I’ve fallen a bit behind in reviewing Butcher’s Codex Alera series, since I’m now working on book five! Epic fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres, and I love story lines that include personal, political, and military conflicts. As I mentioned in my author crush post a few days ago, I think Jim Butcher does this style of writing wonderfully and Academ’s Fury doesn’t disappoint!

Academ’s Fury

Starting two years after the events in book one, Academ’s Fury follows Tavi to his promised studies at the university. While not having furies of his own does hold him back in some training, his fierce determination and years of self-preservation in the Calderon Valley make him an idea candidate for secret Cursor training (training to become an elite spy for the First Lord). Tavi has also made some wonderful friends, including my favorite character Max. Max is the illegitimate son of a high lord, and Max and Tavi quickly bond over their lives as exiles. That friendship, along with help from other Cursors-in-training, will come in helpful as Tavi is faced with the impossible task of saving the First Lord, and all of Alera, from a mysterious old enemy quietly invading the realm.

The book does start out slowly, establishing Tavi’s place at the university. He’s picked on by the older kids with strong furies, works long hours as a page for the First Lord, and hasn’t seen his family in ages. The adventure really picks up several chapters in when Doroga, a Marat tribe leader, comes to warn Bernard and Isana that an enemy the Marat call the Vord has attacked. The Vord are an ancient race that can shape shirt and mind control their victims, and they kill everyone in the area once they attack. Isana, already on her way to the capital for a winter festival, agrees to ask the First Lord for additional soldiers while Bernard and Amara stay behind to help Doroga fight the Vord.

And because things are never simple in a Butcher book, while part of the country is fighting the Vord, the first Lord is fighting to protect the coastal cities from relentless fury-born hurricanes. While preventing a war between to High Lord houses that could plunge all of Alera into a bloody civil war. And dealing with hostile enemies in the capital, the Canim, a breed of fierce wolf-like warriors. And as his page, Tavi has been thrust into the middle of all these conflicts!

We also start to slowly piece together the story of Tavi’s parents, as more of Isana’s past is explained. She is extremely secretive, so even as we’re learning tons about Tavi, Bernard, and Amara, Isana remains a slight mystery. Having read the third book, I promise that her story, and her past, are completely worth the two book wait!