“Cold Days” (Dresden files book 14)
by Jim Butcher
Read by James Marsters
published by Penguin Audio
Approx. 16 hours
It was so awesome getting this audiobook in the mail. I’m a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s writing and have been waiting anxiously for this latest installment of “The Dresden Files,” featuring my favorite wizard and all around protector of humanity. I think even if Chuck Norris were a wizard Harry Dresden would still give him a beat down. Dresden is just that awesome. I mean really he’s taken on werewolves, vampires, demons, gods and the three billy goats gruff and manages to keep on for the next day.
Okay there has been an exception to this, and I’d better approach that before carrying on with this book. If you haven’t read up to book twelve, “Changes,” you may want to skip ahead in this review because this paragraph will contain some spoilers for you. Basically at the end of “Changes” Harry Dresden dies, but what is it like when a wizard dies? In book thirteen “Ghost Story,” Dresden comes back to his hometown of Chicago as a ghost and helps fight of an evil while going all Patrick Swayze on his friends. Then at the end of that book Harry is brought back by the faery Queen of Winter, Mab, because at the end of “Changes” he agreed to serve her as her Winter Knight in order to save his daughter. So he has died but he is so awesome that he comes back to life.
So now we are at this book, the 14th in the series, “Cold Days.” As per the usual run of any “Dresden Files” book, Harry is faced with many dangers that to any normal person, this includes you, Chuck Norris, would lead to death and the possible end of the world. Harry is now the Winter Knight and as part of his rehab, yeah after being dead he has to go through some intense life-threatening physical therapy, his life is threatened daily by Mab via poisonous spiders, fire, and just about any evil she can come up with for him to fend off. Picture Cato Fong, from the Pink Panther series always surprising Clouseau by attacking, only now make Fong a nearly evil Queen of Winter and Darkness, with unlimited power, and that’s what Harry has to contend with.
After Harry’s physical rehab, he is assigned a couple of assistant’s of sorts. One is the Cat Sith, no he doesn’t have a red light saber, who is a powerful faerie who is dangerous, and a woman who seems to be Mab’s BFF, but may also have an ulterior motive. Harry is then invited to his own Birthday party to announce the him as the new Winter Knight. There are two simple rules at this party and other than those anything goes. The two rules are 1. No one speaks to Mab unless she says otherwise and 2. No blood is spilled. In Harry’s world, you know one of the rules is going to be broken.
At the party Mab’s daughter Maeve tries to seduce Harry and pull him to her side, after that fails a Red Cap powry tries to get Harry angry and spill blood, but Harry manages to maintain his cool and receives his first order from Mab; Kill Maeve. So to start things out Harry has to kill an immortal (one who can’t be killed).
Harry then is allowed to return home to Chicago and in order to find a way to kill Maeve he retrieves his wizard’s equivalent of a computer, Bob. Once he’s on the trail to find out how to kill that which cannot be killed Harry figures out he’s going to need his friends not because of Maeve but because his island, Demonreach, is about to explode and take Chicago with it. So with the help of his apprentice, Molly, his half-brother the vampire, Thomas, the faery general, Toot-toot, and more Harry has to stop a mystical island from exploding, save Chicago, avoid being killed by the Earlking and his hunt and kill an immortal. Oh yeah, and he’s only got 1 day to do it.
As a side note and a bit of a spoiler, Harry gets to meet Santa Claus and even kicks Santa’s butt in a battle. Funny stuff and great adventure in this latest adventure from Jim Butcher. If you haven’t launched yourself into the Dresden Files yet, get on it.
As a final note I have to talk about the reader of this audiobook, James Marsters. Actually reader doesn’t do it justice, Marsters is the performer of this audiobook. James Marsters has become a fan favorite as reader of the Dresden Files books and when he was busy with an acting gig and couldn’t do the “Ghost Story” novel, many fans were upset, including me. Marsters, is best known for his role in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” as the vampire, Spike. His performance in the Dresden books is way above par. He captures the character of Harry Dresden perfectly by being able to vocalize all of the between the lines stuff, such as emotion, history and even the awesome use of sarcasm and snarkiness. Not only does he portray a great version of Harry Dresden, but there are times that while listening to the book it almost sounds like a multi-cast performance with Marsters doing some great vocal gymnastics to represent each character. Thanks to Marsters, the faery General Toot-toot comes to life in full 3-D representation. He definitely adds one more plus to these already great books.