It's All Academic

I mentioned previously that I'm working my way through the Codex Alera, by Jim Butcher.

Hmm... have to take a step back, here. I thought I'd talked significantly more previously about both series, but it seems I've barely touched on Dresden, and never did get around to writing my thoughts up on the first Code Alera book. Unfortunately, it's been long enough that I'm not sure I remember it well enough to do it justice. Certainly, I enjoyed it; just as certainly, I had a hard time putting it down.

I definitely liked what he did with Tavi and Kitai in the Wax Forest, although I didn't quite understand what had happened to her. (I thought the eyes turning green had something to do with the mushrooms, not so much anything internal to her.) Academ's Fury cleared that one up. What he did was both weirder and cooler.

Academ didn't grab me as hard, but it was still very enjoyable. Tavi and Kitai's relationship continued to be very entertaining (although as soon as he set out to find the Black Cat the second time, it was clear to me that he was searching for her). I'll get back to this in a minute or two, but their future seems likely to become very complicated very soon. Doroga's interactions with Amara and Bernard were also very entertaining. And you could definitely see Tavi growing up, and being able to give commands believably.

I did wonder at Isana's confidence in reading Invidia though. Her revelation of how powerful the Lady was only minutes before should have made her a lot less confident of her ability to read the Lady. It will certainly be interesting to see whether that sincerity was genuine or not.

In any event, an awful lot suddenly became very clear in the last couple of pages. Just from seeing the names of the later titles, it was clear that Tavi would eventually become First Lord. The mechanism behind that was a bit of a mystery, however. I just assumed it would be through the simple expedient that gave ancient Rome its five good emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius (why did you have to let Commodus succeed you, Marcus?!? As a side note: one of the things I really liked about the movie Gladiator was that it gave an explanation for that)), which was adoption.

However, the conversation at the very end between Miles (somehow, it hadn't occurred to me before this moment that the name is Mee-lez, latin for soldier, rather than the english pronunciation I'd been reading in my head up to this point) and First Lord Gaius, along with Isana's ring and final statement and Bernard's gift to Amara, make it clear that Tavi is actually Gaius' grandson via Septimus and Isana. And because of that, Fade has been told to disappear, so that he can be a protector of Tavi.

In fact, he likely agreed to being treated as a coward and deserter, even though he never was, in order to be Tavi's protector. It also meant that he was estranged from his brother (or at least wasn't able to be reconciled with him) Miles, which had to be an awfully painful thing. All in service to a lord who had died many years before. It does appear that Fade was finally able to explain all that to Miles at the end of the book (and in checking that conversation, it appears that they were able to heal Miles' removed eye, although it wasn't stated explicitly).

Getting back to Tavi and Kitai, his forthcoming Eminence is going to make their relationship awfully... complicated, I suppose. I guess if he marries her, it'll be very simple, but I wonder about whether he could marry her, once he becomes the designated heir. As the daughter of a Marat chief, I suppose there's a chance, but if not, things get very weird. Especially since Tavi seems likely to try to avoid the normal conditions of a marriage of state, after his conversation with Max fairly early in this book.

It'll also be interesting to see what happens when Tavi's Furies finally manifest, since he won't have the time growing up with them that most Alerans in that milieu have. He probably won't even have any time for format training. And the implication, that, because of his father, he would have extremely powerful ones, would make things even more difficult.

All in all, it was a very well-done book, and I'm anxious for the library to get the next book to me.

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