Cold Days by Jim Butcher
I wish I could write like that. I don’t know how he does it, but I wish I could write like that.
I can’t, though. I can’t weave together a mix of humor, and moral philosophy, and myth exploration, and — this phrase, though trite, is in this case quite literally true — non-stop action, and somehow make it all come out right, together. I can’t make a story that satisfying, have that many moments when the reader is nodding his head, grinning madly, even fist-pumping while saying, “YES!” Dozens of them. Dozens of moments like that: from the pitch-perfect reference; to the beautifully lucid description of how it feels to love, to hate, to fear, to howl, to weep, to suffer; to the heart-thumping adrenaline-pumping cheer as the righteous defeat the vile, again and again.
If it isn’t clear yet, I love these books. Love them. I love this book. The Dresden series has never let me down, but the remarkable thing is that — even through fifteen books, now, counting the short story collection Changes — it just keeps getting better. I don’t know how Jim Butcher does it, but I hope he never stops. I’ve read this one before, when it came out, but I didn’t remember much of it; none of the denouement. And so it had me, rapt and wild-eyed, as everything came together at the end, with just the right mix of pure victory with surprising defeat to make it seem — perfect. I read this 500-page novel in two days, just as excited about the next chapter as I was the first time I read it; that I remember.
I can’t write like this. But at least I can read like this. And I plan to keep on doing it: Skin Game was published just a couple of weeks ago, and it’s sitting on my shelf right now. I’ll bet you anything it will be even better than Cold Days, as Cold Days was better than Ghost Story. I’ll let you know as soon as I finish it.
Probably be a couple more days, though. I have to go to work tomorrow.
If you liked this book, I would recommend — reading the whole series over again.
And, I suppose, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, the Nightside books by Simon R. Green, and the first few Rachel Morgan books by Kim Harrison.