The larger story arc of the series so far is wonderfully fascinating and intriguing. I have enjoyed following the main characters' arcs through the story. It is a bit black and white in some ways with the Very Bad being Very Bad and the Very Good... well, you get it, but there are a lot of grey areas and characters (Lady Placida is fantastic!) The story involving Fade and Isanna is beautifully written; Lady Aquitaine (et al) is fascinating...
My biggest problem with how the series is developing - and it's a major issue for me, is that at least 1/3 of the book is taken up with battle tactics during the war which seem much like a fantasy version of a History Channel documentary. Hours and hours are spent in detailed battle plans and execution. Nothing there there, just details of swords/arrows/spears/etc. While I can see how probably many fantasy fans find this exciting, to me, it became extremely tedious. Every battle or development in the war, over time, started to sound exactly the same in every respect. There's absolutely nothing creative or of interest for me in this kind of war documentary. To quote from the book: "And the battle went on, and on. And on." And it does.
This incidentally was why, of the Dresden Files, "White Knight" is probably my least favorite (huge battle there, which, compared to this Alera book, makes it seem short....)
Jim Butcher remains a favorite author of mine, but I'm not sure that I'll continue on with this Alera series, just because of these endless, tedious battle-upon-battle scenarios.
Last word: I sincerely wish that there was more actual story and development here. Mr. Butcher's creative imagination is strong, unique and wonderful. If you love battle scenes, you have a lot to love in this book.
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