Harry Dresden fans: Cold Days release date announced! [SPOILERS]

I know there’s a fair number of fans on the board, so I thought I’d give a heads up; it’s been announced for November 27th.

That’s a lot sooner than I expected it – I don’t even think Butcher started writing it until this year. Hope he didn’t rush it – the last couple have been kind of, I dunno, perfunctory. And we’re in the middle, Empire Strikes Back, part of the story arc, so they’ve been kind of depressing as well.

AARRGGHH! FINALLY!

/I can quit anytime I want.

He gets no more money from me upfront. Not after the steaming pile of shit that Ghost Story was.

Here’s last years discussion of it: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=617193

I’m pretty sure he’s been working on it since last year. I think the release date was supposed to be in April or May, like Ghost Story was last year, but it was pushed back so he could do more work on it. I mean, I’m pretty sure he knows there’s folks with opinions like Snowboarder Bo’s, so one can hope he’s making sure he has his shit straight.

Personally, for me, this is his make-or-break novel. I’ll grant him some leeway with Changes and Ghost Story, as it was clearly a two-part story and he was clearly trying to do something epic and different. I didn’t even think they were all that bad, but I can see why others would. Cold Days will determine whether he’s permanently departing from the style of the first 11 books or if he’s returning to form.

I hated on Ghost Story when it first came out, but reread & reassessed it months later. Yeah, it departs from the formula we all know and love, but I think something like this was NEEDED. What happened in Changes, if you stop and remember everything from the big battle on, was fucking horrific. No sane person should have come out of that without mental wounds, and as we saw in GS, they didn’t. Butcher evidently thought it was necessary to step out of the formula for a book and just deal with that.

Molly, in particular, has been said to be sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, and when you recall what she saw in that battle, the fact that she nearly died, and what she did to Harry, she SHOULD have been just about broken. Murphy’s strong, but that battle, losing Harry and her job should have hit her hard, and it did. Harry having to personally kill Susan, the woman he loved, to save his daughter and defeat the Red Court is just all kinds of fucked up.

One of the things about the Dresden Files that I (and I assume others) love, is that there is no reset button. Circumstances and relationships change. Well, in Changes, Harry moved beyond simply defeating the Big Bad. He sold his soul to Mab and involved/endangered everyone he loved in an epically huge, suicidal assault that killed every single Red Court vampire in existence (probably) and changed the course of the world. If we’re going to keep believing these characters are human, they’re not going to bounce back from that easily.

I’ve not written a novel, but I can’t imagine dealing with all that within the context of the usual Dresden Files formula. Or maybe I have a literary form of Stockholm Syndrome: this book was forced upon me in the midst of a series I love, and after a year of me having to deal with it just BEING THERE, all un-Dresden-Files-like, I’m starting to love Big Brother. At any rate, I hope the detour that was Ghost Story is done, and we get a payoff for all that work we and Butcher put in.

A departure from formula is fine just so long as you keep the story moving forward. The entirety of what had been happening to the secondary characters in Ghost Story could have been summarized. In short, the entire book just wasn’t necessary.

I love some of those ‘secondary’ characters, and for that matter, so does Harry. Anyway, the purpose of the book was to show just how much his actions affected those close to him, and the world in general. It was arguably ENTIRELY about Harry, and his coming to understand the ramifications of his actions, and how to wield his growing power. Think of it like the ghost of Christmas present showing Harry the error of his ways.

I won’t deny this book was a sudden turn that none of us expected, and a really dark one at that. Once again, I hope there’s a payoff for the investment of time and the trust we placed in Butcher for the detour. He’s done pretty well by us in the past, but it looks like the series is a lot more ambitious than I thought going in. I should’ve seen that coming though, after reading his Codex Alera series. That was pretty ambitious stuff, and I very much enjoyed it, even though I’m not at all a big fantasy-fiction guy.

This.

The main problem I had with Changes AND Ghost Story was that the whole premise on which it was based was SO. FUCKING. BANAL. Harry fucking Dresden slips and falls and breaks his fucking back helping a fucking neighbor? SERIOUSLY? THAT’S IT?
That was so incredibly lame and such a Deus Ex Machina reason for him to have to go crawling (almost literally) to Queen Mab. He lost me right there and Ghost Story just cemented it.
For the first time, I am going to go to the store and read the end of the next book before I buy it, and if I don’t like where he’s taken it, I won’t be buying it or reading any more of the Dresden books.

This is a whoosh, right?
Looking forward to November! Will have to reread Ghost Story in the meantime, as even after going through the plot summaries online I have no idea what Rikwriter is talking about.

