As seen on Stumptown Books
It's no secret around here that I am not a Codex Alera fan. So far, the star spread is (links lead to the reviews):Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1)
- 2 starsAcadem's Fury (Codex Alera #2)
- 2 starsCursor's Fury (Codex Alera #3)
- 1 star
And this book, Captain's Fury (Codex Alera #4) - 2 stars
That's not a very good track record to continue on with. And yet, I'm still reading them. Some deep dark part of me obviously wants to know how the story is going to end, and whether any of these characters are ever going to bite it. So that does say something
for this series. It is very readable. It is so...fluffy
. Bad things continue to happen but the characters are never in any real danger, because no matter what, something will save them.
I love fantasy, there is no way around that. There are of course many reasons why I love fantasy so much, but one reason was actually present in this book. Shock! I know, right? I can't help it, I really like it when characters break down and accept their fate. The readers have known it was coming since the end of book 3 (or longer, depending on how quickly you picked up that the titles basically spoil the entire series), but here, it happens. Tavi accepts who he is, and who his dad was. He will never be without responsibilities again, will never be a little boy in Calderon again. I can't help it; even if I don't like the series, that scene was moving and well done. It was a paradigm shift, and the entire rest of the book plays out around his acceptance. Nothing can ever be the same. This is a big deal!
For once, the second half of the book was not taken up by one long, drawn out battle. It is instead a lot more about sneaking around and getting a precise mission completed, rather than throwing legion after legion into battle like all the other books up until this point. A lot of blood still gets shed, of course, but I was getting very tired of half a book of set up just so we could have half a book of battle.
Unfortunately, I find just about every character insufferable.
The evolution of Finduilas is a side story I've enjoyed, up until now. I love it when bad guys become maybe-almost-kinda good guys. Friendship through adversity and all that. In this particular installment, Finduilas' story, or "Marcus," was just ok. His character was great but some of the...let's say the WAY he got his orders was completely ridiculous. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't go into details, but I feel like the nobility in this series has
to have better things to do than harass Tavi out in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, that's the only hobby any of them have. Very frustrating.
Amara and Bernard are the worst. I thought their love story stilted from the beginning, while their ludicrous reasons for being married and hiding their marriage is just to create some drama. There was no real reason to write that their marriage had to be hidden, except that for some reason they are considered main characters and must therefore see some face time. Therefore: this marriage must be hidden! Let's talk about how we have to hide our love, endlessly! Plus, their mission in this book is an exercise in ridiculousness. The ONLY reason they are on such a stupid mission is to give them some face time, otherwise Bernard would be up in Calderon doing his count thing. Again, the nobility has nothing better to do than get their own hands dirty and perform their own work. I realize that the nobility houses the strongest furycrafters, but seriously, there's no one else the First Lord could have sent on this absolutely absurd quest? The entire idea behind this subplot was stupid, and then it just keeps on GOING. Walking through the swamp has never been so boring.
The evolution of Tavi has been completely unbelievable to me from the very beginning, but it became a million times worse in, Cursor's Fury
(Codex Alera #3). The whole idea of Tavi wresting control of a legion, and then out thinking an entire army, was not only baffling to me, it was also so completely far fetched, I ranted about it for ages over at my review
of it. Because of everything that occurred so nonsensically in book 3, book 4 picks up right where it left off, with Tavi having an entire legion so completely loyal they are all willing to do whatever he says at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, I am still in disbelief to the loyalty, as the whole reason it came around was so preposterous.
He then continues to perform death defying acts across the continent, putting himself into one stupid situation after another. I found it all to be worthless - I knew no one would die, no matter how close to death they got, and I knew Tavi would always come up with some crazy scheme, and it would always work out. The whole thing was an exercise in futility for the reader. You know what is going to happen long before it does, so what's the point of reading it? This installation was the most predictable, and I have found EVERY book in this series to be disappointingly predictable. There is no depth here, only fluff.
My last note is: I hate the vord. I have hated them since the croach
crater in book 1. I'm not even sure why I dislike them so much, but I really really do. Maybe because they're a Borg-style (or Dalek-style, for that matter) villain but done poorly. Of course, I do feel that both of those villains became caricatures, and were no longer frightening by the end of their respective TV shows. We shall see how I feel after Princeps' Fury
(Codex Alera #5), but I have the feeling I am going to hate that one. Big surprise!
Oh, yes! I can't forget to mention how much I hate the word "crow" now. SO MUCH! It's horrible. At least most fantasy books have a few different curse words to choose from. Having only one makes me have eye twitches.