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this is the last book. by this book the plot was very familiar following the same style as the other books. this book was quite as good as the previous ones, as it felt like i was in a rush to finish and find out the ending to the whole series. however it does tie up all the lose ends.
I love Jim Butcher's writing style--and thank God I do, otherwise I never would have been able to make it thru 6 volumes of the Codex Alera. I love that he can build a scene as finely detailed at he does, but halfway through book 5 I was thinking about abandoning the series (which I HATE to do) but there *is* such a thing as *too much* detail! Seriously, this could easily have been shortened to maybe 4 books, but I can see why he felt the need for disparity between novels to fall where they did. Butcher is great at creating characters that are easy to love --and love to hate, for that matter. Kitai and the Marat could have been fleshed out a bit better, though. For all his detail, you'd think he would put a little more into his main character 's only love interest and her people. But the thing I kept finding myself wanting was more background and lore of the Furies. Shoot-- the title of all 6 books included the Furies--and we're just supposed to use our imagination to fill in the (fairly gigantic) gaps?? Come on, man! If we had your imagination, we wouldn't need to read your books, now would we?
Didn’t get all paperbacks. Two were hardcover, which I don’t personally care for. I also didn’t get one of the books that was supposed to be delivered. Had to message the seller and am expecting that last book at some point. Most were in good shape, one was really rough. I will likely buy copies that meet what I was looking for and give these away to a friend.
First off, let me begin by saying that I am a great admirer of Jim's work, and that for the most part this series is good and I enjoyed it. I will readily admit, however, that I began to lose interest in it after book 4. In fact, if I were to read the series again I would begin with book two and end with four. Here is why:
1. The Protagonist - Octavian "Tavi" is the perfect human being. While he begins the series as a flawed character that can't keep up with his sheep, doesn't have furies, and has a questionable future, he ends as the most powerful fury crafter in the realm with unquestionable talent in nearly every aspect of life. For what it's worth, I found myself caring less and less about Tavi, and maybe it's because he became boring.
2. Uninteresting and Overly Used Themes - There is a great, northern ice wall, because of course there is. What fantasy series doesn't seem to feature some ginormous barrier to keep the evil out? Themes that are explored and touted are the evils of slavery, women overcoming traditional gender roles, a boy at a magic academy, the boy who appears to have a humble, poor background but actually comes from nobility and is born with all the right genes... this isn't just a problem with this series, however. It's a problem that plagues the genre in a very big way.
3. At the end of the day I couldn't even come close to finishing the last book. There was nothing that made me want to keep listening (I have the audible version). I don't know if I just got tired of listening to the narrator's voice, if the Vord just weren't interesting enough, or if it was something else. I do know that it was extremely predictable: the queen was revealed to be the weak point of the Vord in the second book already. You don't have to read four more books to know that she's the key to their defeat. Where is the suspense? Maybe that's what killed it for me. All the plot twists and surprises that were earlier encountered in the series are gone.
If you want to read a really good series, check out the Dresden Files. Out of 15 or so books, I only think Ghost Stories is a dud. You won't regret it.
Butcher somewhat recovers his form after a dreadful last effort (with the exception of the ice ships). The problem here is similar to what he has experienced in the Dresden files. There Harry was much more interesting as a novice wizard and has become boring as an all powerful mostly p-oed one. Here Tavi was a wonderful character in his journey of self discovery. The conflicts and resolution with the traditional enemies - the Marat, the Icemen and the Cane - showed Butcher's genius. The problem with the last novel and with this one is that the enemy is the vord, whose advance is made by mold and whose evil queen is 9 years old and who obviously needs a hug. I thought that since the queen was defective as evidenced by her children queens trying to kill her and from her conversations with Isana, that Butcher was going to get Tavi to find some mediation with this monster (albeit a 9 year old monster). No. All those pages were just filler as Tavi and the queen fight to the (queen's) death and Tavi and all the previous enemies go off into the sunset holding hands. But not to worry, since the vord took over Canim - land of the Cane - and it will take them 10 years to consolidate their power there, we can expect yet another novel featuring this truly dreadfully boring creation. What is even worse is that Tavi has matured into an all powerful fury-master. That is a real shame. I thought that at least he would work in tandem with Katai. But no, he needs no help to work his craft. Alas, Butcher has demonstrated an innovative and creative imagination. He can give us better than this.
All in all pretty good. Well developed characters with even some sympathy for the Vord Queen. Plot straightforward mostly...biggest problem was the very repetitive descriptions of hacking and slashing up the Vord. Also, very few of the major good guys get killed...would be better to have a few more losses.in the good guys rather than have birth l of them revived in healer`s tanks.
As usual with Jim Butcher, this is a compulsive page turner, but it seems the author lost interest in this exciting and original series in the final two books. He certainly stopped committing himself to the themes and arc he'd so beautifully developed in the first four. Maybe he got weighted down by too many characters, plot lines and too many enemies.
In the first books, Tavi's growing maturity and moral education, and his and Isana's slowly awakening powers are handled with intelligence and with a great, mounting dramatic build. The final two books, though, are mostly just one big battle scene after another. Few unexpected plot twists, no particularly surprising cleverness from Tavi, and sadly, we don't get to see his fury-crafting power as it grows. In Princeps, he's pretty much stagnant fury-wise. In First Lord, there's one scene showing him being clumsy with Alera as his flying tutor, and then suddenly he's super-fury-man. After such a delightfully slow dramatic build-up to Tavi first discovering his potential for fury-craft in first four books, the development of his powers feels ignored, rushed and phoned-in. We never see him manifest his water fury, fire fury, air fury, etc. We never get to see him experiment with them and their potential. He barely continues to find creative new uses for furies in the final two books. His only fury was Alera, who felt like a kind of a short-hand 'trick' so Jim Butcher could end the series faster.
