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The Usual Dresden Adventure With A Bit Of Universe Expansion Thrown In,
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This review is from: Cold Days: The Dresden Files, Book Fourteen (The Dresden Files series 14) (Kindle Edition)
After so many 'Dresden Files' novels two things have occurred to me.
1. They are now pretty much critic proof. Jim Butcher has got the formula pretty much perfected, so if you're already a fan of Harry and his world you'll almost certainly enjoy the next volume, whatever Amazon reviewers or other critics might say. You might enjoy some marginally more than others, but overall if you liked all the previous books you'll like this one too.
2. The 'Dresden Files' sub-title really makes no sense any more. The books are now so far beyond their fantasy private-detective origins that I can barely remember the days when Harry was working out of a shabby office in down town Chicago.
'A Dresden Epic' would probably be a better sub-title now, because that's what they've become. Ghost Story: A Dresden Files novel was a bit of a return to smaller scale story-telling, but Cold Days ramps up the scale once again. If Ghost Story was a chance to pause and reflect after the destruction of the Red Court and the end of the vampire/wizard war, then Cold Days marks the start of an entirely new phase in the Dresden series; one where the stakes are even higher than before.
Butcher reveals this fact with a truly epic scene in the Never-Never, which expands the reader's understanding of the wider universe and makes him or her realise that all the books prior to this have only uncovered a tiny part of the bigger picture. Its a great way to expand the Dresden universe and send the series off in a brand-new direction. In fact the whole book seems to be setting up new plot threads and dynamics, but Jim Butcher is skill-full enough by now to weave all the developments into a satisfying and compelling story.
If I have a complaint about Cold Days its that the finale does become a slightly overblown affair that risks veering towards the ridiculous, with characters undertaking feats that are almost superhuman at times. It doesn't quite trip over that line but it does come close.
I would also say that, as the Dresden universe expands and focuses less on Chicago and the 'real world' and more on the Never Never, the series also risks losing the human scale that grounded it and made it so compelling. Wars against creatures from parallel dimensions are all very well, but a bit more pounding the pavements of the Windy City, uncovering supernatural crimes, and fewer massed battles wouldn't go amiss. May be then calling the series 'The Dresden Files' wouldn't seem quite as ridiculous.