These books are really growing on my. So far, every one has been better than the last and if this trend continues, Jim Butcher has a new fan in me. I particularly liked the military aspect of this third volume. Alera feels like a second home by now and I can’t imagine going to sleep without these audiobooks.
Published by: Penguin Audio, 2009 (2006)
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Audiobook: 20,5 hours (614 pages)
Series: Codex Alera #3
My rating: 8/10
First sentence: Tavi made a steeple of his fingers and stared down at the ludus board.
The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies – the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine.
Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army’s command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion-the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm.
In Alera, all people except Tavi, use furycraft. They control the elements with magic, use them for everyday life, warfare, healing and building. Two years after the events of Academ’s Fury, Tavi still hasn’t come into his furies and as the only Aleran faces the world without any magic whatsoever. Now the first Lord sends him to the legions, to discover a new aspect of Alera and its workings. I was particularly pleased that this meant a reunion with Max, one of my favorite characters from the last book, as well as a certain Marat girl who has been kicking copious amounts of ass.
I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason I really go for military fiction. Any fiction where the protagonist is thrown into a hierarchical structure and can work his or her way up the career ladder fascinates me. Be it a boarding school with tests and classes, a military science fiction novel, or a fantasy legion as seen here – I am in love. The dynamics of the leading men of the first legion are wonderfully portrayed while still leaving enough time for strategy and clever tricks to play on the enemy. I became so intrigued with Tavi’s storyline that I didn’t want to return to the other characters to see what they were up to.
As far as the plot goes, there is yet another conspiracy and a new threat to the kingdom of Alera. If this sounds repetitive, don’t let me deceive you. At its heart, it may be a simple enough plot, but it is the execution that makes Cursor’s Fury an excellent book. It is, so far, my favorite of the series, not only because of the military aspects I’ve mentioned above, but also because I felt the world-building went to another level. I learned more about furycrafting and its rules, Alera’s politics and the factions opposing each other, I finally learned something about Isana’s past that I sort of expected but didn’t expect to be involved with Isana. If that makes sense.
There are brilliant action scenes. By now, I’ve come to expect them from Jim Butcher. While the fights, flights, and spying scenes have always been great in these books, I see a clear learning curve. The author gets better with each book – and what more can you ask for, really? The fact that he still has me invested in Tavi’s life after three books and him being pretty much grown up speaks for itself. I don’t even care what the next big invasion will be, or whether the stars will threaten to fall on Alera. As long as Tavi, Amara, Kitai, and Bernhard are involved, I’ll be happy to follow them around. Plus, a whole range of side characters I’ve come to care for and some of whom have turned out to be a lot more than they seemed at first glance. There is so much to discover in these books. About the country, the politics, and each living person’s life. I can’t wait for the next volume.
THE GOOD: A fast-paced, thrilling plot, great action scenes, well-loved characters, brilliant military fantasy.
THE BAD: Amara and Isana’s storyline paled somewhat in comparison to Tavi’s.
THE VERDICT: Highly recommended series that gets better with every book. I wasn’t sure about the Codex Alera at first but Jim Butcher has found another fan.
RATING: 8/10 – Excellent