Author: Jim C. Hines
Title: Codex Born
Series: Magic Ex Libris 2
Pairing: M/F, F/F
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website:
Isaac Vainio’s life was almost perfect. He should have known it couldn’t last.
Living and working as a part-time librarian in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Isaac had finally earned the magical research position he dreamed of with Die Zwelf Portenære, better known as the Porters. He was seeing a smart, fun, gorgeous dryad named Lena Greenwood. He had been cleared by Johannes Gutenberg to do libriomancy once again, to reach into books and create whatever he chose from their pages. Best of all, it had been more than two months since anything tried to kill him.
And then Isaac, Lena, and Porter psychiatrist Nidhi Shah are called to the small mining town of Tamarack, Michigan, where a pair of septuagenarian werewolves have discovered the brutally murdered body of a wendigo.
What begins as a simple monster-slaying leads to deeper mysteries and the discovery of an organization thought to have been wiped out more than five centuries ago by Gutenberg himself. Their magic rips through Isaac’s with ease, and their next target is Lena Greenwood.
They know Lena’s history, her strengths and her weaknesses. Born decades ago from the pages of a pulp fantasy novel, she was created to be the ultimate fantasy woman, shaped by the needs and desires of her companions. Her powers are unique, and Gutenberg’s enemies mean to use her to destroy everything he and the Porters have built. But their plan could unleash a far darker power, an army of entropy and chaos, bent on devouring all it touches.
The Upper Peninsula is about to become ground zero in a magical war like nothing the world has seen in more than five hundred years. But the more Isaac learns about Gutenberg and the Porters, the more he questions whether he’s fighting for the right cause.
One way or another, Isaac must find a way to stop a power he doesn’t fully understand. And even if he succeeds, the outcome will forever change him, the Porters, and the whole world.
To say I was disappointed in this book doesn't nearly encompass my feelings. After the first book in this series I was intrigued by the unique magic and the world Hines created for his characters. It was some of the most interesting magic I've seen in a while and I immediately went and got Codex Born to continue reading. What I forgot was the parts of the first book that I honestly didn't like and unfortunately they were all prominent in this book to the point that I struggled to keep reading.
Isaac honestly isn't a likeable main character. He tries hard, but he trends towards being vapid even though he's portrayed as a smart man. He's also mean and ignorant, which is something he admittedly is trying to overcome, but it doesn't make him more endearing to me. The romance was also a struggle to believe. Isaac is in love with Lena and Lena with him, but Lena is also in love with a woman so Isaac shares Lena. It's awkward, poorly explained, and the emotion the situation should encompass isn't really present. The book feels very stilted because of that.
The magic I loved was still very interesting and that is the only reason I finished reading this book. The bad guys Isaac is fighting in this book have found a new avenue to attack, co-opting a psychopath and convincing another group of magic users that they can find freedom if they work with him. The plot is a bit convoluted, but it kept me reading until the end. I just don't know if the plot and the magic is enough to get me to read the next book in the series when everything else was sub-par.
While the magic was extremely interesting and the plot was engaging, the characterizations and the romance were painful to read. I did like the plot of the book, however with so much I also didn't like I can't recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.