In Calderon it began and in Calderon it will end, one way or another. The last defence and hope of the realm against the Vord Queen and her endless horde. If Gaius Octavian and his scattered army can’t win through, it will be the end of all things.
It’s bittersweet picking up the last book in a series. I know, no matter how it turns out, it’s going to be the last one. I try and read slowly, take it all in but as usual I get caught up in the story, progress at my usual pace and all too soon I am on the last page. After I closed First Lord’s Fury, I sat there for a good fifteen minutes just staring in to space to absorb it and think it through. It’s simply that good.
Some books I finish and while I might have really enjoyed it, I am straight on to another. Others, like this one, I have to wait, reflect and in some respects grieve a little that it’s finished. I didn’t expect it to have that much impact.
Jim Butcher is a master at creating characters you really care about, a story that is compelling and extremely engaging and this book takes both of those into overdrive. It’s a bit of a dizzying cast, but with the Vord taking Alera apart piece by beloved piece, her defenders also have to be numerous. Having said that, you get to see all the characters you’ve come to love fight for the realm that they loved, or those you hate continue their work to betray it. It’s harrowing and grim yet moments of hope, love and laughter lighten your heart and keep you glued to the pages. So many heart in mouth moments, heroic feats, sacrifice and sorrow for those that are lost are matched with the fast pace of battle. At times I felt as if I was in the character’s shoes, not knowing what emotion is going to hit you next.
If there is anything negative I have to say about this book is that not quite as much use was made of the alliances as there could have been. Then again, I had to remind myself that while there were a considerable number of Canim present, that was all that was left of their race and at the end of the day, it was the battle for Alera.
A breathtaking end to an amazing series.