[Book Review] Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Meg’s Review of Cold Days by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #14)

This review will not contain plot spoilers for Cold Days. However, all other Dresden stories are fair game!

Cold Days

As this is a fairly family-friendly blog, I won’t write what I thought during those last chapters of Cold Days. Suffice to say, the phrase started with a “holy” and ended with just about every single four letter word in existence.

Jim Butcher appears to be playing the longest con in literary history. Typically, books in a series only refer back to three books back — five, max — because, I would assume, that’s about how much authors can handle. If you’ve got a dozen books in play, with fifty different subplots running around, things just get ungodly messy. Best to keep things nice and neat and nebulous. Continue reading

[Small Chirp] Harry Dresden around the world

Left to right: Turkish, Hungarian, German, Polish, Dutch

November 27 marks the upcoming release of Jim Butcher’s latest book from his Harry Dresden series, so in preparation of getting my hands on Cold Days, I found myself comparing translations of the novel title with theothercanary – Russian, Spanish, French… Before long, we were hooked. For me, though, it wasn’t just about the translations. It was the translation of cover art between one country and the other. Last week’s post talked about four English-language publishers and the covers they brought to the table. In this post, I’m gonna do some speculative globetrotting.

What does a cover and title say about the reader? Most foreign publishers end up doing some variation on the original or branded cover (whether for legal reasons or otherwise). Above, I pulled together five covers from five different translations of Storm Front (above), all of which did their own tweak on McGrath’s U.S. cover.

But publishers don’t always stick with the original – or even stay within the style of the original (examples right). I love speculating about what cover decisions say about the publisher, its target demographic, and the reader.

Below, I’ve pulled out some covers published in three (very dissimilar)  countries. Continue reading

[Small Chirp] Cover Art in the World of Harry Dresden

Cold Days by Jim Butcher comes out November 27, and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty stoked. It’s the 14th book in Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy series following wizard Harry Dresden, the only openly practicing wizard in Chicago (and probably the U.S.). Of course, over the course of the last 13 books, Harry’s done a whole lot more than that – he’s pissed off a whole lot of powerful people (and non-people), faced off against the wizard council, squared off against demons, dodged death, and lodged himself quite firmly on my to-read list forever.

Book 14When we last saw him in Ghost Story – but, no, this post isn’t about that.

This post is about my own favorite thing to do outside of reading and blogging. It’s about browsing through covers and seeing how they change between editions.

Here is what I’ve found:


I see these covers in most every bookstore. They’re from Roc, a Penguin Group imprint and Butcher’s main publisher. Christian McGrath’s art creates a moody atmosphere that becomes more and more ingrained in Harry Dresden’s story as the poor guy continues to get mauled in increasingly creative physical and emotional ways over the course of the 13-book plot-line. Continue reading

The Best and Worst of Urban Fantasy Boys

Guest writer, Rhiannon J. Taylor, writing for the Best and Worst series. Chirp!

BEST: Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Okay, now anyone who happened to read my review on Storm Front and Fool Moon will know that I didn’t have the best experience reading Jim Butcher’s first two Dresden Files books. That ought to say a lot about the other guy.

But let’s start at the beginning of why Butcher’s Dresden Files wins my Urban Fantasy recommendation. The series is one of the best urban fantasies out there for a number of reasons. First of all, it brings a perspective that isn’t often found in Urban Fantasy: a male first person narrator. And while I enjoy most books in the urban fantasy genre, I tend to prefer a male narrator to a female one. Perhaps because I relate better to men, or perhaps it automatically breaks the Urban Fantasy norm, who knows, but for whatever reason, if the book has a male narrator, I’m giving it a shot.

Next, you can’t have a best read without an interesting premise and Butcher delivers. Harry Dresden is a wizard in Chicago working as a pseudo private investigator and Lost & Found box. Occasionally, he’s brought in as a paranormal consultant with the police for his magical expertise. It’s a nice change from the wizardly norm—you know, bushy beard, graying, and hanging around in sleazy taverns looking for bored young men to send out on pointless adventures. Continue reading

[ Book Review ] Harry Dresden’s Ghost Takes a Stroll

Meg’s Advanced Review: Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

This review will be free of Ghost Story spoilers (outside what has already been released by the publishers). All other books in the series are fair game.

I really thought that my happiest nerd moment this past weekend would be my trip halfway across the country to see Harry Potter.

I was so, so wrong.

The day after the midnight premiere, my ex-roommate/best friend #1 walked into the living room with her phone thrust in front of her.

“My mom is at the used bookstore,” she said. This was not entirely odd, as her mother practically lives at a used bookstore. But her tone said something else was afoot. “Look what she’s found.”

And there, on her phone, was a picture of Ghost Story. Dresden Files book thirteen. Just sitting on the shelf.

Two weeks before it was supposed to be there. Continue reading

[ Book Review ] When you got a vampire reading your book…

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

(First of the Dresden books)

(That's three and a half canaries, but who's counting?)

When I first picked up Storm Front by Jim Butcher, I was prepared to fall in love. It was an urban fantasy series that had snagged itself a strong enough fanbase to get one TV show season on the air (a series I watched and of which have no clear memory).

Harry Dresden is a PI. He specializes in finding lost things—especially people.

He also happens to be a wizard-on-retainer for the Chicago PD.

On the same day the down-on-his-monetary-luck Dresden finally gets a PI case, he’s called in by the Chicago PD to investigate a brutal murder that has the distinct whiff of dark magic.

I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories. It was a done deal I’d make friends and whip my way through these books.

That didn’t happen.

I ground to a halt in the second chapter, irritated by a narrator who was trying too hard to be witty and a story that was hitting just too many paranormal detective cliches. I switched over to Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and thought of it no more.

A few weeks later, TheOtherCanary kicked me yet again and I reluctantly uploaded an audiobook version of the story onto my mp3 player. James Marsters-Spike-from-Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer’s reading gave Harry Dresden voice a world-weary wryness that chucked that first problem right out the rolled-down windows of my car. Harry’s narrative voice no longer grated–I’d been reading the book wrong.

But the story itself still dragged, and I left off reading. That was two months ago.

Yesterday, on a whim, I started idly leafing through Storm Front again, and, on page 107, I realized that something extraordinary had happened. Continue reading