Seriously? You don’t recall the fire at his apartment building, and him falling off the ladder? All the fucking dangerous situations and monsters and he’s brought low at a key moment by falling off a fucking ladder? If he hadn’t broken his back and been paralyzed by that fall, he wouldn’t have had to become Mab’s knight or have himself assasinated. It was a very banal and out-of-nowhere event that pissed me off.

Eh, I liked it. Just because your a wizard doesn’t mean your immune to mundane dangers.

You’re reading a book about a wizard who has faced demons, vampires, monsters from other dimensions, Fairy Queens and a whole host of other world-threatening dangers and in the middle of his biggest challenge, he falls of a ladder and breaks his back?
Sorry, that’s poor writing. It’s short-changing your readers, it’s pulling shit out of your ass and pretending it smells like roses.
Yes, bad shit happens in real life. This book series IS NOT real life. I don’t read The Dresden Files for a slice-of-life regular guy story. I don’t WANT to read about how Harry gets killed by a home invader because he had diarreah and was stuck in the can. If Butcher wanted Harry helpless and broken and forced to take Mab’s offer, there were sooo many better ways to make it happen.
This was cheap.

Well, its not like it was some random arson or something. His office was firebombed by vampires as part of the central plot. But I don’t have any problem with the character in a fantasy novel being vulnerable to mundane dangers. I rather like it.

(Plus his back was fixed like five pages later. My only actual complaint about the last two books is despite calling it “Changes”, most of the changes didn’t actually make that much of a difference.)

Even tho it’s in my post in the Ghost Story thread, I just want to be perfectly clear: I loved Changes. I think it’s a terrific book, and a worthy addition to the Dresden Files.

But Ghost Story was a pile of fetid shit.

I was surprised at the reactions when Ghost Story came out and I see they haven’t really changed.

I was getting tired of the series once I read Changes. I thought the Dresden formula was getting old and Harry was becoming over-powered. I was definitely hoping for him to be nerfed. Ghost Story reenergized me. I found a whole new respect for Butcher then. It forced Harry to solve his problem without all the overpowered nonsense and use his wits. Wits and humor were the most important characteristics of Harry.

Plus I cried when he saw Mouse again. I"m a sucker for a “boy and his dog” moment.

My complaint wasn’t merely that he got injured, it was the banality of the whole scene…and not just some random scene that the writer had to slog through to get to the end, but a scene which wound up being the turning point. If he doesn’t break his back, he’s not forced to give in to Mab. if he is not forced to give in to Mab, he doesn’t have to arrange for someone to kill him. And the fact that he hired someone to kill him is what made that whole slab of dreck Ghost Story possible. Admittedly, Butcher could have done much better even given the circumstances of the corner into which he had painted himself, but the fact was he DID write himself into that corner, and just like Peter Hamilton in the Night’s Dawn trilogy, he didn’t have a good way out of it.

I agree with this. I’m glad I’m not the only person who hated GS. My friends were mystified when I said I hated it.

I’ll gladly shell out the cash for the next one, though. Any author who cranks out books like Butcher is bound to have a stinker now and again, and I knew he’d eventually have somebody become a ghost, which I dreaded it because I knew it would be awful. Sure enough, he not only made a character a ghost, he made Harry a ghost.

Looking forward to seeing what Harry can do now with this new powers.

Changes was all about the odds catching up to Harry.

For 10+ years he managed to keep the Blue Beetle running despite mold demons, monkey demons, zombies, Denarians, outfit hitters, etc. until finally a monster was in a position to crush it.

His home was always relatively safe from magical or physical assault, but two or three times throughout the series he points out in narration that setting fire to his house is pretty much the best way to attack him. The Eebs were simply the first villains to actually do it; had Grevane in Dead Beat or Binder in Turn Coat done it, he might have broken his back a lot sooner.

There’s another layer to it. We’ve been shown throughout the series that God has a Plan for Harry. We’ve seen the way He works, in coincidences and small events building up to something happening in the way it needs to. In Small Favor, which I’m rereading now, Sanya winds up in Chicago even before they knew the Denarians were in town because the snowstorm closed the airport. How mundane and non-supernatural is that (ignoring Mab’s influence on the weather)? Yet it allowed Sanya to be in town to help combat the Denarians. I can well believe that God needed Harry in Mab’s service, but due to Harry’s superhuman stubbornness he would never give in to Mab until there was literally no alternative. So, working in His usual style, Harry fell. Uriel painted it as a consequence of Harry’s own choice to climb the ladder, which is true enough, but there’s nothing that says the ladder couldn’t have been arranged to be just slippery enough for someone in Harry’s condition to fall off if he were to stand on it.

This is all entirely supposition, but it’s also consistent with the characters and the Powers we’ve seen in action. I think dismissing it as banal or mundane is a disservice to Butcher’s writing.