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First Lord's Fury: The Codex Alera: Book Six Kindle Edition
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Things are looking pretty bleak in "First Lord's Fury," and at first it's hard to see how Jim Butcher can not only satisfactorily wrap up his Codex Alera series, but also turn around the war against the Vord so the Alerans might actually be able to win. But this grand finale is a brilliant end for such an epic tale -- it's a bit rushed and scattered, but also a powerful and passionate story that leaves you thoroughly satisfied.
Gaius Octavian returns to his homeland, only to discover that the Imperium has fallen, many of the cities have been conquered, and his grandfather has been slain. What's worse, the Realm is divided over who the First Lord is, undermining his position. And when the Vord Queen offers an unacceptable surrender to the entire Realm (live but stop reproducing), Tavi reveals the depth of his determination: "When I`m finished, nothing will be left of your kind but stories."
Easier said than done. Isana has been kidnapped by the queen, and is slowly learning her reasons for this war. And Tavi must concentrate on driving back the Vord -- first in the furycraft-torn city of Riva, and then in the Calderon Valley where the conflict began.The final battle between the Vord and the Aleran legions begins... and it all will boil down to Tavi fighting the Queen herself.
"First Lord's Fury" is a pretty epic affair -- dozens of subplots to tie off and a large cast of characters to deal with. The grand finale is a powerful and masterful one, sweeping you off your feet... and the only real flaw is that the narrative is a bit rushed sometimes, and important stuff is skimmed over (the alliance with the Icemen... what, we don't see anything? Anything at all?).
But that is outweighed by the brilliant spectacle of the finale. Butcher is in fine form here, twisting together complex plots, big gobs of politics and powerful personal relationships. And he laces them with fun dialogue ("We obey without question." "We do?" "That was a question. You're questioning") and evocative prose ("fragile and beautiful, like a flower coated in ice"). And his brilliant battle scenes are an eruption of blood, insect monsters, swords and raging vast furies -- one highlight is a brilliant scene where Tavi tears apart city walls with nothing but water and plants.
It's also clearly the ending of the Codex Alera: Things can't get any worse without the good guys completely losing once and for all. Some people die, others live, traitors are revealed and desperate measures are taken. But while this story is ended, Butcher leaves the door wide open for more to be told.
And Tavi is the point that the epic story pivots on -- he's an enemy, an ally, a rival, a friend, a leader, a lover, a "father," and a son. Now he's carrying the weight of an empire on his shoulders, and facing terrible trials even if the Alerans win. The other characters are similarly strong: his fiery lover Kitai, quiet strong-willed Isana, Max, the stealthy traitor Fidelius, and Warmaster Varg. Even the bad guys are fleshed out: Invidia is pretty clearly going bugnuts, and the Vord Queen is shown both as a cruel villain and a confused childlike monster.
"First Lord's Fury" is a brilliant and powerful ending to the Codex Alera series, drawn back only by a slightly rushed narrative. A truly epic fantasy story, and one deserving of many rereadings.
Tavi or Gaius Octavian as he is now known, with Kitai by his side, is coming home to face the threat of the Vord which are now engulfing large parts of Alera as well as facing those that doubt his right of succession.
Battle rages on all fronts almost relentlessly from word go and the main characters go from one impossible situation to another. We have separate story lines involving Isana and Araris, Bernard and Amara as well as Invidia Aquitaine and the Vord Queen. And we come full circle, back to the Calderon Valley. Despite all the grimness of a near hopeless fight, the book does not sink into doom and gloom but again and again provides light in the darkness.
Amongst my favourite bits in this book are the complicated relationship between Octavian and Valiar Marcus, the ex-cursor Fidelias and the grudging respect some characters and not the least, the readers, aquire for Attis Aquitaine.
I have given it four stars instead of five because I felt that character development was not as good as in some of the previous books and the ending in the form of an Epilogue, did not manage quite the rousing finish I had envisaged. But I have to say, First Lord's Fury is probably the most action packed tomb I have read in a long time and I enjoyed it immensely.
Edit: if you are hitting the 'not helpful or helpful' button I would appreciate it if you could also leave a comment to say why. I posted the original part-review because I felt that finding out about those sample chapters and having a review of them would be something that people would be interested in. Getting that feedback will help me decide whether to 'stick my neck out' again in a similar situation. Thanks everyone :-)
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Codex Alera at its very best.