Thursday, September 30, 2010

Codex Alera

Sunday I finished the last book of the Codex Alera. I already blogged about this series, and I just wanted to add that the last two books were absolutely fantastic. Perhaps more than anything I'm excited because Butcher did so well with the ending of this series, and that makes me really excited to see where the Dresden Files ends up. I can't wait, and for all of you who love fantasy, either epic or urban, Jim Butcher is your man. Side Jobs, the compilation of his short stories centered in Dresden's universe, will be available on November 11th, and might be a good way for you to acquaint yourselves with his writing if you are not already familiar with it.

In other news, I submitted the short story that I've been working on to the Monsters and Mormons anthology, so here's hoping that it pans out. If not, I'm not too worried, I'll just keep plugging away at it. I've got a new project on the fires, and I'm starting it tomorrow. That means that I'll be posting chapters from it soon. Check back soon.

Thanks for reading, it's late, and I have to get up early. That's all I've got for now, and I promise that I'll have a more coherent blog post on Sunday. Goodnight!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Captain's Fury

Have you ever been reading a book series, and you're thinking, "eh, this is pretty good, not great, but good." And then BAM! It hits you out of no where and takes off for the land of awesome fiction?
Captain's Fury, book 4 of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher, was one such book for me. I read the first one over a year ago, and to tell the truth, I had a hard time finishing it. It took months for me to pick up the second book, and the only reason I did is that I had already bought it at the same time I bought book one. The second book was good enough that I said to myself, well, maybe. It answered a lot of the questions I had from the first book, and added enough new stuff that I was forced to reform my view of the first book just being a cheap copy of stuff that's already been done. To death.
The third book was up there with the second, and I really started getting involved with the characters by this point. The world-building was amped up considerably for both 2 and 3, and I was starting to get excited for 4.
Last week I read book 4. And I was blown away. The quality shot up from what it had been even more, and washed even the bad taste from book one out of my mouth. It. Was. Fantastic.
More importantly, I'm starting to see why certain things happened in the first book. I understand the events better, and now they're running subplots and major plots that are awesome. I guess that I was wrong, but I still don't like book 1 all that much. I think I'll have to file it away like the Terminator movies. The first one is a real drag to watch, but you have to sit through it to understand and enjoy the rest.
Forgive me John Connor.
Anyway, if you're not familiar with the Codex Alera, here's what it is about. Alera is a land very much like Ancient Rome, with the exception that the citizens of the realm there have an ability to harness elementals called furies, to control the world around them. For 1,000 years their control of furies and their mighty legions have kept the realm from any threats.
The 1,000 years are over.
Beset on the south by the Marat, powerful tribes of barbarians that form special bonds with the animals there that make them a deadly threat even to the Alerans. Across the sea to the west lies Canea, where the vicious Canim, wolf-like creatures that stand nine to ten feet tall and are packed pound for pound with lean muscle threaten ominously. And let's not forget the Icemen, dangerous monsters from the north that are held only in check by the mighty shieldwall, a defensive fortification that spans the width of the continent and is manned by the toughest legions Alera has to offer. In the midst of all this, there are problems within as well. Gaius, the aging First Lord of Alera, has no heir. As the other High Lords and Ladies vie for power he must try to hold it all together....
If you like epic fantasy, this series is for you. It has some great scenes, especially heroic battle scenes. It's funny, though fans of the Dresden Files also by Butcher should hardly find that as surprising. Most of all Butcher is great at running several different plot threads through a story and making them all fire (well) like they should.
Aside from reading, I've been editing a short story that I'm submitting on Monday. I'm not going to say what it's about, at least not yet, but it falls in the Horror genre. Wish me luck.
I'll be starting my new project next week as well, and I'm really excited about it. I'll probably post some sample chapters here and I'd love to here what you think.
That's all for today. Have a great day and go write something.