Sunday, 6 April 2014

Cold Days, by Jim Butcher

3.5 stars

No longer mostly dead thanks to the combined efforts of Mab and Demonreach, Harry's back in the material world in time to save it, again.

Now Mab's Winter Knight thanks to the deal he made back in Changes, his first mission is an ugly one - going after Mab's own daughter. But Maeve's a slippery customer, and may have some compelling reasons up her sleeve (I guess that would be her Wizard's Sleeve, as she spends the book mostly naked)  for Harry to take out Mab instead.

To make things even simpler, he has an awesomely deadly new assistant for his mission (the Cat Sith) who isn't best pleased to be serving him, and most of the Winter Court is out for his blood. Oh, and Demonreach is about to blow, which doesn't bode well for the world considering that the island's purpose is to serve as a demonic Oz - a maximum security prison for the most nightmarish beasties to have ever been unleashed on the world.

Bursting to the seams with action, sometimes I felt there was a little too much this time around, with wave after wave of assault sometimes disorienting me and making me forget just who was after Harry now and why it was important.

I was also a little nonplussed by his friends reactions to his reappearance in their lives. Considering how fucked up we found them all in Ghost Story, and the hoops they made him jump through to prove his really was Harry, I was expecting a bigger reaction than the collective shrug that came from everyone bar Thomas and Mouse.

And finally in my list of niggles, whilst I'm aware that Harry has always been a bit of a dick when it comes to women, I am really not keen on the new, rapey Harry that's been wrought by the mantle of Winter, nor the reactions of the ladies he'd quite like to rape (or the fact that women everywhere are constantly either oozing sex or defined by the lack of sex they ooze). Harry is, in fact, getting dangerously close to me wanting everyone to punch him in the throat.  With the set-up for the next book that came at the book's climax, it's a situation that will probably only get worse as he works out the dynamics of his relationship with the new Winter Lady.

Still, I do love the fantastic flourishes we get whenever dealing with the fae, and with Toot still around and managing to not want to rape everyone he meets, there's still someone at least for me to wholeheartedly throw my support behind. 

But Harry - consider yourself warned...

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