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Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris, #2)
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Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris #2)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,697 ratings  ·  313 reviews
Isaac Vainio’s life was almost perfect. He should have known it couldn’t last.

Living and working as a part-time librarian in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Isaac had finally earned the magical research position he dreamed of with Die Zwelf Portenære, better known as the Porters. He was seeing a smart, fun, gorgeous dryad named Lena Greenwood. He had been cleared by Johannes G
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by DAW
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When I read the first book in this series a while back (Libriomancer) I loved it with a powerful love. It surprised me and kept me up late at night. It had everything I wanted in a book: interesting premise, clever execution, good cosmology, and solid writing.

It even had a few after market extras. Things that I don't *need* from a book, but when they show up, they fill me with a warm joy. Specifically, there was humor, nods to geek culture, and a delightfully non-standard romance.

So when I pic
Two and a half stars

All I can think of is the Goblin King in Labyrinth: “Such a pity.” Creative ideas, a streamlined plot, a love of books–all are fabulous ideas, and all undermined by cumbersome execution. I really want to like this series–I like Jim Hines‘ public persona, I really do--particularly his willingness to be an advocate against rape and rape culture. I haven’t yet read his Goblin King series, but I suspect his strength might be in the YA genre (as well as non-fiction, given his blog

I had judged the first book in this series based on the assumption that it was the writer's first novel, however I now understand that he has previously published several books.

He still has a dynamite concept on his hands--magicians with the power to draw objects from fictional books to use in the real world--but the series still is populated by weakly drawn (if bland even) characters.

In both the first and second books of this series there is precious little about the main character's unique q
Fantasy Literature
Bill's review: Codex Born is Jim Hines’ follow-up to last year’s Libriomancer, his breezy love letter to fantasy and science fiction readers and writers. While the sequel didn’t charm me as much as its precursor, its quick pace, likable characters, and frequent allusions to some of my favorite authors, along with Hine’s trademark darkness underlying a lightly comical surface, meant that on balance I found more to enjoy than to dislike.

The series is set in a world where certain people — librioman
Story. Belief. It’s power isn’t it? All belief is, you get people to believe you can get them to do just about anything, history teaches us this. And it is this idea that Jim C. Hines uses in this book. The Libromancers in this book have the power, the magical power, of drawing things from the book into the real world, provided the book has enough readers who believe.
Yet there is something else out there, a devourer and then these other books that the Libromancers can’t quite figure out what is
Jeffrey Grant
First of all, as with the previous book, drop a star if you don't read sci-fi & fantasy regularly, because you'll miss the references.

This book picks up where the last one left off, introducing a new threat based on the incidents in Libriomancer.

I wasn't overly keen on the previous book and I read this one because I had read a blurb somewhere that indicated this one focused more on Lena, the dryad character. There is a lot revealed about Lena's backstory in segments at the beginning of eac
Kate  K. F.
One of my favorite parts of the Magic Ex Libris series is how Jim Hines shows the importance of research in dealing with problems. This series began strongly and in the sequel went to unexpected places. I adore the premise of Magic Ex Libris, that books have a magic of their own and that certain people can manipulate it and that those people don't always fit the mold of what a classic hero might be. I appreciated how the characters are dealing with the question of how different are digital books ...more
2.5 stars. Ok continuation of this contemporary fantasy series about a UP book mage and the dryad he loves. That's a radical simplification of things, but I'm still annoyed about the ending - it wasn't a cliffie, but things were left way too wide open. If that happens with the next book, I won't continue reading the series.
In the first book in the series, Libriomancer, Hines introduced a wildly creative magic system and a couple really intriguing minor characters.

Unfortunately, this is really more of the same, and some of the novelty is starting to wear off.

They still do magic by pulling stuff out of books, which still results in dozens of hat tips to classic and contemporary works that will delight any voracious reader. Lena the dryad is still a really interesting study in how much agency fictional women are allo
It's the second book in the series, but I'm going to steal a line from Seanan McGuire's blub about Libriomancer again, since it's still just as appropriate and it's on the back of this book, too. It was, "smart, silly, and deadly serious, all at the same time." My concerns about Lena from the first book were addressed, as I suspected they would be. Each chapter began with her reminiscing about her past, giving us insight into her character and motivation. Then those memories were tied into the s ...more
3.75 stars

Codex Born must have been one of those books that were born out of the author's need to write a few specific scenes, and to see a specific idea come alive. This shows in the fluctuating quality of the book: some scenes, or even chapters, are pretty darn awesome (5 stars), whereas there are numerous chapters that are just there to fill the gap between the story points of interest (2-3 stars).

