Nathaniel's Reviews > Academ's Fury

Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher
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Jul 16, 12

bookshelves: fantasy
Read in November, 2011

I addressed the shortcomings of the first book in the Codex Alera in my review of that title: Furies of Calderon. Some of the same weaknesses apply here. The modern suffragist movement plucked right out of 1920s America and dropped into a society supposedly based on Imperial Rome just doesn't work, and there are once again specific phrases that get repeated just pages apart in careless ways that I choose to blame on Jim Butcher's editor rather than the man himself.

Also: the extent to which this series borrows heavily from the Nickelodeon series Avatar: the Last Airbender can't be ignored. Of course Jim Butcher acknowledges this freely, but simply joking that he basically stuck Avatar and Pokemon together didn't prepare me for the extent to which the entire magical system of the book is essentially "bending" (from Avatar) but rebranded as "crafting".

So that's out of the way. Let's talk about what makes this series *GREAT*.

As with the Dresden Files, the two things that Jim Butcher does best, and that put him up there with the likes of J. K. Rowling in terms of talent, as far as I'm concerned, is realistically sketch characters out in surprising ways over very long story arcs. Two of the main villains from the first book are back in this tale, and both of them are depicted with surprising humanity and depth. Meanwhile, one of the good guys from the previous novel makes an alliance with the enemies in this novel that is both treacherous and completely understandable.

I can't stress enough how much I like being surprised by novels in ways that--while I didn't see them coming--clearly flow organically from the plot. I really don't want to get into spoilers, so I'll just have to reiterate again: the characters in this book feel like real people. They grow and they change. It's like they are living and breathing, and I'm hooked. Going from the first book to the second was an act of loyalty to Jim Butcher, but I'm really looking forward to getting the third book and reading it.

EDIT: See Princeps' Fury for my summary review of the entire series.
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