Author: Jim Butcher
The First Lord Gauis Sextus is dead. The people and land of Alera are being overrun by the apparently unstoppable vord. With most of the country being vord-occupied territory and the food supply will not last another 18 months, the time for a final stand for all life has come.
Most of this book felt like one big action scene. With all the non-stop action for 400+ pages, there was not a whole lot of room left for an emotional build up. The previous 5 books have kinda covered all of the reader connecting to the character
In the midst of building up to this final stand are a few fights and subplots that seemed extraneous. Amara engages in a fight with a peer from her time at the Academy that was never mentioned before and it felt like it was just there for a few pages of filler. There is a subplot with the Canim ritualists that was somewhat pointless, it’s not clear exactly what it accomplished story-wise.
For a last book in a series, the emotional stakes were remarkably low. There is never a feeling that any of the main characters are actually going to die, regardless of the dangerous situations they are in at all times. The ending was just too satisfying for having built up to a basically apocalyptic final battle for all life. Butcher does not really tug at your heartstrings in any sort of painful way. The people that need to die, died. The people you are attached to, don’t. There was also a conspicuous lack of a “Harry-is-a-Horcux” moment. There are no revelations in the final moments, or anywhere at all in this book really, that add to the “wow” factor, no big plot twists. It ends exactly how you think it will.
Should you read this series? Absolutely. It is highly entertaining and has a cast of fantastic characters that it are very easy to get attached to. It is worth noting how different this series is from the Dresden Files. Jim Butcher’s sense of humor shows through in both series, but they are a completely different style of fantasy and thus a completely different style of writing.
Holy crap that was a great series! Dani has been trying to get me to read this for awhile, and I am so stupid that I didn’t jump on it sooner. As soon as I can, I am buying the whole series and its going on the shelf. From a well built magic system, to a well built world, to amazing characters that you can’t help falling in love with, I will reread this many times over. The final book, while a little anti-climatic, ended fairly well and left the door open for possible future series. I am excited to see what’s next from Jim Butcher.
As Greg mentioned that I had been bugging him to read these books for a while, I think my general feelings toward them are self-evident. I love them. Kitai is my spirit animal.
Another parting thought. I have a theory that Jim Butcher’s newest series, The Cinder Spires takes place in the distant future from Codex Alera. There is a line from one of the characters in that book that mentions something about another character’s “fury.” It is said about the emotion, not an elemental being, but then the character makes a comment about “if they new as much history as I do, they would find that ironic.” The cities in The Cinder Spires are also all built in plateaus (spires) that are miles high and about a mile across. The characters mention that they don’t go to the ground because the creatures down there are insanely vicious and no one ever survives it. The only creatures from the ground that we see are enormous spiders (familiar, anyone?). I could be completely wrong but it would be interesting if Alerans lost the war to take back Canea and ended up being overrun, taking to these plateaus to escape.