Discussion in 'The Dresden Files' started by Jon, Nov 25, 2012.
This thread is dedicated to you motherfuckers who have finished Cold Days, have at it, cunts.
Excited to see how Molly does as the Winter Lady but pissed we have no resolution on Karrin as a Knight.
To be fair, I think it'll take a full book to get her to pick the damn thing up.
Speaking of Murph, I was kind of surprised at how quickly she seemed to be okay with Harry just popping back up. No anger, not even any real surprise. Just kind of, "Oh, hey, you're back. I watered your plants for you," type attitude.
Some new things we learned/saw confirmed:
- Where the term "Warden" came from.
- What Demonreach is really for
- the nature of the Outer Gates and what the Gatekeeper does
- the name of the evil thing that is corrupting and guiding the Black Council and others - Nemesis
- That Mab (and likely Titania) was once mortal
- Molly managed to get her shit together just in time for it not to matter
- The position of 'Queen to Be' has a high turn-over rate these days
- Bob is doing just fine
Moments of Awesome:
- Murphy joining the exclusive club of Queen slayers
- Anything involving Cat Sith
- Anything involving Kringle
- Harry claiming the Wild Hunt
- "400 kilos."
- Toot-toot crushing on Lacuna
- A dozen other things I'll have to re-read to remember
- Butters is my new hero.
- Please don't let the Munstermobile be Harry's new car permanently
- Molly's apartment is nice enough that I'm jealous
- I wish I knew a guy named Guy. The jokes would never stop.
- The 'fuck' count is well over twenty, making this the mouthiest Dresden book so far
Overall, it felt like an old school book, like Harry was working a case again. After the deviation from formula that was Ghost Story, this felt like a real return to form, and might just be the funniest Dresden book in years.
I think it was brought up in the Jim Butcher AMA that the Denarians have shown up in books five and ten, so there's a good chance that'll be resolved in the next book.
I wonder if Harry will actually get out of being winter knight. Before I was sure, but now I have no idea. Especially with Molly as the new Lady.
I really enjoyed it - definitely more like earlier books than the last couple of entries, although I'm undecided at the moment whether that's a good thing or not. I liked the way that Ghost Story suggested a bit of a change in direction, a bit more thoughtful and mature, long term thinking rather than short term pyrotechnics. Which is not to say that this wasn't awesome, but it did feel a little like Butcher was going "Ok, we had a lot of introspection in GS; here's some crazy awesome badassery to make up for it."
On which note, my only real issue, that aside, is that there was perhaps too much going on. Let's see...
- Two new Ladies
- A new villain - possibly/probably the Big Bad?
- How said villain works.
- What and where the Outer Gates are.
- Rashid's purpose.
- What Demonreach is.
- Origins of the Wardens.
- New info on the Faerie Courts that makes you rethink a lot of previous stuff.
- New Walker.
- Future plot points, because there's no way in any reality that Butcher is going to keep Demonreach sealed for the rest of the series. Seems like a good start (or maybe middle punch) for the apocalyptic trilogy. Related: Harry knows about the Outer Gates now, so Rashid may be whistling him up at some point in the next few books.
- Cleared up what had happened with Ace.
- Harry may be going crazy(ier) at some point.
- Lash next book (assuming the parasite is her, which I think can be more or less guarenteed at this stage).
- Edit: also, Mac.
Throw all of that into a book that seems to have some crazy action scene every two or three chapters, and which is just over 500 pages long (UK hardback), and it's a very packed book. All awesome, of course, but I was left a little fatigued by it all in the end. It also meant that there wasn't much done in other areas - Harry/Murphy hasn't progressed at all, really, since the end of Changes, and I'm getting a little bored of it.
Also, there wasn't much in terms of reaction to Harry being back. Molly gets a bit of a pass, because she knew he was alive already, and yeah, we had Andi's confusion and Thomas' freaking out...but in relation to my comment about Harry/Murphy, the guy is shot and sunk without trace, presumed dead, his ghost comes back and helps them out, and then apparently really, really dies, and her only reaction to him being back is more or less "Oh, there was an explosion, who else would it have been lol." I don't buy it.
Going to re-read later this week probably, but a few things stood out:
The word "fuck" was used more often than normal. Doesn't bother me but I did notice it. Also fewer instances of Harry saying things like "Hell's Bells" or "Stars and Stones"
I thought the bit with the Wild Hunt was a little contrived. I can buy that Harry could take control of it in that manner and that the Erlking and Kringle might set him up to manage it -- but what I'm not sure about is what it was doing in Chicago to begin with. Who called it there? If Erl/Kris had anything to do with it being there, then what made them care about this conflict enough to bother? And so on. I liked the scenes and the idea, but it felt a little bit too shoe-horned in for me. I'd have preferred that Harry had called it up specifically to take advantage of it rather than it just being a lucky chance it was there to save the day.
Murphy did seem a little too easily onboard with Harry being alive and running around. To me it felt like someone had already told her about it beforehand. I like Murphy a lot, and I do ship Harry/Murphy if I ship anything in this series, but her role this time just felt off.
Rashid is freaking awesome.
