Been a very read-ey week. Spent most of it plowing through the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher, and I’m going to be selfish and just try to speed through this post so I can get back to finishing the last book.
As just mentioned, I’ve been plowing through the Codex Alera. I’m inclined to think that it’s good, but not great. Inconsistencies within the worldbuilding and magic system across books limit the series’ strength – but perhaps this is because I’m binge reading the books as opposed to reading one after another over a few years.
For example, the naming conventions shift around: “Invidia Aquitaine” becomes “Aquitainus Invidia” or “Aquitaine Invidia” as the books go on. Once a change has occurred, it only rarely shifts back – yet it does still occasionally happen.
The story is fun and exciting. Tavi is a great main character and comes across as very relatable – even once he becomes physically, magically, and politically powerful, his best tool always remains his conniving intellect. This makes his reactions interesting and (appropriately) unpredictable.
At it’s core, this feels like a heroic fantasy with a slightly larger cast. The books do a good job limiting the number of perspectives, and sticking to certain viewpoints throughout the series.
Additionally, some of the antagonists are quite interesting. Butcher does a good job blending the line between antagonist and anti-hero. However, the truly interesting characters are rarely pitted against the protagonists. More often, there is some larger threat which the heroes react to. The main forces the heroes struggle with are too often brutish and simple evil-for-evil’s sake.
This makes for dramatic battles and great moments of heroism, but sets a limit upon the series’ quality.
I’m inclined to think that the Codex Alera is an example of good work rushed too quickly. A little more time and effort, and the books could have been great beyond being a fun, exciting read. (It’s worth noting that Butcher published both a Codex Alera novel and a Dresden Files novel each year from 2004 to 2009.)
I didn’t get much writing done this week. A few scribbled notes, but that’s about all. It is what it is.
Last Week: Read things (ended up being Codex Alera), and write a review of An Echo of Things to Come. Not particularly successful; while I did end up reading WAY more than intended, functionally it was at the cost of spending any time writing.
This Week: I’ve just started the first class of my MFA program, so doing schoolwork is going to be my main priority. I have no clue how much time that’s going to eat up, so my goal for this week is just to get some work done on The Rule of Iron or a review between working on classwork.