Friday, December 28, 2012

Why are we neck deep in the Unseelie Court?

Oh yeah, because Dresden died two books ago and came back as the Winter Knight at the end of the last book.

Slowly progressing through Cold Days, book 13 in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. Progress has been slow due to the holidays, work, and a distinct lack of free time recently.

However, it's becoming one of the better books in the very long running series. (I remember back in the day when they were short and paperback. I know, get off my lawn.)

As I mentioned in the opening, two books ago, Harry Dresden died at the end. Then his ghost ran around, only to be resurrected by Queen Mab to serve as her Winter Knight. Which is where this book starts off, treating us to a fairly amusing recovery montage of Mab trying to kill Harry once a day, every day, for 11 months while he goes through Physical Therapy. And, wow does she get creative. Even if not many details are given on every method, more than a few provide a chuckle, like a brief mention of a crocodile with a ticking noise in its stomach.

On the Eve of Harry's birthday (Halloween, natch), Mab throws a party in his honor at Arctis Tor, kind of the fey version of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. We get reintroduced to Maeve, Mab's errant daughter, the Redcap (interestingly, most of the named sidhe are usually treated as a "clan" in other novels involving fairies. For instance, in Cold Days, Cait Sidhe is one actual being. In the October Daye novels, the Cait Sidhe are a breed.), and several other assorted fey folks in the court of Winter..

During a dance with Mab, she offers her first command to her new knight: Kill Maeve. Harry returns to Chicago and starts getting back involved with the several supporting characters involved in the series, trying to figure out how to do just that. As well as figure out how to stop his own private island in the middle of Lake Michigan from blowing up and taking most of the midwest with it.

Add into this several fairies of all shapes and sizes trying to kill him, and you have a fairly fast paced novel filled with intrigue as Harry tries to figure out what the hell is actually going on.

In other series, a character like Harry would be like a sword cutting through a Gordian knot of intrigue. Thankfully, Butcher prefers to allow intrigue equal footing with action, making the reader think through the consequences of Harry's actions as much as Harry does. A tough row to hoe, but fairly deftly handled.

Whil my favorite in the series will probably always be Dead Beat, Cold Days is a welcome book in a fabulous series. For those who haven't read the series, start with Storm Front and keep going. It'll be like buttah.