Disappointed that we didn't see any of the Council or their reactions to Harry being alive and/or the Winter Knight. Sort of surprised we didn't see Lea at all, given how much Winter-y stuff was going on here. Didn't much like the little Captain Hook girl fae, but eh.
Demonreach ended up being about as cool as expected, and I liked the purpose it ended up serving. But now I'm doubly curious as to what Rashid did to make it carry a grudge against him.
Blatant hints that there is something special about Mac. About Harry's birth (starborn). About various other things. I'd picked up on most of that before though so this mostly just emphasized it.
I liked everything up until the Wild Hunt flew out over the lake. Maybe it's because I was tired, but I never quite get emotionally invested in the scene like I'd been in earlier books.
I liked what was going on with Molly in terms of plot and while the new power structure between Harry and her could be interesting, I'm not THAT sure I like it.
Frickin' loved the tiny little chick fae. No idea what's wrong with you, Cheddar. You're clearly evil or something. It's like looking at a puppy and going "Nope, that's not cute."
In summary: Most bad-assed build up ever, but that's all it feels like. Build up. I wasn't at all satisfied with the battle.
Plus. One less jailbait fairy. Never a good thing.
Thought about it a bit more, and I think I feel like it was... sloppy. Or something. In several places.
I'm totally on board with the whole Nemesis thing. I had actually wondered if something like that could be possible back when we got the Black Council moniker since I'd read Mistborn around the same time. I.e. a "big, bad force of some kind is exerting influence over people."
But the part with Cat Sith especially struck me as being a bit off. I had been reading the adversary as being a sort of infection that gets into your thoughts and changes them, shapes you to its will, and so on.
But Adversary!CatSith didn't have the memories of Cat Sith fetching a coke for Harry. Apparently he didn't even know that he was supposed to be following Dresden's orders. So if that's the SOP for the adversary taking control of a being then how the hell has it been so effective? You'd think that sort of forgetfulness would be noticed a bit more often with wizards and minions of various kinds.
Not to mention that Lea didn't seem to be all that forgetful when it was infecting her, though I'm willing to write that off as her actively fighting it still when Mab caught it and cured her. Cat Sith lost that particular battle apparently.
Maybe it'll be explained as it having access to the memories of the one it infects but it has to actually sit down and go through them and it didn't have time with Sith. I dunno, but it felt sloppy.
The bit with the Wild Hunt so conveniently showing up also felt sloppy. Way too damned convenient. And sure, it was implied that Vadderung had a hand in it somehow. It seemed that the Erlking and Kringle set it up somehow specifically for Harry to use it to his advantage. The Red Cap obviously knew it was coming, but if I was supposed to assume that he summoned it then that seems sloppy too. The whole thing was just a little too contrived. Sloppy. I felt like a little more development around it, so that Harry seemed to have "made his own luck" more like he has in the past, would have helped.
Harry had plenty of opportunities to ask Molly about the parasite. Sure they were busy, and I completely understand that everyone had far more pressing matters to attend to, but simply mentioning it and asking her what she knew about it would have taken two minutes. For this book I'd have fully expected the result of that conversation to be along the lines of "I don't know / there isn't time right now, but..." or something. It's obviously material to deal with in the next installment. But again, it just felt sloppy that it never came up when there were chances for it to do so.
Murphy taking Harry's return in stride could have been explained better so as not to feel like it was sloppy writing. I'm not saying Butcher was wrong to portray it this way, even if it's a bit odd, but the setup for it didn't make it as believable as I'd like.
A few of the revelations about the roles of Winter and Summer felt... strange. Winter was created to protect everyone from the looming threat of Outsiders and Summer is there to protect us from Winter? Okay, that's a neat idea, but technically that makes Winter stronger doesn't it? If Winter can hold off both an assault from the Outsiders and still stay even with a Summer who only has to worry about Winter? I think that was even mentioned in the book. Can explain it by saying that Winter fiercely protects it's territory in all directions, including fighting Outsiders and Summer and the mortal world, and that Summer is just a barrier between Winter and the mortals that it would enroach onto otherwise, but... again, just, sloppy feeling. It no longer feels like Winter and Summer are perfect counters to each other and now it's just Titania being a perfect counter to Mab. And that's fine, but it felt sloppy the way it was done.
And why Winter anyway? I had the impression from the book (which I read too fast, I'll admit -- I'll have to read it again soon and see what I catch on the re-read that I missed the first time) that it wasn't always Winter. That in other times it was someone else who defended against the Outside.
There's other stuff I could go into that I liked, or didn't like, or wanted to see, or was happy to see, and so on. But I guess I'm trying to focus more on what I considered to be sloppy writing in this post? Dunno.
Oh, Mac. I felt like Mac was just conveniently tacked into everything so Butcher could have a chance to highlight that he wasn't quite normal. He didn't seem to fit in the story like he was supposed to be there. Sloppy again? But he'd been just fine until this story, despite people like Maeve apparently knowing his past, and it seems oddly plot convenient for him to suddenly be vulnerable to things like kidnapping.
