My overriding thought in this book was as follows: "How the hell are they going to get out of it this time?!"
The four books in this fantastic series leading up to this point have been full of tricky situations that Tavi, Amara and Bernard, and the First Lord himself, have fought their way out of - both with furies and with wits - but this is different. The Vord are back (well, they never really went away. They were just a little quiet for a while) and immensely powerful, with a weapon they hitherto never had.
And the power is split. Gaius Sextus is not in the best of shape; Tavi has taken a group with him to Canea to escort the Canim back to their homeland and hopefully lay low from any potential assassins since his announcement as the First Lord's heir. Not only are the Vord invading on two fronts - Canea and Alera - their is the ongoing battle with the Icemen as well - a conflict that has been fought for years and occupies some of Alera's most powerful legions.
The nature of this particular book meant it involved a lot more battle scenes, which were very well done, but also meant that the politics that have been so brilliantly worked on in the last few books are set aside. Alera needs to come together, and scrap the in-house politics, because in a few weeks, there may not be anyone to squabble anymore.
This book, like all the others, has been a great standalone story, but I can't wait to see how everything that has been raised in this book is brought to completion in the finale of the series.