Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
Let's get to it - Short and sweet.
If you like the Lord of the Rings, but want to avoid the detailed monologues, descriptive family histories, and tedious and long world descriptions found in the Lord of the Rings, this series may be for you.
Here's the problem. This can't be more of a carbon copy of the formula used in The Lord of the Rings - An unlikely hero, a ragtag group to bring about an almost impossible task, a dark enemy of pure evil to get in the way, along with various races mixed up in the war. Only this tiny hero and his team can possibly overcome the impending doom that threatens to swallow the world.
Of course it does, but here's where my interest lies: It's a well-written carbon copy without the trapping of an epic trilogy. Think lighter, more casual listening for the simple fun of it. Most people do NOT make it through the Lord of the Rings because of that very reason - It's HEAVY reading. Will you re-listen to this yearly like you might with LotR? Definitely NO. You will however, consider revisiting it once in a very blue moon.
It's written well, and consistently well, at that. BUT...remember, Lord of the Rings it is NOT. Lower your literary expectations for just a little while, loosen your tie, and have a little fun with this enjoyable first book in the series.
If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.
This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.
Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.
To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.
It DOES sound lame.
Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.
I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.
The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.
So, what about the writing?
Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?
I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.
Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?
Home run, Jim. Home run.
Report Inappropriate Content