Listen to the complete Codex Alera.
©2009 Jim Butcher; (P)2009 Penguin Audio
This book was an excellent conclusion to the series. It's so good to see an author stick to his guns and tie up a series on time! He's left enough room for future books in the series. Looking forward to seeing some new books in the next few years; however, I'm also really looking forward to Jim's new SciFi series :) If you're a fan of the series this book will not disappoint!
Jim Butcher has brought this series to a wonderful conclusion. Like Butcher's other series, the main character of Codex Alera, Tavi, is clever and inventive. Half the fun in watching how he solves the problems he is faced with. The other half the fun is that Butcher isn't half bad when it comes to describing battles and handling the timeline while parallel scenes are occurring.
One could complain that the book is predictable, but then I would have to ask, "Where have you been for the last four books? Have you ever read a book by Jim Butcher?" So, If you are bothered by predictability, I'd be very shocked you got to this book.
I do appreciate that this is the end. Not that I wouldn't or couldn't read more, but there is something wonderful about completeness. We all know that epic fantasy can drag on forever, and so when an author has the foresight to pick a good ending point, it's refreshing.
All in all, Codex Alera is a great story.
Kate Reading has done a wonderful job reading the series, and her performance has done much to enhance my enjoyment of it.
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
The series ends here, on a feel-good footing, with some minor dangling threads for a potential sequel. The epilogue was a welcome sight, since the main story-line abruptly ended after several lengthy battle scenes, portrayed from several viewpoints.
Having read all six books, I'd classify this series as fantasy light, although there is apocalyptic death and destruction, grim butchery, murder, rape, slavery, treachery, betrayal, mind control, and zombie-like creatures. However, the good wins out, the fellowship holds hard to one another, and Mordor is finally doomed. There's a prevailing feeling of esprit de corps, camaraderie, romance, and redemption.
Contents are PG-13, with bloody violence but no swearing except "bloody crows" and no overt sex (but it's implied, and once or twice a bit more than implied).
Told in 3rd person, the dialogue is decent enough, and sometimes humorous. I chuckled several times.
About a dozen characters play key roles, showing up in each book across the series. Butcher focused largely on the hero's character development, from harmless but highly intelligent shepherd boy to unforeseen savior of the realm. In book one, Tavi (Octavian) is 15 years old. In this book, he's about 24, I'd say. The character of Fidelius also continued to develop across all six books.
Tavi plays David to an apparently invincible Goliath. Aided by loyal friends, he's your typical dragon-slayer, but there are no real dragons here, only draconic beasts, including the powerful and terrible (and terribly pathetic) Vord Queen.
Accepting a friend's bizarre writing challenge, Butcher has successfully brought together two disparate themes: the mysterious Ninth Roman Legion (which apparently disappeared from Northern England at some time around the 2nd Century) and....well...Pokemon (elemental furies). On a fantastical planet named Carna (as in incarnate, incarnation) the Lost Legion developed the ability to befriend and harness the uncountable elemental furies that spring from earth, water, wind, fire, plants, and steel. Highly skilled fury-crafters with military zeal or ambition join the Legions, becoming Knights Terra, Knights Aeris, Knights Ignus, etc. Romans (Alerans) have grown fat and happy, complacent with their powers over the centuries, so they're caught unprepared when a superpower of apocalyptic proportions invade. It felt much like the invading barbarian hoards at the fall of Rome, but far more fantastical and apocalyptic.
Writing style isn't as strong as it could be. Butcher writes decent pulp fiction, but I grew so very weary of "wolfish grins" and repeated references to "the burned woman" (Butcher needs to develop nuanced vocabulary). For me, there's a bit too much introspection and internal moralizing. Told in 3rd person POV from several perspectives, scenes hop from one place to another, often at cliffhanger moments, and characters pause the action (and slow the pace) to mentally philosophize about the morality of their actions, especially regarding war and the painful necessity to kill in self-defense. These ethical convictions became transparent, repetitive, and not particularly interesting, since they are predictable, and commonly found in fantasy novels.
