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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Empty Shelf/Mad Reviewer Challenge #44 - First Lord's Fury, Jim Butcher

The epic - and I mean, truly epic - conclusion to the immense Codex Alera series.

Tavi has overcome some truly remarkable challenges and tests since we first met him as a lowly country boy in The Furies of Calderon, most remarkably since most of them were without him having access to his furies. Since learning more and more about himself, what he can do, and the necessity of stepping into his rightful identity of First Lord, he has truly become a force to be reckoned with - something that no-one could ever have imagined of him, not even himself.

However, now comes the biggest battle of all. The war with the Vord has been waging for some time, but it is now or never. They have to be defeated, or Alera will be wiped off the face of the earth, leaving no trace but a memory, and even that will fade. Tavi - Gaius Octavian - knows it is up to him. He needs to get back to Alera from Canea as soon as possible. The legions are doing their best but even with the best of their tactics - and there are truly some amazing battles - the Vord simply outnumber them, headed up by the deadly, immensely powerful Vord queen. It all comes down to her - she must die, for without her the Vord masses are useless, or Alera will die.

 However, though the book is obviously battle-heavy it loses none of its potency in other areas. There are still so much to learn about the characters - Ehren, in particular, comes into the fore and we learn just how far Invidia Aquitaine will go to cling on to scraps of power - and the politics are still at play on both sides. The story is so huge and detailed on several complicated fronts through the familiar characters - though, again, Ehren takes part in the narrative itself -  it's remarkable to think how Butcher manages it, like a conductor of a great orchestra.

A fitting and triumphant end to a truly fantastic fantasy series. It's sad to say goodbye to it, in many ways.

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