by Jim Butcher
5 stars - Woowee! What a ride!
ALR Green - some scary insect creatures and a dog-like warrior species, also big, giant soldier beast
Seriously? Just look at the cover art. Poor kid all fighting hands reaching out of the wall while fire burns his feet.
This is book two of Jim Butcher's Codex Alera (whatever that means) and you must know by now that this sword and sorcery isn't my usual genre, but, damn, these books are good! Let's see, basically, there are a bunch of different factions trying to get their claws into the realm while in the meantime, something called the vord has been awakened from its slumber and is ready to take over the world with its insect like minions, along with the zombie recruits that are created when fuzzy insects go down their throats at night (I wouldn't kid you).
Skulking around the capital are a bunch of dog-like warrior types who appear to have their own agenda regarding who should be running things.
Then there's our hero, Tavi, he of the " OMG there are hands reaching out of the wall." I guess he's a teenager and he's somehow studying at The Academy even though he doesn't have any fury power (did I forget to mention that some folks can summon earth, wind, water, whatever to do their bidding?). Nevertheless, he's a clever guy, and he's doing OK. That is, until, well, can't be giving things away, now.
As in the previous book in the series, this is one big honking edge of the seat action fun ride. Mr. Butcher is a master of pacing. There are three main stories going on, each with its own set of characters and intrigue. Mr. Butcher takes the reader between them at precisely the right pace so that you never forget where you left off with each one. Also, all of the stories are interesting and have great characters. How does he do it? I don't know. Don't care. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Oh, and even though Tavi, the main dude is a guy, there are plenty of great female characters as well. Only a little mushy stuff and what there is of it is Disney rated.