Book 5 of the Codex Alera
Read by Kate Reading
Penguin Audio, 18 Hours
Jim Butcher has created an epic series of magick, swords and mythical beasts in the Codex Alera, and he's approaching the finale of the series according to his website book six is to be titled First Lord's Fury and will end the series. Knowing this and having listened to all the previous four installments, I listened as slowly as possible not wanting this relationship I have developed with the land of Alera and the born leader in Gaius Octavian, Tavi to his friends. Jim Butcher's creativity has created a world that I had hoped be able to visit forever.
Once again Kate Reading provides a great auditory escape into Jim Butcher's world of Codex Alera. Her vocal characterizations are simple enough to put sound to the characters and to be able to inflect emotion into those same voices.
The beginning of this series brought us the character of Tavi, who has a secret, the secret is slowly revealed throughout each book that Tavi is the son of Gaius Septimus, son of the First Lord of Alera and heir to that same title. Septimus was killed in a major battle between on of Alera's enemys, the Marat. Tavi's mother, Isana, hid Tavi's fury crafting abilities so that he would be safe from those that would assassinate him and the first lord to take over the crown. Tavi grows up without the ability to fury craft, making him a freak among the Alerans.
The Alerans use a special magic/sorcery called fury crafting to call upon the furies of the elements to perform functions from the simplest tasks of lighting lamps, pumping water or building homes from wood or earth to military uses of flying, increasing strength, healing, or functioning at super human speed. Everyone in Alera can perform some fury crafting to some degree, the most powerful of which are leaders of the separate states in the land, and the First Lord being the most powerful of all.
In Princep's Fury Tavi has been accepted as the Princep's (heir to the crown of First Lord), however the recent civil war in Alera has left many citizens disgruntled and wanting for something more than what Gaius Sextus, the First Lord, seems to offer. Alera has had many enemies surrounding the land The Marat to the south, the Ice Men to the north and across the sea to the west the Canim. Through diplomacy and kindness has created an ally through the Marat. While not so much of an ally, the Canim have agreed to cease hostilities as Tavi and his legion assist them in building ships and returning to their homeland. Tavi has earned the respect of the Canim Leader, Varg and through that a working relationship with the Canim.
One other enemy that has come to Alera from unknown origins is the Vord. The the first book in the series Tavi awakend a Vord Queen while proving himself to the Marat leaders. The Vord is an insect like species that are extremely powerful. They take forms similar to the people in the lands they invade. They can takeover a living being body (animal or human) through a small taker that eats its way to the brain of the "host" and then controls the "host's" every move. Also the Vord Queen can read minds thus making her a dangerous enemy. Many people in Alera do not believe the Vord to be real, until now.
The Vord have begun to attack Alera, this time around they are using fury crafting, which only Alerans have been able to do. This makes the Vord even more dangerous. To save Alera the First Lord, Gaius Sextus, has plans. The first of which is to send Count Bernard (Tavi's Uncle and a powerful fury crafter) and his wife Countess Amara (former cursor/spy for the First Lord) to discover how the Vord are able to suddenly use fury crafting. Next, in order to bring in more legions Gaius sends Tavi's mother Isana to the Shield Wall in the north, where the perpetual war with the Ice Men is waged, to form a truce so that the Legions there can come fight the Vord, and finally the First Lord lures the Vord to the Aleran capital where he can fight the Vord Queen. Killing the queen is the only way to stop the Vord.
While the possible destruction of Alera goes on, Tavi has arrived with ships full of Canim in their homeland, only to discover that the Vord have destroyed all the people and lands save for one small faction fighting a never ending war with the Vord. Tavi must then fight the Vord side by side with the Canim to escape back to Alera.
Once again, with Princep's Fury, Jim Butcher has created a masterpiece of high fantasy with excitment from many factions that will sweep you up in the excitement that is Codex Alera.