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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cold Days by Jim Butcher (Dresden #14)

Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14)Cold Days by Jim Butcher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 Jacket Blurb:  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 about 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, and 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 land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry 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...

Read as an audiobook.

This was a story that started rather sedately then suddenly took off like a blood hound hot on the scent of a coon.  I enjoyed this book insofar as I enjoy any Dresden book, but I had some issues that have been building over the last several books and unfortunately manifested themselves in this selection.

Perhaps this is a bit prudish, but since I am a female reading about a male protagonist, I really don't want to hear about Dresden's wet dreams (getting boinked by Queen Mab on a stone slab and having all of Farie witness, how he/the Winter Knight wants to ravish and dominate every female he comes across, Molly offering herself - again - to Dresden, etc).  Seriously, these "thoughts" are getting more and more sqwicky as the series progresses.  And the phrase, "I've known Molly since she was in a training bra" is becoming repetitive. Seriously, what guy makes a comment about a female friend or family member in terms of her training bra?  So this is telling me that Dresden was checking her out when she was twelve?  If you aren't grossed out you perhaps you should be.

I also thought the action in book fourteen was over the top even for an over the top fantasy.  Way too much going on:

Queen Mab introduces Harry to the Winter Court, and then tell's Farie it's open season on Harry.  Run, Harry! Run!

Queen Mab tells Harry to kill Maeve, and oh, by the way, you can't kill an immortal.  Good luck, best wishes, see you when you get that done,  

Harry learns he is now a Warden of the Island of Demonreach and must stop Demonreach from blowing up and taking most of the Midwest with it.

Harry discovers the dreaded and feared Outsiders are making a bid for Chicago, then world domination.  Harry has to stop the Outsiders.

And Everyone Loves Harry, but poor Harry is badgered about not being able to express his love for everyone else.

And what is with Harry always ending up nekkid right before a big fight?  That's a bit disturbing too. 

This was also fairly long for a Butcher book - and I didn't find it a fast read even as an audiobook, if that makes sense?  I found my mind wandering away while Harry pontificates about something right before a big knockdown - I don't know why Butcher does that actually,and it's really annoying.  My interpretation of Dresden's soliloquies: "The Goo-Glump was coming at me, hideous gelatinous arms reaching out to throttle the life essence out of me, and I knew if I didn't do something quick, I would soon be a paste on the parking lot asphalt.  It was like Ebeneezer always told me when I has knee high to a grasshopper, I had to learn when to back away from a fight.  And I knew if I backed away from this one, all my friends would perish.  I found that thought to be sobering, the life of Chicago reduced to a quivering blob of jello, my friends mere drops of fruit cocktail as they were slowly digested..."  blah, blah, blah.  Then he collects his will, gathering his power about him like a familiar glove, shouts FORZARAE! (or however it's spelled) and blows the Goo-Glump up and collapses until he can get his breath back.

Again, I enjoy this series, but I'm starting to find a few raisins in my pudding that I have to push to one side of the bowl to get though the rest. 

Still wholeheartedly recommend the books, but start with Storm Front if you're just tuning in.

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