Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rambling About Academ's Fury

Author Jim Butcher is most widely know for his contemporary fantasy series The Dresden Files, but he also writes a more traditional fantasy series, The Codex Alera, of which Academ's Fury is the second book. It is set in a world where nature spirits are harnessed by humans to produce magic. The main protagonist is a boy who can't call on any of these spirits and so must rely on his merely human wits and skill in a world where everyone else can perform astounding feats. Unlike the Dresden books, which stay with a single viewpoint character throughout, Academ's Fury, like its predecessor The Furies of Calderon, follows three characters through the disparate threads of the plot. And with all that blah blah explanation out of the way, I can get to my impressions.

Bottom line, Academ's Fury is an action book. All of the main characters were introduced in the first book of the series, as was the majority of the world building, which leaves this one free to get straight into the plot. Political maneuverings and subterfuge break up the sword and magic slinging scenes, but only during the buildup phase. When things get rolling, readers are treated to a pair of high stakes, high fantasy battles that carry through to the book's climax. If you are looking for deep, subtle characterizations and a fully developed world with its own sweep of history and legend, this probably isn't going to satisfy you. The characters, history, and legends here exist mainly to serve the plot. However, if you like a fast paced, fun fantasy, then you wouldn't go wrong giving Academ's Fury a try. Just remember to read the first book of the series before this one.

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