Oof. How long have I been rereading these books now? Only a bit more than a month? Ok, I guess I could have made worse time.
Before we get into spoiler zone, here’s the general review of the series: It’s high fantasy series that acts as much like an allegory as anything else. It’s a good middle ground between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. It’s not quite as good as either of those series (unless GoT tanks in its last two planned books), but it’s still got a decent punch to it.
There will be spoilers a’plenty.
If you haven’t been keeping score, Codex Alera follows a lost Roman legion more than a thousand years after they landed in a strange land. Now imagine you have Pokemon that are called furies (or better yet, imagine the furies are the same as bending in Avatar: The Last Airbender [side note, this is a fantastic show. If you don’t like that show, go fly a kite]). These furies allow the user to control earth, wind, fire, metal, and water. Every Aleran can use them except one. Our protagonist, Tavi.
But you know how these things go. With some willpower and creative thinking, Tavi does all sorts of stuff. In the first book, he circumvents an insurrection by a high lord and stops an invading hoard of Marat, even leading to the beginning of a relationship between the Marat and Alera. In the second book, he prevents an insurrection by the dangerous Vord that is aided by a Canim sorcerer. He also beats the holy crap out of a high lord’s powerful son without having the ability to use any furies. In the third book, he becomes an acting captain and fends of an invading Canim army, and gets a flicker of fury use at the very end. In the fourth book, he’s got deal with finding out who he really is, gaining knowledge of his furies, a senator who wants to usurp control of Tavi’s legion, and busting a Canim ambassador from a prison Tavi helped design. In the fifth book, he goes on a side quest and helps kill a Vord queen and takes a semi-hostile army back with him as allies.
So now he’s the first lord, and he’s got to take care of business. And how does he do it? He mixes his ingenuity gained from not having furies with the bad-assery that is the strength of his current furies. And he also awakens a great fury at the end (the equivalent of waking up a titan in ancient Greece). He borders on genius and insane. And that’s why we love him. But really, we love the Marat Kitai more for her comic relief.
All in all, I really enjoy the series. It feels like one long life lesson. And that’s ok. Sometimes it’s a little heavy-handed as it goes about setting up idealism within an unideal world, but overall you have a good series that I’d say is ultimately worth reading. I doubt I’ll reread it any time soon, but another 5 years seems like a good wait before revisiting Tavi and supporting cast.
And what will I read next? I have no idea. I’ve got some books for work that I need to read eventually. As one of my students says: Glug.