From Publishers Weekly
The creativity Butcher displays in his Dresden Files series is less apparent in the derivative sixth fantasy yarn set in quasi-Roman Alera (after 2008's Princeps' Fury
). New readers are tossed into a complex plot without any explanation of the considerable backstory, making it hard to connect with the characters or action. The book centers around yet another world-shaking battle between good, represented by Alera, and evil, represented by the vord queen and her legions of scorpionlike followers. A major character is falsely believed dead; there's a traitor in the ranks of the good guys; there's also heroic sacrifice, combat against overwhelming odds, etc. Banter in moments of extreme crisis is absurdly common but never convincing, and neither characters nor story develop anything resembling depth. (Dec.)
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The fitting conclusion to the Codex Alera ties up a lot of loose ends. Tavi, first lord of Alera since his grandfather’s death, struggles to hold together a realm about to shatter. The insectile Vord hold far too much of the land, including areas that surrendered willingly. Alera’s old enemies, the Canim, are now allies, which makes both reluctant partners tense. Certain Alerans of rank persist in nattering over whether Tavi is the rightful ruler. And Tavi’s lover, Kitai, insists on being properly courted to maintain respectability in Aleran eyes. With Tavi trying to keep ahead of one quandary after another and find a way to defeat the Vord, and with various intriguers met in the previous five volumes trying to salvage their schemes, the pace here is much faster than in the immediately preceding Cursor’s Fury (2006), Captain’s Fury (2007), and Princeps’ Fury (2008). --Frieda Murray