And what happened to Murphy's band of city protectors? Billy and Georgia and Daniel Carpenter and whatnot? In Ghost Story she had this whole thing going, and apparently they were big on working together to get stuff done when it came to protecting the city, and if that was the case then I'd expect to have a seen a little of their operation. As it was Murphy just kind of waltzed into the middle of things and all the infrastructure surrounding her that we saw in Ghost Story was a footnote.
Granted I didn't really want to see them, because I didn't like that part all that much, but I expected to feel like it existed.
Molly also went from crazy Rag Lady to... extremely functional rather quickly. Given that at the end of Ghost Story she'd just had another mental whammy smacked down on her via Corpsetaker I'm surprised that she managed to get her shit together so quickly and effectively. I liked it though. I liked that she'd gotten a nice apartment out of something she'd done for some magical beings and I liked that she'd become more competent and less crazy -- but it didn't feel like it fit, given how recent and messed up the events of Ghost Story were.
Also seems like Dresden would at least have had a bit of internal monologue to wonder just why people kept calling "starborn" even if he didn't bring it up to anyone to ask what it was.
Okay, I need to get back to doing other stuff, and this is getting really long. I'm not gonna edit it either, so yes... that means my post is likely sloppy as hell. Irony.
TL;DR: I felt like the writing in Cold Days was sloppy in a lot of areas. Things often felt shoe-horned into the plot instead of written in naturally and that bothered me. I did quite enjoy the read though, and I expect I'll get around to a re-read a lot sooner than I did with Ghost Story.
Guess #1: Gatekeeper released the skinwalker from Turn Coat.
Guess #2: Dresden is told by the Gatekeeper to kill Titania in order to put Mab's chosen heir on the Summer throne, freeing up more manpower for the Gates.
Guess #3: Let's pick the most un-wintery character in the series... I pick Butters, becomes Winter Knight.
Guess #4: Molly gets out of being Lady. Somehow. I blame Uriel, if only because that's where I see this series going.
Guess #5: Harry gets the Mantle of the Winter Lady. Because... yeah, I've got nothing other than 'for the lulz.'
Will expand on this when it's not 4AM.
My guess as to why the "island holds a grudge" against the Gatekeeper: He tried to do what Dresden managed to, become The Warden, except he pissed it off instead of convincing it to let him. Perhaps he tried to enforce some kind of control of what he thought should go on instead of forming more of a true partnership? Dunno, but that's my current guess.
I think that can be explained as the Adversary planning on tearing Harry apart, rather than fooling him. Although yeah, Sith had only been infected for about twelve hours max; depending on how it worked it might not have known everything.
This. It was awesome, but it didn't really add anything to the plot that couldn't have been equally served by having Harry, in his capacity as Winter Knight, call up a battalion of trolls or something. Maybe not sloppy, perhaps, but like I said in my earlier post, it contributes to the fatigue I felt at the end of it all.
Actually, the last time I made this comment about Dresden, it was with Changes...because I didn't think that the Erlking's appearance added anything critical to the book. Huh.
I'd just like to say. I'm delighted we have an official name because I was so fucking sick of you punks calling him 'Outsiderbane'.
Anyone else find it interesting that on Halloween, the day that immortals can be killed but can also grow (if I understood that scene correctly), is also the same day that Harry Dresden was born?
Also we've got preliminary rules for time travel in the Dresden-verse, and Bob apparently likes Firefly.
Yeah, yeah, but we've known for ages that something was significant about the time/place/whatever of Harry's birth.
This book just gave us a bit more to work with in terms of theorizing what exactly is special about him, between the new significance of Halloween and the term "starborn" and whatnot.
Speaking of... I always had the impression that Justin knew about whatever it is that makes Harry special, but after reading Ghost Story again a week or so ago I'm not so sure anymore. In early books I also thought Elaine was special in the same way, but there hasn't been much evidence that she's anything more than a wizard with power/skill similar to that of Harry (or similar to what Harry had before all his powerups).
I wonder what other dangerous information Bob has. How to kill an immortal is probably the big one, but I imagine he knows other hidden secrets. I would not want to mess with him.
I'd count "how to become a god via Darkhallow" to have been a pretty major secret as well. Granted he doesn't have that knowledge anymore, but yeah. Makes you wonder what else he knows that he's keeping mum about knowing.
"And for the briefest fraction of a second, the shadows falling from the tower and the cottage in the gathering morning behind us seemed to flow together. The eye he winked with vanished behind a stripe of shadow and what looked like a wide scar. His face seemed leaner, and for that instant I saw Vadderung's wolfish features lurking inside Kringle's."
Hardback pg 506.
Talking about how masks and mantles are worn or discarded.
Kringle = Odin. Grey Council interference.
That was my take on it anyway.
Edit: I can't remember entirely, but I think Kringle also makes a reference near the beginning that 'he wasn't always Santa Claus' or something.
This answer your question?
Molly becoming winter lady was pretty damn jarring when I first read it. Although now the idea of her slowly transforming into a replica of Maeve is growing on me as a genuinely interesting concept. Just hope he manages to do better than the abrupt jumps to and from her Ragged Lady persona.
Separate names with a comma.