Codex Born - Jim C. Hines
I was so excited when I got this book in the mail. I loved [b:Libriomancer|12844699|Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)|Jim C. Hines|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1318277038s/12844699.jpg|17995680] so much that I pre-ordered this one. It's the first time I've ever felt such anticipation for a new release.

[b:Codex Born|15824178|Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris, #2)|Jim C. Hines|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348840241s/15824178.jpg|21554984] gets right into the thick of it pretty quickly. The reader is spared long passages of recap, which is refreshing for a fantasy series. This book focuses more on the character Lena Greenwood, which I found really enjoyable. Lena is a strong, positive female character that is frankly just entertaining to read. I liked the passages written in her POV at the beginning of every chapter, even if the ultimate reason for their being there is a bit anti-climatic.

I liked that [a:Jim C. Hines|172490|Jim C. Hines|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1348840639p2/172490.jpg] was able to bring us back into the world of libriomancy in a new, exciting way. The pacing is quite similar to the first book in the series; quick, with very little wasted time, though I think the conflict wasn't really as interesting as in the first book. There was a lot of build-up in the this book, and the last book, regarding the 'ghosts' and their personal hatred towards Isaac. I kept expecting it to be answered, and it wasn't, really.

All the same, I liked a lot of the new characters that were introduced, particularly Jeff the werewolf and Guan Feng. There were a lot of other satellite characters which I imagine will be called upon in further books, but lent to a bit of 'character soup' in the narrative--I kept forgetting names towards the end.

***POSSIBLE SPOILER BELOW***

The book has a very strong finish, which made me waver on my rating; I really wanted to give it five stars.... but ultimately the confusion over the antagonists' motives, and especially those motives with Isaac in particular (he seems to be bullied by big baddies for very little reason, left me wanting. The villain for this arc, Harrison, is unbelievably powerful for a man that only had a year to learn how to wield his magic, and create all of the monsters from the scrapyard.