Jim Butcher is best known for The Dresden Files, a noirish urban fantasy series. Academ’s Fury is the second book in his straight, high fantasy series, The Codex Alera, which is set in a world at the technological level of the Roman Empire. Many of the characters have Roman names and I expect that we’ll learn in a future book that they are somehow descendants of marooned Romans. This is not Earth: there are several alien races. More importantly, every human can call upon one or more furies, elemental beings with varying levels of control over air, fire, water, wood, and metal.
Every human except one: Tavi, the teenaged hero, who cannot call upon any furies whatsoever. He is now a student at the elite Academy in the capital of the Realm. The story switches between Tavi, his aunt Isana, and her brother Bernard’s lover, Amara: all of whom come to realize that their world is under attack by a hitherto unknown alien race, the Vord.
This is an entertaining, fast-paced novel with plenty of swords and not a little sorcery, which contrives to leave almost every chapter hanging from a cliff.