Rebel Fay: a novel of the Noble Dead by Barb & J.C. Hendee
Having found out what happened to Leesil’s father (in the last story), our heroes turn their attention to his mother, who is being held in the Elvish lands by the local equivalent of Hassan-i Sabbah, the leader of the Hashishi, the elf they call “Most Aged Father” and his caste of the Anmaglahk. Invading the Elflands is not easy, and Leesil’s determination to go on at any cost drives a wedge between him and Magiere. Chap, their dog who is inhabited by a Fay, nonmaterial intelligent beings from the Elflands, has a mission to bring Leesil back, but he doesn’t know what for. But he begins to suspect that his brethren are not being honest with him. Elements of the Anmaglahk have plans of their own, some of which might help our heroes and some of which may harm them. And then there’s the issue of Magiere; vampires cannot enter the Elflands but she can. If the elves find out what she is, they will likely try to kill her on sight. Most Aged Father has his own secrets, which will lead him to try to turn Leesil against his companions.
An element of black humour is added to the story by the fact that Leesil cannot speak the elvish language, and seems to show no aptitude for it, accidentally insulting many elves as he goes along. On the other hand, Wynn, the young human sage who accompanies our heroes everywhere, does speak the language. Not even she can teach him, though.
The plot grows more complicated, but we learn more about both Leesil’s background and, surprisingly, Magiere’s. Most Aged Father’s secrets go a long way towards explaining her birth, a mystery that has haunted the series since the first book.
Cursor’s Fury: Book three of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
Butcher’s best series (and considering that his other series is the highly successful Dresden Files, that should tell you something about how highly I rate this one) continues. Tavi, our hero, is in his second year at the Academy, learning to be a Cursor, one of the agents of the High Lord of Alera. He’s sent off to study the Alerans’ ancestors with a scholar, but gets called back to duty to be the High Lord’s spy in a new legion forming up. It is unlikely to see action in the near future, so Tavi should be quite safe . . . until the High Lord entices one of his enemies into acting against him. Not only does the enemy produce unexpected legions from hiding, he also invites the Canem, wolf-like humanoids who hate the Alerans to invade. Suddenly, Tavi’s legion is the only thing standing between a massive Cane invasion force and the rest of Alera. And when the rest of the officers are killed or badly injured in a sabateur’s attack, Tavi is left in charge. Can a new legion, led by an amateur, defeat an overwhelming force of powerful, savage enemies?
The series continues to develop in interesting directions, and I honestly have a hard time predicting what’s coming next. Highly recommended, but you have to read the first two.