This greatly affects the story's pacing: it slows down, then it quickens, then it slows down aga
Actual rating 3.5 stars.

This book, even more than the first, feels like a love letter to being a geek in the 2000's. Especially a geek of sci-fi and fantasy things. There's references to a wide variety of books, as well as books better known as movies and a dash of D&D. Star Wars? Beauty? Girl Genius? And older classics as well. Plus what Terry Pratchett fan doesn't love seeing that very advice they've probably given themselves - read Pratchett. Read ALL the Pratchett.

As for the book itself,
Probably 3.5 stars. Fun, action-packed, and with a unique magic system. Urban fantasy tends to not be my favorite genre, but this series is a lot of fun and I love all the references to (and uses of) real books. The things that bugged me about the first book didn't bother me here, maybe because the author and I were both willing to live with less explanation of how it all works and just go with it. I like all the secondary characters--except maybe Gutenberg: the jury is still out on him. The end ...more
Oct 29, 2012 Melodramaticfool marked it as to-read
Why does this cover looks so--80's?

Libriomancer didn't look like this was not how I imagined Lena!!

Otherwise, I cannot wait to read this one!
Moira Russell
Aug 15, 2013 Moira Russell marked it as amazon-wishlist  ·  review of another edition
Do I want this? Hmmm, I don't know. I wasn't knocked out by the first one.

They know Lena’s history, her strengths and her weaknesses. Born decades ago from the pages of a pulp fantasy novel, she was created to be the ultimate fantasy woman, shaped by the needs and desires of her companions.

Jaron Harris
Decent followup to Libriomancer. The concept is better than the execution on this one I think. The ending in particular rankled me but I can't really say why without revealing too much. I enjoy Hines' work in general so I'm sure I'll pick up the inevitable sequel.
Kurt Cagle
Jim Hines is a good writer, but I find that there are times where his prose tends to derail. Codex Born was a good example of this. The characters of Isaac and Lena both occasionally seem to me to be sketchy, even though I like the concept of both a great deal. It was all too easy for me to read a section, then suddenly realize I'd lost the context of where exactly they were and what they were doing.

I suspect this may be because the whole of the story is premised on characters essentially breaki
Stephan van Velzen
I liked it better than the first, for two reasons:

1. It was much more epic in scope, setting up a much bigger conflict that could probably turn this into a multi-volume series.

2. In the first book, the relationships made no sense. Libriomancer seemed to attempt to provide criticism of the bigotry in the fantasy genre, yet ended on a similarly bigoted note. In Codex Born, the character of Lena is much more fleshed out, and her decisions now actually make sense. The ending of Libriomancer is put i
Fangs for the Fantasy
Isaac, Lena and Nidhi are developing their new relationship – but hardly have the chance to do so on peace before being called into the field again.

There’s been some murdered Wendigo – and Wendigo are pretty hard to kill.

But throw in some strange, lethal metal insects, creations of a dead Libriomancer and his far less fun father.

An ancient order of Chinese mages who have a severe beef with Gutenburg’s followers – and made extra uncomfortable by them maybe being right

Then throw in the Devourers,
I've been reading Jim Hines since the Goblin series of books - and full disclosure, I know and like him as a person as well. That said, liking someone has not kept me from writing a poor review of their work.

I'm glad to report that I have no such problems with Jim's work. *Codex Born* is the second book in the Magic Ex Libris series, and continues Jim's track record of continually improving his work. Not only does it continue to have the same fun and humor as the first book in this series (and r
Jaclyn Hogan
Yay! I've been waiting for this since Libriomancer came out! My only complaint is that I hope that's not Lena Greenwood on the cover, because although she's an excellent character, she's specifically described as dark skinned and curvy. I hate it when characters are portrayed on the cover looking nothing like they're described.

