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    Review of ACADEM'S FURY by Jim Butcher (see his website)


    Ace, July 2005

    Alera is threatened. It's aging First Lord has named no heir--and the major lords grow restless, waiting for a chance to strike, to seize the throne for themselves. Meanwhile, external enemies push the First Lord hard with continued storms that sap his strength and make him less able to respond to hidden threats. And there is a hidden threat. An alien race has taken root. With its ability to take over the bodies of its victims, the alien swarm-race intends to rot Alera from within--and then to take over the entire world. Against these forces stand only the aging First Lord, his page Tavi and Tavi's two best friends and fellow students, and Tavi's aunt and uncle. Tavi's uncle must confront one nest of the alien vord while Tavi's aunt races to the capital for rescue--only to find assassins, with the First Lord in no position to help.

    Author Jim Butcher (see more reviews of novels by Butcher) creates a fascinating alternate Earth--a land where the forces of nature are personified into beings (Furies) of power that certain humans can call upon, and a land where scholars cast scorn on any who believe that civilization was even possible before the discovery of the great furies. The power of the furies has stiltified scientific progress and war is still fought with legions, sword, and spear--along with magic.

    Tavi, in particular, makes a vivid character. His school traumas, made worse by the absence of any Fury talent whatsoever, provides a backdrop on which the greater political struggle takes place. Butcher's military scenes ring true, with legions going up against alien bugs, and with Tavi's uncle, Bernard, wrestling with his failure to protect the very people he is sworn to serve. I found Butcher less convincing with his female characters--Isana (Tavi's aunt) being whiny and annoying and Amara (Bernard's lover) not much better. The mysterious Kitai is a welcomed exception, being an intriguing and capable female.

    ACADEM'S FURY is compelling reading--and Butcher's smooth writing, strong world-building, and continual danger and adventure, add up to an addictive mix.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 9/01/05

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