was no mention of cat, Mister.  Who could forget Mister? Butcher has never written Thomas and Harry as especially ‘brotherly’ but he really created a bond between the two with some especially witty dialogue. One such amusing scene occurs between the brothers during one of the many battles.

I kept my hand shielded from Sharkface with my body and gave my brother the finger. “Look Spanky”, I’m a little busy to be tussling with every random weirdo who is insecure about his junk. Otherwise, I would just love to smash you with a beer bottle kick you in the balls, throw you out through the saloon doors, the whole bit. Why don’t you have your people contact my people, and we can do this maybe next week?”

“Next week is your self deprecation awareness seminar,” Thomas said,

 There are many more and its really the first time in all of the books that we get the impression that they are actually brothers and that Thomas is something more than a soul sucking vampire. Butcher teases us a bit more with the Harry and Karrin potential relationship and I think he needs to wrap this up or get them together. The relationship between Molly and Harry is given a new dimension with the Knight’s mantle and there is a HUGE change in store for their relationship by the end of the book. Not going to tell what happens though!

I really enjoyed Cold Days and much more than I did the other books of this series. I went on a big Dresden Files binge and read the first 13 books in approximately three weeks which in retrospect was a big mistake. Butcher references quite a bit of the previous books in exposition and when you read them back to back this can get a bit boring. As it it had been well over a year since I had read book 12 I really appreciated Butcher reminding me about plot points from the previous books. Butcher, also blurs the lines between good versus evil in the relationship between the Summer and Winter courts and more pointedly, Mab and Titiana. The culmination of the book is very dramatic and doesn’t rely on action to make it exciting. For the first time since the start of the series I am really, really looking forward to the next book in the series. I am back on board team Dresden. ‘Go Harry’!


Cold Days is the action packed, fourteenth and possibly the  best installment of the Dresden Files. While Harry doesn’t seem to get much respite from the baddies there is a lot of development for his storyline and background into Mab’s court. Butcher brings it all to the table in Cold Days with lots and lots of action (come on Jim, Harry needs a break!), lots of twists and turns and a nail biting ending.


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  1. Storm Front
  2. Fool Moon
  3. Grave Peril
  4. Summer Knight
  5. Death Masks
  6. Blood Rites
  7. Dead Beat
  8. Proven Guilty
  9. White Knight
  10. Small Favor
  11. Turn Coat
  12. Changes
  13. Ghost Story
  14. Cold Days

Plus numerous short stories interspersed between the main books



A displaced Canadian living in the UK who when not reading is often found trawling through GoodReads looking for something to read or buying another book on Amazon. [Melanie no longer reviews for the site.]


Bobby March 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I really need to read this series! I don’t read a lot of books with male protagonists so I’m sometimes a bit wary about it, but this sounds like a really interesting and eventful series.


Melanie March 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I think I am actually the opposite and read more books with male protagonists. …probably because I read more fantasy than PNR.

Its a great series. Give it a go.


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