Cold Days – Jim Butcher – James Marsters

“Okay, come on,” I said. “You’re going to buy me a lawsuit, Bob.”
“Hush, Harry. Or you’ll go to the special hell.”
I blinked at that, confused. I’m not supposed to be the guy who doesn’t get the reference joke, dammit.

I find it … yes, inconceivable that Harry Dresden has not seen Firefly. That’s terrible. Someone get him a shielded DVD player, stat.

Somehow I seem to read the Dresden Files at just the times when they’ll hit me hardest.

…I could almost pretend I was there again. That I was home.
But they’d burned down my home. I had repaid them for it, with interest, but I still felt oddly hollow in my guts when I thought about how I would never see it again. I missed Mister, my cat. I missed my dog. I missed the familiarity of having a place that I knew, that was a shelter. I missed my life. I’d been away from home for what felt like a very long time.

I didn’t get to repay anyone for losing my home and my dog. It just happened. This was not the first time I had to put aside a Harry Dresden novel and … well, anyway. (Changing the subject rapidly) Gosh, I think there were more f–bombs dropped in this one; I haven’t done a count or anything, but they seemed more frequent. Of course, Harry more than had reason.

I went into this one with a little reluctance. I didn’t want to hear about Harry Dresden, Winter Knight. I wanted his old life back almost as much as he did. I wanted the Scooby Gang. But the reunions made it all worthwhile. My note at 20%: “That is, and probably always will be, the only time a heartfelt “Asshole” has made me curl up and cry like a little girl.”

Warning: embarrassing levels of FanGirl ahead

I always loved these books, always. But I may never read one again – not when I can have James Marsters read them to me. Are they perfect narrations? Not one hundred percent, really; there’s an occasional missed accentuation that tweaks the meaning of a sentence – but a lot of narrators do that. And what he lacks in the occasional mundane accent, he more than makes up in dialogue, both standard and Harry’s internal dialogue. Why would I go back to reading these books off paper or pixel when the “Oh” in my head wouldn’t carry half the meaning that the single syllable can bring off when voiced by James Marsters? That man, my God… I want to lock him in a room and make him read me all my favorite books. (Hush about any other things that might come to mind, this is a family show.)

I don’t like using cliches; “Dream Team” is a cliche. But nothing else comes to mind that so perfectly describes these books: Jim Butcher providing the universe, Harry Dresden living in it, and … just reading the books is like the first scenes of The Wizard of Oz. There’s nothing wrong with that – black and white can be lovely and perfectly sufficient, and after all “Over the Rainbow” comes during that part – but for some things you just can’t beat fully saturated technicolor. James Marsters’s narration is wide–screen, HD technicolor. Practically 3–D.

I always did crush a bit on Spike. It’s nice to still be in love with James Marsters. It’s a perfect marriage, this; Butcher’s geekiness makes mine look like I’m not trying, and the wisecrackery with which he imbues Harry Dresden is PHD level. JM’s Spike was part of one of the geekiest of geeky shows, and the wise Spike cracked was always among the sharpest and most fun (and quotable). Long may it wave.

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