Thursday, August 22, 2013

And we're back across the Mackinac bridge.

Ah, Libriomancy. Once again, we're with Isaac in the Upper Peninsula dealing with the magick of pulling things out of books based on the amount of belief readers have put into them over time.

As some of you might remember, I reviewed the first book a while back, and became ecstatic when Book 2 came out.

We start Codex Born about a year after the climax of Libriomancer, with Isaac training a new student who's learned to do something thought impossible. Namely Jeneta has figured out how to magically pull items from her e-reader. And no one can figure out HOW she's able to do so.

Jeneta soon falls by the wayside as the plot starts picking up, as Isaac and his Dryad companion Lena get called out to investigate the slaughter of a few Wendigos not far from Isaac's house. What follows is a greater exploration of the magic in Jim C. Hines' world, as we discover the followers of Bi Sheng who fled into books as a way to survive a purge by Gutenberg during the early years of the Porters. They survive in books, with their books being read several times a day by a reader, constantly pouring belief into the text.

We also have several meditations on family and relationships throughout the course of the book. Each chapter opens with part of Lena's story, which is not exactly a pretty one, and one of the main villains is the father of a dead Porter who pretty much abused the hell out of his son growing up.

We also have the nebulous Devourers, who are trying to reach through the magic and invade the Earth. We met them briefly in Book 1, in this one, we get a bit more on them, and by the end, we have a brief glimpse of a face and a name.

While this book had much better pacing than the first volume, he did leave many things unresolved. Which is good, since it gives him places to go in future volumes, but it also tends to make Jeneta seem like an afterthought, as she shows up early on, then more or less vanishes until the epilogue.

Also, one scene around the middle of the book reminded me quite a bit of Jim Butcher's Dead Beat. Also not a bad thing, but I found myself wondering if it was an honest homage (quite common in the series so far) or just a case of serendipity.