Codex Born by Jim C Hines is the sequel to Libriomancer which tells of Isaac Vainio, a libriomancer with the power to access magic from within books. If you have not read Libriomancer, I would strongly suggest you start there. While it is not impossible to enjoy the story without having read the first book, it builds upon concepts, characters and events detailed in Libriomancer. Codex Born continues Isaac’s story and develops what we know of libriomancy. Feel free to check out my thoughts on Libriomancer.
What I liked
Lena’s backstory. We learn much, much more about Lena Greenwood through brief snippets before each chapter. For me, this was one of the most beautifully written and touching parts of the books as she learns to come to terms with her nature and the accommodations she has to make to achieve a little freedom.
The visual imagery. Hines has a real talent for describing scenes that had me flat out giggling like a schoolgirl with the picture it evoked in my mind. An example was “She appeared to be holding off a small swarm of bugs with a drinking straw and a yo-yo.” I’m snickering even now at that mental image. If you are interested in the quotes I found most amusing, feel free to follow me on my Kindle Amazon profile where I share notable quotes from the books I’m reading.
The magic system. One of the attractions for me about Libriomancer was the magic system. The idea that the love of books is so powerful that certain people – libriomancers – can harness that to draw magic from the book really intrigued me. I felt it was handled slightly better in this book than in Libriomancer, where sometimes I felt that the rules and limitations weren’t fully explained before being broken. In Codex Born I felt these were more clearly defined which meant I felt the ending was less of a deus ex machina.
What I didn’t like
I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about Codex Born. The plot did get a little complex at times, and it was a little tricky to keep track of who was manipulating whom and who wanted to kill whom.
I gave Codex Born a solid 4 stars out of 5.