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Does what it says on the tin
on 9 December 2010
This is the fourth book in the Codex Alera sequence by Jim Butcher, a high fantasy story following the story of Tavi as he grows into manhood and learns the destiny that lies before him.
I'm growing ambivalent about this series. I enjoy every book - but not enough to devour every single page in a single sitting. I find some parts of the books enormously exciting and moving and generally fantastic. And then sometimes I find myself flipping pages without any real interest in what comes next. I reached the last one hundred pages of Captain's Fury and found that it took me three days to finish reading. Three days! For one hundred pages!
I'm getting tired of saying that this novels are light and fluffy, and perfect for people looking for a David Eddings-type read. There are only so many times and ways you can say this before it becomes dull to readers of the reviews.
But the fact remains that these books are indeed light and fluffy! The characterisation is good; the plot and pacing of said plot are good; the prose is well-written and reads smoothly. All of it is good. None of it is GREAT. By the time you reach the fourth book in a series like this, you are positively aching for some proper blood, thunder, swearing and down and dirty sex. The Codex Alera books are almost TOO wholesome!
That being said, I do want to recommend the books. I want to recommend them to people just setting out on their fantasy reading adventure. Where people like me picked David Eddings, young adults embarking on their first speculative fiction novels should choose the Codex Alera. They are highly suitable for younger readers - nothing is too complicated, there are deliciously scary moments but the person reading will not be frightened. If your youngster has raced through the Harry Potter novels and enjoyed them - including the darker points - they will gain a great deal from the imagination and humour on show in Captain's Fury and the three books preceding it.
It's a good job by Jim Butcher - but does exactly what it says on the tin, and I'm ready for something a little darker at this point before I plunge back into the series.