Posted on December 3, 2008 by Monica Valentinelli
Princeps Fury is the latest novel in a series dubbed “Codex Alera” by Jim Butcher. The fifth book in the series, its plot centers around a promise made in the previous book and the deadly war between the Vord and well, everyone else. Alera, the Kingdom run by the First Lord who isn’t well liked for many, intricate reasons, is under attack while Tavi escorts the Canim back to their homeland over a turbulent sea.
Whenever I read a book in a series like this, I have to ask myself two questions. The first question is, “Could you read Princeps Fury without knowing anything about the Codex Alera series?” The answer to that question is, “No, definitely not.”
I’ve read every book in the Codex Alera series, and I feel that Princeps Fury was a bit more action-focused and specific than the other books. In order to propel the plot forward, a couple of major events had to happen and a few details needed to be revealed. (Not going to spoil it for you, so don’t worry about that.) The events are pretty in-your-face, but the details will mean a lot more to someone who has been following the series all along and will get lost on those that pick up this book for the first time. Much of the diplomacy and catered politics that typically run rampant in Alera quickly unravel when all hell breaks loose, so you’ll have to pay attention when different characters enter the fray to fully understand how the minor characters have fared since the fall of Kalare.
The second question I always ask myself is, “Could I skip Princeps Fury and wait for the next one in the Codex Alera series?” I’m really torn with the answer to this question after reading Princeps Fury, because I felt that the book was necessary. It’s a good story that evolved from a narrow plot (i.e. the Canim returning to their homeland). The few details released coupled with the ending give the series a lot more possibility. There are a lot of different directions this series can go now, based on the story told in Princeps Fury. However, the lack of Tavi’s character development really didn’t thrill me all that much. Isana, in my opinion, grew the most as a character followed by the First Lord. Kitai and Tavi are both the same, and Tavi still can’t command his furies by the end of the book. I had hoped that we’d see him grow more as a character because of his new “title,” but that wasn’t the case.
My prediction is that the next book will be a lot more complex and interesting than this one. Now that there are faces to watch for and titles to grab (hint, hint) it’s anybody’s game in the face of Alera’s universal enemy — the Vord. Any more details about the specifics and I’ll only end up spoiling it for you if you like surprises, but feel free to discuss your thoughts. I’m still pondering what I think about this book even after I read it.
Review by Monica Valentinelli