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Posts Tagged ‘Codex Alera’

Series rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: Yep, I’m cheating. I know posting a review of 4 books all together is probably bad form. However, I don’t want to go into enough detail about a series to give away what happens (on the off chance you don’t guess). Plus, I’m behind in my blogging. 🙂

Summary: In Academ’s Fury, Tavi is a student at the Academy learning to be a spy, despite the fact that he doesn’t have the ability to wield the furies that are the magic of Alera.  He faces many challenges, from fellow students who hate him to (another) threat to the empire.

In Cursor’s Fury, Tavi is now a bona fide cursor – a spy and diplomat of the realm.  He is sent to a post where he is an officer in the army, despite the fact he has yet to serve the mandatory years of service to the realm.  Due to enemy attacks and death in the upper ranks, he’s faced with defending an empire from the Canim with an experimental cohort of mostly untrained, untested soldiers.  Civil war also erupts, and Tavi discovers the Canim attack isn’t a coincidence.

In Captain’s Fury,  Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that despite his victory (or at least stalemate) the Canim, there is a greater threat – the Vord, who drove the Canim from their home, the same Vord that attacked the empire before.  Tavi must find a way to overcome the deeply-seated hate between the Alerans and the Cane in order to forge an alliance against this greater evil.  

In Princeps’ Fury, Tavi realizes the increasing obvious secret of his birth and parentage.  In a combined diplomatic and strategic mission, Tavi decides to escort the Canim back to their homeland and to aid them in their fight against the Vord.  What they find when they arrive is beyond their worst fears.  Meanwhile, all is not well back in Alera as nobles deny Tavi’s legitimacy and scheme. Tavi again must find a way to save the empire AND the Canim against all odds.

Reaction: Enjoyable. Yes, I realize that Tavi is constantly saving the day. Yes, enemies attacking the empire is predictable, but that’s part of the fun and that’s kind of the bread-and-butter of fantasy – it’s how we get to know the characters. As I believe I said before, it’s very Romanic. This basis lends it an air of historical fiction (almost), which I enjoy.  Tavi is a great character, as are his family and his lover. I can do without some of the other characters, but they also add to the story. My personal testimony is that I was absolutely sucked in and read the whole series in under a week… take that as you will. 

Definitely a must read for fantasy lovers. For all you others, it wouldn’t be a bad series, but you have to commit through at least Book 2 – I think it gets better after that point.

NOTE: Among other things, this post fulfills my challenge requirement in the Once Upon a Time Challenge IV, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.

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Rating: 4 of 5  

Summary: The empire of Alera is filled with magic – the furies or elementals of water, earth, air, fire and metal.  Everyone has some talent, some ability to control an elemental in one of these areas – everyone except young Tavi. Tavi lives with his watercrafter aunt and earthcrafter uncle at one edge of the empire (that has a distinctly Roman air) – the area where the last great savage invasion entered, but where nothing has happened in the last 15 years.  While trying to find lost sheep, he meets Amara – a female spy sent to determine if treachery is afoot by the old but childless emperor – and gets pulled into a battle with the barbarian horde while evading a traitor. It is a classic tale of an empire threatened by an outside horde and internal treachery.

Reaction: Liked it. It started slowly for me, but then I got sucked in (and was late to work because I lost track of 45 minutes while reading during breakfast).  It borrowed heavily from the Roman Empire, in a good way. I enjoyed the flavor of powers the characters had in this book, since I’m always interested in a different spin on magic. And I liked that the characters didn’t follow the expected romantic paths – falling in love with the first person you meet outside your family is overdone. 🙂

I liked it – but I would also say it’s more of a fantasy book for fantasy readers just because of it’s classic fantasy plot and conflicts. If you’ve never read any fantasy, this may not be the one to start on. 

My Dad lent me the whole series last time I saw him (which I believe is complete!), so I’ll be reading the rest of the books in rapid succession.

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