It's surprisingly hard for me to recommend Cold Days
. Nothing really clicks compared to past books. The tone zigzags around, a lot of new things are thrown at us, the humor tends to fall flat more often, and there's too much stuff that could be cut out. Even a lot of the references seem forced, like they're there because they have to be. I suppose it'll appeal to the biggest fans, but everyone else should approach with caution.
The biggest problem is the book's pacing. In and of itself, the plot isn't that bad, but it takes an incredibly long time to get going. About fifty pages pass before the plot begins properly, and as soon as it gets some momentum, it grinds to a screeching halt to make way for a completely different one. And just as that
one starts moving, it stalls for a second to introduce another one. By this time, the book is about halfway over. A large chunk of the book is exposition for concepts seen in-depth (or at all) for the first time, which makes me wonder if it could've been split into two. It certainly feels like it; the plotlines don't mesh particularly well and there are several subplots that ultimately go nowhere.
"Bigness", for lack of a better word, is another problem. As the fae (and, later, Outsiders) play a large part in the book, it's important to capture their inhumanness. However, almost all of their descriptions, whether as a group or individuals, have the same formula: "You think X is really Y? That's just peanuts compared to Z!" Rinse and repeat over and over and over and over
. It just doesn't stop. It doesn't get much better when Things and Concepts Mortals Cannot Comprehend start appearing; the descriptions are all variations on, "You wouldn't understand." Combining these prevented me from getting engaged in the story in any meaningful way and the stakes were quickly so absurdly high that I figured there was no way Harry could lose
. If the next book wants to be good, its scale should be a lot smaller.
Most frustratingly, loads and loads of questions are brought up. An arc is obviously beginning to form to answer these, but there are just so many dangling threads. If this keeps up in the next few books, I'll stop following the books altogether. I've seen the series have its ups and downs, but this is probably the worst book yet.