Compared to the previous books, changes focus somewhat. For the first time, we’re not actually focussed solely around Alera and the domain and battles of the humans. Instead, we’re going to Canim where unfortunately the Vord have taken over nearly anything . It’s a neat change of focus and a crazy escalation of stakes–although admittedly not unexpected.
The parts with Tavi are pretty wonderful. He’s really likeable and does a great job of overcoming problems by outthinking them, even now that he’s actually coming into powers of his own. It’s almost unbelievable just how good he is at planning, but he’s the protagonist. It works.
The change of scope is a bit weird, better matching the first two books than 3 or 4. But they all sort of work together once you realized this is where things feel like they were going all along.
The one thing that’s a bit weird is the treatment of Fidelias. Given that he betrayed his apprentice and the entire realm in the first few pages of the first book and has personally tried to kill any number of the main characters (and often succeeded)… I’m not sure what to think about where Butcher is taking him. It’s an interesting story and I’m glad he did it. But I don’t have to like it.
Onwards! Only one more!