Codex Alera continues to be stunning Fantasy – I’m honestly not sure how this Jim Butcher is the same who wrote the Dresden Files. Those are good, but nowhere near Codex Alera. In the second to last volume, we see a great mix of character development, new characters, characters with legitimate but opposing views, and of course brilliant last minute tactics. All characters we care about get a fair bit of development, and since nearly all characters are very very nuanced, including the deeper introduction of non-human cultures, I’m more than willing to accept the one or two plain villains. Seeing an end-of-the-world level struggle on all sides of the three plots (Amara and Bernard, Isana with the frost people, Tavi on an entirely different continent) was a good mix, even though I felt the chapter endings/POV switches were not always executed at good points.
I’m pretty sad this series is over soon now, especially since I’m not one for re-reads (I’d love to, but in the same time I could read new books!) So I hope the last volume, First Lord’s Fury, will be an appropriately awesome ending.