Review of FIRST LORD'S FURY by Jim Butcher (see the Jim Butcher website)
BOOK SOX OF THE CODEX ALERA
Ace Books, November 2009
Gaius Octavian (Tavi) has found his fury-craft and has inherited the throne his grandfather held for so long--but his grandfather also adopted a second heir, the lord who served as his chief rival and who was responsible for Tavi's father's death. Still, the two men must work together if the Aleran Empire is to be saved.
The vord, after overcoming the land of the Narash, have invaded Alera. Although the high lord's dying fury slowed their advance, their queen is in full control and continues to make progress. Lord Aquitaine's attempt at a stand fails and he's backed into a corner with, apparently, no way for Tavi and the legions he's bringing, to make it in time. The vord will defeat Alera in detail...unless Tavi can pull some very special magic and special negotiations, out of his hat.
Throughout the Alera series, Tavi has faced obstacles, mostly without any magic of his own. Now, he's got to harvest all of the skills he's developed, all of the alliances (and friendly enemies) he's made, all of the power that runs in his blood. But the vord queen is cunning and knows that Tavi must target her. Given time, she can summon a limitless supply of vord warriors...but she too is under a time pressure. She's learned too much from the humans, become something not quite vord. Unless she can consolidate her position, she won't be ready when the Vord queens from across the sea seek her out and destroy her.
Author Jim Butcher (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Butcher) concludes his Alera series with an exciting series of battles, diplomacy, skullduggery, and even romance. Aquitaine, who was the villain in earlier novels, is now seen as a tragic hero. Steps Tavi sees as essential will set the stage for the eventual destruction of the empire he's fighting for...and for the spirit who embodies that empire.
Although reading the entire series isn't completely necessary, readers picking up with this final book may be confused by the array of people and non-human characters vying for space on the page. Of course, the entire series is well worth the read.
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