Author: Jim Butcher
Length: 700 pages
Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL
Plot Basics: Two years after the battle of Second Calderon, a power struggle continues in Alera as the First Lord is old and heirless and the political in-fighting to take his place is in full swing. Young Tavi is in training to be a Cursor. His aunt Isana, now a Steadholder, is becoming a political pawn and his uncle, Bernard and Cursor Amara and their new allies in the Marat are battling a new foe that threatens everything.
Banter Points: If you’ve read the blog for any length of time, you know that Stacie and I both are huge fans of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. But, I wasn’t all that impressed with his first Codex Alera book and so was hesitant to pick up book 2. It’s so long. Book one was OK, but without my love of Jim Butcher and encouragement from other fans, I probably wouldn’t have gone on in the series.
The good news is that despite months between books one and two, I got back into the world pretty quickly. I really don’t remember a ton of what happened in book one, but Butcher does a good job of recapping what I need to know to refresh the main points. Also good is that the book reads quickly.
Bummer Points: The problem with these books is that there is too much plot and so none of it gets developed the way I want it too. Tavi, Isana and Bernard all have their own stories going and while I know they are related, it makes for a giant cast of characters and lots of words.
The whole story of Tavi and the First Lord and the deceptions swirling around him would be enough to make a whole book on its own. Granted, this is the part of the book that’s really a political novel, which is no surprise for why I like it best. The whole plot with Bernard and Amara was long because I’m not much of a one for major military action sequences. They are tiring to read.
Also, in this book, a big bad shows up that seems at this point to be evil for the sake of being evil. I’m tired of that plot too. Evil is so much more compelling when the villain thinks they are in the right and is not just destroying things because that’s their function.
Word Nerd Recommendation: I’m leaving book three in my Eight-up list. I suspect I’ll finish the series, but my ongoing reaction to long, epic fantasy books even by favorite authors just shows me that I really am a mystery fan now.