Also, in the final book plot developments crop up for no reason other than to keep things moving. Things spin out of Tavi's and Isana's control and at the end of too many chapters they are reduced to vowing victory or vengeance or determination to vanquish their enemies. Unlike in the earlier books, the plot is not moved forward by Tavi's plans or deviousness. For the most part, he reacts rather than acts. And things just seem to happen for no reason - I'm thinking right now of the vord queen's gratuitous attack on the encampment at Riva. And the way the vord queen is finally defeated feels anticlimactic. Tavi neither outsmarts her nor outmaneuvers her nor even overpowers her. It was confusing to me that on the spur of the moment Tavi awakens the great furies Garados and his wife, and we are told that if they are left unbound or unclaimed they will devastate nearly all of the continent. Then Tavi kills the vord queen simply because she inexplicably flies away into a storm of wind-manes and lands wounded, while Tavi, after pursuing her, somehow remains unharmed. And the unleashed Garados and his wind-fury wife are never mentioned again. What did I miss?
Jim Butcher is talented and capable of so much. As eagerly as I look forward to his books I wish he'd write fewer and take more time to make each one more special, with lucid characters and compelling themes instead of relying so heavily on fight scenes and action. (Not that I mind fight scenes and action! Love 'em! But without something to say about the human condition, action scenes that make your adrenaline flow are just so much porn - you enjoy them while you're reading them but then feel sort like you wasted your time at the end.) Sometimes prolific artists seem to enjoy writing (or they enjoy paycheck? no idea - tho that's certainly anyone's right) so much it's almost like they get high on the volume of their output. So maybe Jim Butcher is happy writing as he does - more power to him, we need happiness in the world. But as someone who appreciates genre fiction that is a cut above the rest - I have to point out that there are some prolific writers - Terry Pratchett and P.G. Wodehouse come to mind - who manage to make nearly every one of their books something special.
Butcher writes page turners, he understands that conflict=drama. The first books in this series are among my favorites in fantasy. They were about something. In Furies of Calderon, when at the end Tavi didn't show up to receive his reward from Gaius Sextus because he was gathering his sheep on the mountainside - something he'd promised to do in the first chapter of the book - I knew I was reading more than just a book about battles of magic and swords. It resonated. I felt there was something Butcher was getting at about the human condition, about growing up - something with emotional power. It's sad that the last two books didn't fulfill the promise of the first four. I look forward to Jim Butcher one day writing a truly outstanding book or series in which the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts.
The characters are as strong as ever, with all of your favorites coming back to make a final stand defending the realm against the unstoppable Vord army. Finally, it seems that the people of Alera have been able to put aside their petty political bickering (mostly) and band together for survival. While this is good for the characters, from a narrative perspective, it makes for a somewhat double-edged sword.
While this book features fewer infuriating bureaucrats that make you want to throw them off a cliff, it does mean that the vast bulk of the book is dedicated to lengthy battle scenes. If you like lots of battle scenes, you're in luck. But for fans like me who are more interested in the political intrigue and character development, this finale will be a little bit of a letdown.
That said, Jim Butcher does a splendid job of taking the characters that you've grown to love over the last five books and found a way to put nearly every single one of them in severe mortal jeopardy at some point in the book. I found myself gasping with concern for several of them at multiple points in the book. (One chapter ended with no less than five characters suffering potentially fatal injuries. I actually had to put aside the book for a few days just to reconcile myself with the fact that at least one of my favorites might not survive to the next chapter.)
There's redemption & betrayals. Destinies are fulfilled. Kitai continues to be her badass self. It's a thoroughly competent conclusion. I suppose I was expecting more but I'm not really sure what that would have been. Doesn't matter though. If you're a fan of the series, you pretty much have to read this book regardless.
It took me several years to get through all 6 volumes of this series. I liked the basic concepts of the fantasy world Butcher created here, but I had big problems with many of the characters. There were few human characters I really liked or cared about. The increasing length of each book was also disheartening, considering that so many scenes are just the same situation over and over... holding out against an enemy with unlimited resources. Many readers, I think, will have a problem with the central character Tavi. He is very much a Mary Sue, on top of every situation and out-thinking everyone. [Of course he is genetically programmed to be a superhuman leader.] A big problem with the central menace, the Vord, is that we never learn enough about them to make sense of their goals. They want to exterminate all life other than themselves, on every planet they arrive at, but what would happen then? What would a stable Vord society be like? Similarly, we never learn enough about the Vord leader, the first-born Queen. For example, how does she breed more Vord, and how does she control the breeding to generate more and more fearful warriors? We never find out. The particular Vord Queen we get to know has a lot of the personality and interests of a small female child... which is her weak point, a vulnerable emotional side that is what allows Tavi and Kitai to defeat her.
At the end of the last novel in the series, the entire basis of the static Aleran society has been destroyed utterly, which is a good thing because it was completely stagnant and had a crippling social hierarchy. But we don't really glimpse what is going to replace it, beyond the fact that racial and economic barriers to social mobility have been eliminated. It's still an absolute monarchy!
It's a long series, and the reader does obtain some rewards, but on the whole I am not sure the attention and effort required to read through the series is rewarded in the amount it merits.