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Academ's Fury
Jim Butcher
Read by Kate Reading
Penguin Audio, 21 Hours

Academ's Fury
Jim Butcher
A martial arts enthusiast whose resume includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his wife, his son and a ferocious guard dog.

The Jim Butcher Fan Attic
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Furies of Calderon
SF Site Review: Small Favor
SF Site Review: Captain's Fury
SF Site Review: White Night
SF Site Review: Proven Guilty
SF Site Review: Dead Beat
SF Site Review: Blood Rites
SF Site Interview: Jim Butcher
SF Site Review: Death Masks
SF Site Review: Grave Peril
SF Site Review: Fool Moon
SF Site Review: Storm Front

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

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Jim Butcher wanted to create what he called a "sword and horses" novel and the Codex Alera series is that and more. This high fantasy series is very successful in creating a new world where swords are the weapon of choice and the horse is one of the main transportation methods. However, Butcher did not limit himself to these two concepts when creating his world. Other weapons include furies, a type of sorcery using the elements. The furies are also the answer to transportation as well as communication and medical arts. Basing all this on the ideals of the Roman Legionnaires, Butcher's writing not only provides excellent battle scenes but great characters that live in a four dimensional universe. Academ's Fury builds on that foundation and not only pushes the series along but also is an intriguing read in and of itself.

The narrator, Kate Reading, has a touch of a British accent that brings a classic quality to the book. Her accent  gives this sword and sorcery novel the feel of an Arthurian tale. At the same time, she provides the perfect level of emotion during the warm moments of love between the characters and, when needed, bursts of excitement during the novel's tense battles. She can deliver lump-in-the-throat speeches as well as screaming enemy attacks.

Academ's Fury picks up two years after the events in the book, Furies of Calderon. The hero, Tavi, lacks the ability to control the furies (fury crafting), making him a "freak" in Alera. Studying to become a cursor, or messenger, for the First Lord (Emperor) of Alera, Tavi learns the job also requires becoming a spy and a warrior.  As his studies near their end, a new danger comes to the capitol of Alera, where the First Lord resides and where the home of the academy Tavi is attending is located. This new danger is in the form of a being known as the Vord.

The Vord is an insect-like race also referred to as shapeshifters. The Vord gain control of the body and mind of an enemy, creating a zombie with a Vord mind to battle their enemies. This tactic is a demoralizing weapon because the body taken over by the Vord, perhaps a loved one or even a child, becomes a treacherous killer. In any great story a hero will have his ultimate villain, Batman has the Joker, Spider-Man has Venom. Jim Butcher has created one of the most ultimate nemeses of all time with this race of Vord. They are powerful, dark and complex.

Tavi awakened the Vord in the first novel in the Codex Alera, Furies of Calderon, by spilling some of his own blood on the Vord nest in the wax forest. This not only awakened the Vord but also made Tavi a target. When the Vord expands its community it separates into 3 queens, which move to different locations and set up new nests to conquer all life in that area.

Duroga, a clan leader of the Murat, comes to warn Tavi's uncle of the danger after destroying one of the three nests. The other two must be destroyed or all of Alera will fall. One nest is in Calderon Valley the other is seeking Tavi in the capitol city.

While this new danger is going on there also exists the beginnings of a civil war in Alera due to the First Lord having no heir. So with complications of politics piling on top of the pending destruction of humanity, Tavi must use his wits and strength to save Alera. This book is jam-packed with excitement that will keep you up until you hear the final sentence, and even then you will be reaching for the next novel in the series.

Copyright © 2009 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.


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