This installment picks up right where the previous one left, so expect some minor spoilers that I will try to minimize. The rebellion of a High Lord still goes on; the invading force is still present in Alera. Tavi and other regulars of the series are still where they were left in the end of book 3. The High Lord of Alera decided that enough is enough and it is time to abandon the diplomacy and show people his raw power.
What is the problem with this? It left Tavi to deal with diplomacy and resulting bureaucracy. This part of the series clearly shows that bureaucracy can be deadlier than invasion of barbarians, alien forces, and sworn strong enemy living across the sea - combined.
(The image is by Sandara from Deviant Art)
I am not kidding: by my estimate the losses of lives here were heavier than in the previous books. To make Tavi's life even less boring he happened to stay exactly on the way of some high-powered ambitious lords to their goals. Can his life get even more exciting than this? It surely can!
I am happy to say Tavi finally stopped being Gary Stu and became more fleshed out character. So did one other character whose name I skip to avoid spoilers. The end of the book was also quite good; it opened up interesting possibilities for the heroes, especially yet another unnamed person.
While the parts related to the High Lord and his companions' misadventures are quite boring, Tavi and the First Legion more than make up for this in the excitement department. I look forward to reading the next book of the series and at this point it is probably safe to say that I like it more than the better-known one of the author, The Dresden Files.
The rating is 4 stars. It is recommended to people who like Dresden Files, but think that Harry Dresden overstayed his welcome, or became annoyed with him.