Fantasy Round 22.7: Cold Days
Yup, it’s time for another book from the Dresden Files. Dresden has just finished being dead, so it’s time for him to avert yet another impending disaster. As ever — spoilers!
Nobody Tells Me Anything
As they say, poor communication kills. As I’ve noted in previous reviews, Dresden gradually gets better at avoiding this — the annoying, soap-opera like drama that occurs when somebody refuses to explain something important, or leaves out a critical detail. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean anybody else is doing any better at it.
Mab, Queen of Winter, wants Dresden to kill Maeve, the Winter Lady. Which is… odd. And she never explains explicitly; she makes Dresden figure it out for himself. Most of the book could have been avoided (or simplified) if she had just explained herself… but she really doesn’t work that way, apparently.
On the plus side, Demonreach, the spooky island of great spookiness, is actually quite forthcoming. Movie included, curtesy of Bob the spirit-in-a-skull.
Oh, dear. As I expected, once you introduce Seven Laws of Magic that should never, ever be broken… they’re all going to get push, shoved, and shattered at one point or another.
This episode’s example is the law against meddling with time.
There are two parts to this. First, Merlin (yes, that Merlin) made a massive prison for epic supernatural evils of ultimate evil (think Cthulhu), and used time magic to construct it at five different times. This kind of makes me wonder if Merlin, who established those Laws of Magic, partially just wanted to avoid having somebody undo his work. Does using time magic have the same seductive appeal as other forms of dark magic (murder, meddling the people’s heads, etc.)? Or is it just that much more dangerous?
Said prison is the spooky island, Demonreach. And, at some level, it makes sense to have time magic be a part of the working. That’s part of Merlin’s traditional repertoire, and there are probably some big nasties whose time magic can be countered to prevent them from escaping.
But I’ve got to know: why was there an “echo” from the destruction of the island backward in time, warning everyone that it was about to be destroyed… when the island wasn’t actually destroyed? Or, if the echo was just from being attacked, why couldn’t our heroes tell the difference?
I want to know where the fey came from.
It’s not a trivial question, since the Queens of Faeries are clearly ancient; but how long have they been operating? We now know that Mab herself was once mortal. Was she the first Queen of Air and Darkness, however long ago that was? Were the Courts of Faerie explicitly established to protect the mortal world from Outsiders?
Did Merlin have anything to do with this?
I wonder how much is going to be answered in future books. It’s entirely reasonable to leave some questions unanswered — after all, that’s life — but there should be some reasonable explanation, even if we, the readers, are left to ponder the puzzle on our own.