This is the fourth book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. There are six total books in the series with the 6th book “First Lord’s Fury” being released in Dec. 2009. This was a great book and really pulled the series to a good point.
Tavi is still acting as Captain of the First Aleran and has spent the last two years holding the line of war against the Canim. Tavi is recommending seeking alliance with the Canim because he believes the Canim were fleeing a larger enemy, the Vord. Unfortunately the Senate decides to take an interest in the conflict and sends out incompetent and conniving, Senator Arnos to command over Tavi. From there things get worse and worse and many lives are lost. Tavi, Isana, and the First Lord himself are forced to take actions that they never could have foreseen in an effort to save Alera from destruction.
This was an excellent next book in this series. The storyline switches between multiple viewpoints, but does so in such a way that it is never confusing. The number of characters is vast, but kept manageable. A glossary labeling who was related to whom would have been a nice addition; still with wikipedia you can review that online if you are confused. Much of the story deals with great battles, but there is some adventuring that balances that out. Readers who are fans of one or the other types of fantasy, should find a little of both in here.
Tavi, Kitai, and many of the other characters really step it up in this book, taking risky actions that make them forces to be reckoned with. The book is hard to put down and has you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Butcher has an excellent writing style that easily conveys the surroundings of the scenes without pushing aside the great action scenes, it is very easy to read. The characters are very engaging and you are desperately pulling for them through the whole book. There is also some light touches of humor throughout that lighten the story so that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Things get worse in this book than an any other book in this series, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is a wonderful book and I am going to start reading book 5 immediately. You definitely need to read the previous books in the series to understand what is going on in this book.
If I have any complaints it is that Tavi comes up with one successful hair-brained scheme after another. It seems a little far-fetched…you would think with all the risk-taking Tavi does one of his schemes would be a complete failure. He does have some partial failures, but everything works out in the end.
Overall a great book and a great series. I found the first couple books in the series to be a bit slow and the characters not as engaging as I had hoped, but this book made the whole series worthwhile.
This book will be the first one to go towards my 100+ Book Reading Challenge.