I tagged this series as alternative history, with a fantastical bent. There are many parallels to historical Rome: the rights of the Roman / Aleran citizen, enslavement, siege weapons, shield walls (aka Hadrian's Wall), crucifixion, legionaries and centurions, emperors (Gaius), and high lords and senators, "juris macto" dueling, etc. And there is the Aleran Empire, as nicely detailed on the map, where "all roads lead to Rome" (aka Alera Imperia).
I read and listenend, alternating between the two formats. As usual, Kate Reading brought the story to vivid life. However, infernal blaring trumpet fanfare occurred repeatedly throughout the audiobooks, diminishing the audio experience to some extent. There's a good map of the Realm of Alera at Butcher's website.
It is a great listen. Narrator's style complemented the flow of the book. I was waiting for this book, and it did not disappoint. It has a very satisfying end, and it does leave opening for future books. Sometimes it is a bit action heavy, but action is not exhaustive that author manages to be creative with most of the action sequences. Book does have good message in it, and touches upon some deeper topics. Over all, I would recommend this book
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
I've been a huge fan of Butcher's since first discovering Harry Dresden on TV. Sorry, Jim, if you read this. I’ve read that you weren’t pleased. If it’s any consolation, I’ve enjoyed the books even more. 'Codex Alera' didn't disappoint this fan, and 'First Lord's Fury' is a fitting finale. I stayed up late to finish the last hour of this great listen. Kate Reading is, I believe, one of the best that I have heard.
If you consider comments about what the author didn’t include to be a spoiler, don’t read further:
I was hoping to get the answers to some questions about the history of these people and how it ties into our own. The Roman references, names, and language beg for explanation that never materialized for me except for vague references to the humans, and other races in the story, coming from somewhere else. If I missed something, I would love for another reviewer to clue me in! Given the length of time that has passed since the last volume in the series, this one, was published; I don’t think we are going to get a lot of additional answers. Maybe we are just to call it alternative history and move on, but my minor OCD was looking for a little more. This in no way detracts from the quality of the work or the enjoyment that I got out of this series. I’d gladly recommend it to fans of the genre.
Come on Jim, get to writing! There’s easily room for another six.
I enjoyed this book intensely. I listened to it twice already and I am getting ready to listen to it once more. I truly hope JB isn't done with the world of Alera. There is so much more I want to know about what happens to the characters.
I've read the first books in the series and wanted to read this one as soon as it came out. I had a long trip planned that required lengthy plane travel and thought I'd give an audio book a try...prevent that bleary eyed feeling after hours of reading :). This was very, very good. The writing was great and the narrator did a wonderful job bringing the words and characters alive. It was so much easier to carry my MP3 around the airport and on to the plane than a large hardcover...also the story drowned out the crying kids two rows up :)
This last book in the series does not fail to live up to the expectations of his fans. It does enough to answer any open questions from the first four books while leaving room for another (I hope). Jim Butcher's writing style completely immersed me in this fantastic world. His writing style so thoroughly brought to life his characters and their environment I completely lost myself in them and his fantastic Alera. The story line is original and inventive but grounded enough to foster familiarity. I have never been so disappointed to have a series end. In addition, there is the added bonus of having his characters brought to life by the most talented narrator in the business, Kate Reading. Overall, this series is by far the most entertaining and fulfilling read for me in many, many years.
This was such an epic series, I am a huge fan of all the big heavy weights Jordon, Fiest, Goodkind, Eddings... ect and Butcher has raised the bar. Fantastic listening and the Audio by Kate is second to none, I have been searching through her work just to listen to her narrate again! Didn't want it to end and didn't want to turn it off!
This is the last of the series. and its great. After listening to the wheel of time by robert jordan, the Host by Stephine Meyer, Kate Reading is the best of the best narrator's. I dont imagine she's narrates unless its a good book. she made a great series by Butcher even better. a great listen
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