Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher

Doroga and Kitai of the Marat learn that the mysterious creature they encountered at the wax forest was in fact a Vord queen. The vord are an ancient enemy who always threaten to consume everything in their path. The nest of Vord divides three ways and at great cost the Marat are able to destroy one. When they realize that the queen herself is on Tavi's trail Kitai is despatched to watch over him and Doroga travels to the Calderon valley to warn Amara, Bernard and Isana. Meanwhile Tavi has problems of his own. A mysterious attack from across the sea has left the First Lord comatose and Tavi has to ensure that his political rivals do not learn of the situation or the realm could be thrown into a bloody civil war.

The story is roughly divided into two; what is happening in the Calderon Valley and what is happening at Alera Imperia. The first is more an out and out war story and the latter more political espionage. This was a clever split and gave a different flavour to proceedings.

The world-building is decidedly mixed. There are some interesting revelations about the Marat and the Vord, the introduction of a race of wolf-like creatures known as Canes and hints at more of the wider world. I was however disappointed at the lack of description of Alera Imperia and it is difficult to get any sort of feel for the capital.

Pacing is fluid throughout and Butcher's is exceptionally adept at writing frantic battle scenes. Character wise there are some interesting developments that hint at a layer of complexity, especially for Isana and Fidelias. These are however are kept largely in the background and I would have liked to see them pursued further.

Overall Butcher delivers are well-paced novel with some of the better battle scenes I've read in some time, I would have still liked to have seen a bit more in terms of character development and world-building. 7.75/10.

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