Jim Butcher’s Cursor’s Fury is the third installment in his series, The Codex Alera. It’s another fairly standard-but-fun adventure through a wonderfully crafted fantasy world. Butcher presents the reader with a well told and compelling story that suffers a little from poor pacing and overworked writing techniques. Being the third book in the series, I’ve had time to notice that Butcher follows patterns. His romance is usually a genre-jumping journey into a romance novel, and his pacing always seems a little off to me. Despite his usual list of offenses being present, I can’t help but feel the steam building up behind this books and have to admit that I’ve enjoyed each one more and more. If you’ve read the two books prior to this one, I suggest you continue reading the series; they only keep getting better.
- I feel like Butcher took a step back in regards to writing in this book. I’m not sure if the version I have is poorly edited, or if Butcher’s writing actually did regress a bit. I came across more instances of repetitive descriptors, silly mistakes, uninspired prose, and various other inconsistencies.
- The pacing of the novel was a bit annoying to me. Butcher has a habit of jumping back and forth between alternate storylines as a way to create suspense. He will write one story arc to a crescendo, and then immediately jump to another arc, repeating the same process over and over. That habit in this book creates an experience I can only describe as jagged.
- I cannot stand the way Butcher writes love/romantic scenes. He writes them as if he is jumping genres and writing some-what trashy romance novels. There is nothing wrong with trashy romance. That being said, I don’t pick up a book with swords, fireballs, and wolf-men to read about bulging muscles, warm lips, and pleased growls.
- Despite the questionable pacing, I found the story to be very enjoyable and had a great deal of difficulty putting the book down in its latter half.
- Butcher’s character writing and dialogue writing has continued to show improvement, and more likable characters with better conversations is always a bonus. That being said, some of his characters still feel very shallow and there is still plenty of room for improvement.
- Butcher does an excellent job of continuing to build and flesh out his complex, Romanesque world. I feel the world that these stories take place in has been the real high point of the series thus far.
- Butcher finds ways to describe people that he likes and he works them to death. Nearly every man with a suit of armor has his armor described as bearing many dents and much battle damage. People spoke “quietly” so frequently that I just began imaging conversations as whispers. It’s nothing terrible, but pet descriptors always catch my attention.
- Guess what? Tavi is still a Mary Sue.
Tavi has come of age. Despite his status as a cursor and saving the realm twice over, he still must spend the obligate amount of time within Aleran Legions. Fortunately, a new legion, The First Aleran, has just begun forming and Gaius has secured Tavi a spot as the third sub-tribune logistica. On top of this, Lord Kalare has been scheming with the Canim and is moved to action against the realm at large, and Gaius himself. With a Canim invasion landing on their more northern shores, and a civil war erupting in the south, Alera will once again find itself on the brink of destruction.