Edited to Add--

I'm guessing that is Lena on the cover. Blarg, she's described totally differently!
Maybe I read it too quickly, but this book didn't hit me quite like its
Nicole Gozdek
Verdammt, wo bleibt der 3. Band???

Es kommt selten vor, dass ein Roman oder eine Reihe mich so sehr fesselt, dass ich UNBEDINGT SOFORT den nächsten Band lesen muss. Bei Jim C. Hines "Magic Ex Libris"-Reihe ist das zum Glück der Fall. Nach dem ersten Band "Libriomancer" (die deutsche Übersetzung "Die Buchmagier" erscheint im März 2014) habe ich sofort mit dem zweiten Band "Codex Born" angefangen und war wieder einmal absolut begeistert. Nicht nur dass Hines noch eine neue Facette der Buchmagier bi
Alana Abbott
There aren’t many writers who can start with the concept of a literal fantasy woman, pulled from the pages of her book to fulfill her lover’s dreams, and turn her from a slave into a complex hero, struggling to understand her own identity and to create herself as a real person. Jim Hines is one of them.

Codex Born, the sequel to Libriomancer, is narrated by fantasy book lover and magician Isaac Vaino, but in many ways the book belongs to Lena Greenwood, a dryad drawn from a pulp SF novel and Isaa
Originally published at Reading Reality

Born from a book. All the best ideas are born from the things we read. If you don’t think so, then Jim C. Hines Magic Ex Libris series probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re the kind of person who thinks that the best way to spend an idle afternoon (or an idle 5 minutes) is between the pages of a book, particularly fantasy or science fiction, then you’ll eat this series up with a spoon. Start with Libriomancer. Start now.

Codex Born is on the dark side o
Excellent follow-up to Libriomancer, though definitely read that book before this one. Hines assumes that you're already familiar with the characters and the magic system because he's off to the races right from page 1. Sometimes I felt like I lost the sense of who the characters were (Isaac, mostly) in the midst of all the action.

Codex Born is very Lena-centric and this helped me enjoy her as a character. In Libriomancer I was afraid Hines had bitten off more than he could chew. He made very s
Issac, Smudge, and Lena are back in the next installment in the Libriomancer series. This time Lena Greenwood is being targeted by metallic insects that feed on magic and only Issac and the other Libriomancers with help from the Werewolves can help to save her. Can they stop the dark force that threatens to end her? Read and find out for yourself.

Codex Born was a pretty good read. I enjoyed the second book of the series and cannot wait to see what happens next in the series. Readers will enjoy t
A fun read. The book magic still rocks, but the story is weaker than the first...
Alex Hughes
Another very fun read. On to the next one... :)
Cyndie Dyer
Ugh! Jim Hines needs to read all the praise for Libriomancer on the back jacket to see where he went wrong with this book. I abandoned it on page 47 at the suggestion of my son when he saw how hard I was struggling to make myself continue. Lena speaks to open each chapter in a pretentious voice that doesn't ring true. The case she, Isaac, and Nidhi go to investigate is nauseously gory. Although there were elements that intrigued me in those 47 pages, I decided the stuff I couldn't stand overroad ...more
I feel bad giving this book only three stars, because honestly, I think the concept is really, really cool. I love the idea of books being magic, and some of the meta commentary on specific books and authors lives up to my hopes for the series. But ultimately, there are a few too many problems for me to be able to love this as much as I want to. The series is a bit too similar to other books about secret magic-users protecting the modern world from the mystical menace, and a lot of the character ...more
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Jim C. Hines' latest book is UNBOUND, the third in his modern-day fantasy series about a magic-wielding librarian, a dryad, a secret society founded by Johannes Gutenberg, a flaming spider, and an enchanted convertible. He's also the author of the PRINCESS series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous GOBLIN QUEST trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in BLOOD OF HEROES. His short fiction has appeare ...more
More about Jim C. Hines...

Other Books in the Series

Magic Ex Libris (4 books)
  • Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)
  • Unbound (Magic Ex Libris #3)
  • Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris, #4)
Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1) The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, #1) Goblin Quest (Jig the Goblin, #1) The Mermaid's Madness (Princess, #2) Red Hood's Revenge (Princess, #3)

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