First Lord’s Fury

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.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Princeps’ Fury

After managing to engineer peace with the Canim, Tavi holds to his promise and escorts them home.  Widespread devastation meets them and the belief that all would be well once Varg and his countrymen had set foot back on their own soil vanishes as they realise the dreaded Vord had laid waste to their entire country.  Back home, his loved ones are fighting their own battle with the Vord and go far and above the call of duty for the love of Alera and her Furies.  Alera must prevail.

So far, this series has been nothing short of amazing and yet Princeps’ Fury still manages to step it up a notch.  It has been a while since I read book four but I had no trouble at all diving right back into the story and greeting old friends.  Some authors tend to have a few major characters that I love intensely, but Butcher manages to sneak an entire legion into my heart.  Tavi, Kitai, Isana, Bernard, Max, Amara, Varg, Nausag – the list just goes on and I have no idea how he keeps them all straight or devotes as much intense attention to them all as he does.  With so many central characters I wouldn’t fault you for thinking it would be too many for them all to be so well rounded. Honestly though, the characterisations are just so good. I even felt I got to know the people better than before as they acted and reacted to the events unfolding in their lives.

The plot itself for this book is very different to what I was expecting.  Shocking, emotional, harrowing and heroic.  In between it all there are still shots of humour and love.  I found this book deeply emotional and I can’t say more than that without spoilers but if you are at all like me, have some tissues handy.  The pace chopped and changed a bit but that was dictated by the story and didn’t detract at all.  In fact it would have been a bad thing had certain scenes been rushed as it would have lost all impact and emotion, and that is where the quality of the storytelling lies.

A truly engaging and entertaining book by a master storyteller!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)