Harry Dresden, Chicago wizard detective, seems to have at least one really tough day a year. If you’ve kept up with this series, you know that each book is about one of those days. Book 14 is no exception. Book 12, Changes, ended in a tough way for Harry. Book 13, Ghost Story, found Harry defeating that tough ending, only to jump from the fire into the frying pan. Book 14, Cold Days, we get to find out what Harry does with the frying pan. And he handles it masterfully, grabbing that frying pan with both hands and slamming it into anyone who tries to manipulate him. Once again, Jim Butcher kept me well entertained.
Even as Harry fights for the good of our world, he is tormented by a newly given power which threatens to turn him into a less honorable man. Coupled with this, a fight on the Large Universe level is revealed to him, adding urgency to his quest to fulfill his Winter Court orders and yet maintain his humanity. Each time I read one of these books, I think, that’s as big as it can get; it just can’t get any worse than this. Ha! I’m always delightedly wrong. Because the characters continue to grow and change throughout this series, it never, ever gets old. Each book isn’t a rerun of the last, nor are there simply 4-6 tropes that Butcher recycles. People change, allegiances change, the scope changes. Book 14 is not an exception.
If I have any complaints about this book, it is that some of the banter fell a little short, didn’t make me chuckle as much as in previous books. In part, this may be due to conscious decision by Butcher, as things are a little strained between Harry and some of his Chicago friends, so the conversations and banter would be a little off, a little strained themselves. However, such a minor complaint did not keep me from experiencing a large sense of fulfillment at the end of the novel. Foolishly, at Page 99, I thought I had glimpsed the ending; I was wrong, because the ending was so much more than I anticipated.