The Price of Valour by Django Wexler

Kalavan

Journeyed there and back again
#1
IMHO the best instalment of the Shadow Campaigns series thus far.

While I liked The Shadow Throne, with its focus on the political intrigues taking place around a dying king, I greatly missed the epic military battles of the first book.

In this third entry Wexler reach a nearly perfect balance between war and politics.
Winter leads her troops in a series of brilliantly written battles, and in the meanwhile goes through a significant development, thorn between her lover’s requests and her duty as a soldier.
But it is the Marcus/Raesinia storyline that really shines, with their investigation in the corrupted regime that has taken control of Vordan. The two storylines converge in two brilliant, correlated showdowns.

There are finally also some minor advancements in the conflict with the Black Priests, and finally the protagonists are starting to wonder about Janus’ intentions.

Probably my favourite ongoing military fantasy series, 8,5 for this book
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#2
My review from back in July:

Another great addition to the The Shadow Campaigns. This series is quickly becoming one of my favourites.

After the revolution Vordan evolved into a constitutionary monarchy. The Directory (="government") is led by Maurisk and firmly in the grips of the Conservatives and finds itself battered from all sides as the surrounding countries have declared war. Meanwhile the Sworn Church and the Penitent Damned wage the same war to restore their power in Vordan and retrieve the Thousand Names.

This intriguing background is a great setting for the characters to thrive. Marcus and Raesinia wrestled through a detective-kinda plot while Winter delivered a war campaign plot interspersed with handling a gender-mixed regiment. I liked the campaign side of the plot immensely. Wexler describes them tremendously well and paints the 18th century-like battle strategems and tactics vividly. Nice change of pace from all the medieval stuff fantasy most often features.

Janus remains without a doubt the question mark of the series. Displaying all the loyalty and strength the country of Vordan needs he seems to have an ulterior motive we'll no doubt have to wait for until the end of the series (5-book series). The general is a mastermind in the field and has an uncanny feel for anticipating moves. This aspect is bound to be fleshed out in the future but for now it gives a nice twist to the overall plot.

The two elements I found annoying and jarring where the female regiment and Jane. The female regiment features too heavily imo and Jane is an immensely aggravating character. Both aspects connect with Wexler putting a tad too many female characters in the overall cast. It becomes a bit unseemly.

I'm very much looking forward towards the consequent books. The ending of the book cultures a new set of rules along which the plot will develop I'm quite happy with.

Strong points
- Penitent Damned
- Janus
- Military campaign aspects

Weak points
- Jane
- too many female characters

Overall, 8/10. Down from the 9/10 of The Shadow Throne (but that book was sublime).
 
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Bridgefour

Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg
#3
I'm listening to the third (albeit very slowly cuz I'm not driving as much), And I'm only a little bit into it, but I have to say I agree with Griffin in that the female characters (at least winter and jane, sothe is cool) are getting f'ing annoying. It strongly reminds me of my irritation with Lyrna in Queen of Fire, almost exactly the same with the all female regiments turned soldiers overnight, and I hope it doesn't ruin this book like it did Ryan's third.
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#4
This was the best in the series so far. I loved the first, disliked the second, and was impressed with the third.

Lots and lots of action, military stratagem & battles, magical duels, strong characters, and a compelling story.

Great gunpowder military fantasy with a lot going on between the pages. I'm glad to see Wexler has returned to form with this entry.

I'd rate this one a solid 8.3/10 and one of the better fantasy books to come out this year (especially considering the last one was only so so).
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#6
I didn't like the Urban warfare and city setting as much. It wasn't a bad book, but Wexler is best when he's taking a company of soldiers on a harsh marching military campaign against an implacable foe.
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Then we'll have a difference of opinion, because I really liked how Wexler wove the revolutionairy atmosphere in the capital into the story with some veiled references to the French revolution. It's obvious though the militairy tactics and strategies work best in the field while campaigning.
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#8
Yea. the second book had mixed reviews from people. It didn't do it for me, but I wouldn't by any means say it's a bad book. We'll see what happens in Book 4, but so far, I'm a big fan of the series.