Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher

2012, ROC

My son and I read the Dresden Files books as they arrive.  I saved this one for his Christmas present.  He finished it in 3 days as did I (even while I was leveling up in WOW).

My son perhaps said it best "Everything you'd want in a Dresden book."

It is filled with magic and feats of daring combined with thoughtful explorations of motivations and politics.  It is also infused with humor.  Butcher is one of the few authors who continues to surprise me.  My son agreed--we were both caught off-guard by the ending.  I won't spoil it, but if you are able to anticipate what is to happen I will award you a badge of foresight.

This is a book I would easily recommend to adolescents.  It particularly will fit students who are drawn to fantasy/adventure and quest literature.  It could easily be used in coordination with game-based learning.  There had been a video game (RPG) version as well as a one season television series. He also had a series of comic books based on the Dresden characters.  For you graphic novel/comics students this would be a leveling up.

Why am I such a fan?  First, Butcher himself has a great take on becoming a writer and the work ethic necessary to reach goals.  Anyone who needs "inspiration" should look at what Butcher says about these topics.  Secondly, Butcher has extremely complex characters.  Although good and evil are at constant war, most of his developed characters have a mix.  It is excellent character development and can help adolescents and young adults explore roles and decisions.  Finally there is Harry Dresden himself.  He's funny, in a way that will appeal to many readers, especially adolescent and young adult males.  But, as a mature woman I can also appreciate the humor.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.  Butcher suggests that he's hoping for 23 books in the series.  Cold Days is #14.  I'll try and be patient while waiting.  Maybe I'll try one of the comics to tide me over.  But, I have a reading assignment--look for A Confederacy of Dunces in my next review.  (My book club's choice.)

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