Many books in my book queue are waiting to be read, and a common theme among them is they’re all part of a series, trilogy or saga. Each Sunday, I’ll share a book from a series. You can read along with me, or add the books to your own reading list. This week, I read “Academ’s Fury,” the second book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.
The second book in Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series brings in a lot more political drama as the story moves from Calderon Valley to the capital of Alera, a bustling city full of political machinations. The plot of “Academ’s Fury” takes place two years after the events of “Furies of Calderon.”
There are four distinct plots in the story, and each chapter jumps from one to the other, similar to “Game of Thrones.” Here they are:
The Tavi plot: Tavi has moved from his uncle’s homestead to the Academy where he’s learning how to become a Cursor. Cursors are kind of like FBI agents to the First Lord.
He learns more about the Canim (a race of dog-like beasts,) the Marat (tribal nomads,) and the Vord (evil beetle-like animals that are plotting to take over the world.) The Canim have teamed up with the Vord to make zombie-like warriors.
Kitai, who we later learn is supposed to be Tavi’s protector, is the ambassador to Alera on behalf of the Marat. Kitai and Tavi have a sort of blossoming romance. Tavi still remains fury-less, which means he can’t cast spells, making life extremely difficult at the Academy.
The Bernard/Amara plot: Bernard and Amara also learn about the presence of the Vord and fight them first-hand. Soldiers who are wounded are taken by the Vord and turned into the same zombie-like soldiers. Bernard and Amara travel with Doroga, the leader of a Marat tribe. The Marat have seen the Vord before and know how deadly they can be. In a moment of desperation, Amara and Bernard get married. Amara goes back and forth on whether or not she wants to be with Bernard because she can’t have children.
The Isana plot: Isana has become the first female Aleran ever to hold dominion over a homestead. She is called to the capital to show support for the First Lord, whom she despises. She believes he is using her as a tool. After she arrives, several assassination attempts are made against her. She eventually throws her support behind the Aquitaines who are plotting to overthrow First Lord Gaius.
The Fidelias plot: Fidelias is in league with the Aquitaines and, while he’s a minor character, he spends his time pulling strings and making political things happen.
“Academ’s Fury,” unlike “Furies of Calderon” was an exciting book. “Furies of Calderon” was more linear and included one battle, where “Academ’s Fury” had multiple battles across all of the different story arcs. I learned a lot more about each of the characters, but plenty was kept a secret. Fade, a slave in Bernard’s household, went with Tavi to the Academy. Fade spent all but a few moments of “Furies of Calderon” acting like a fool, but in “Academ’s Fury,” I learned he’s a prolific swordsman and definitely not all that he seems.
Tavi makes friends at the Academy who also play a role in some of the political intrigue. While First Lord Gaius is incapacitated for most of the book, Tavi’s friend Max has the unique ability to transform his appearance and spends some of the book appearing as Gaius so as to trick other highborn officials into believing nothing was wrong with the First Lord. Max is a bit of a ladies’ man, and at one point he seduces Gaius’ wife, Caira, a move that would have been completely out of character. Since Caira was one of the people conspiring against Gaius, it was funny to see her flustered in that scene.
There is plenty more to learn about the characters and about Alera. I feel like, while the characters are a little flat now in the first two books, they’ll become much richer as I get to know them. And while events in the plot are linear now, loyalties will tangle and characters who are good now might change their mind.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing the next book in the Codex Alera series called “Cursor’s Fury.” Tavi was promoted to Cursor at the end of the book, so I’ll be interested in seeing what new adventures he encounters, especially since he still has no magical ability.
See you next week!
If you missed it:
Furies of Calderon