Sunday, 23 October 2011

Review: Academ’s Fury (Codex Alera 2), by Jim Butcher

First of all, a quick word on the Mistborn Trilogy business. Apparently there were some errors with the e-book version, so it was withdrawn and now that corrections have been made it’s available again. That said, I checked yesterday and the trilogy (as a single purchase) wasn’t up, so maybe it will be in a few days.

I liked the first Codex Alera book so much I bought the second immediately afterward (and I’m presently sorely tempted to get the third). In Academ’s Fury the main scene of action is Alera Imperia, the capital city. Tavi is two years older, has made a few friends and perhaps even more enemies, and has barely time to sleep or eat due to his studies and other work.

A being from the first book plays a highly significant role in this one (I don’t want to give much away) and poses a grave threat both to Calderon and Alera Imperia. In Calderon Bernard and Amara are reunited with Doroga to face an enemy of the Marat which is encroaching upon the valley. The First Lord continues to face his High Lords in subtle conflict, and a new chap, Kalare, is added as a potential rebel.

The pace in the first half of the book is somewhat slower than in Furies of Calderon, which was almost ferociously fast throughout. This works pretty well, allowing the new characters to be defined, the political subplots to be fleshed out and Tavi’s own story/character to be painted. In the latter half it picks up speed and resembles (in terms of pace) the fantastic finale of the previous book.

We also get a new species introduced: the Canim (singular: Cane). They’re basically 9’ bipedal hounds. The author doesn’t overuse them and does a good job with the main Cane, Ambassador Varg. The Iceman (another Aleran foe, apparently held in checked by the northern provinces) are also referred to, but do not appear directly.

There’s a bit more romance that Furies of Calderon, but it’s a side-order rather than a main course. The meat of the story is the subtle political machinations of Lord and Lady Aquitane, Lord Kalare and the First Lord’s loyal followers, combined with the grave threat I mentioned earlier.

One negative is that for some reason the formatting is slightly off. There are spaces between every paragraph which is an unfortunate annoyance. It doesn't bother me too much, but if that kind of thing irritates you then the physical version may be preferred.

In short, Academ’s Fury builds upon an excellent first book, fleshes out the political conflict, expands the interesting world Mr. Butcher has created and is well worth buying.

Although the Codex Alera is set in a fictional world, he has written some other works which are set in the [mostly] real world. For those who like that subgenre of fantasy, they’re reviewed in a friendly corner of the internet:


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