Codex Born By Jim C. Hines

Sep 27, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Fantasy & Fangs, Terrance V. Mc Arthur

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Details on how to enter to win a copy of Codex Born at the end of this review, along with a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL!

Wouldn’t it be cool to reach into a book and pull out…a working ray gun, or…Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility? In Jim C. Hines’ Codex Born, second book in the Magic Ex Libris series, that’s libriomancy, a magical art invented by Johannes Gutenberg. If it’s in a book, you can get it, with some exceptions. Some writers just have their characters use magic to do whatever they want. The Libriomancer series has a magic system with rules and limits, and there are physical and societal consequences for breaking the rules.

bookIsaac is a part-time librarian and a libriomancer. His girlfriend/lover is a dryad, a tree-spirit who sprung from an acorn pulled from an old pulp novel. She has another lover, a female psychologist who had worked with the girl (It’s an odd situation, but the two humans do their best to deal with it; the dryad just loves each one in a different way, and her lovers change her character). When a dead wendigo is found by werewolves, it’s Isaac’s job to find out how, why, and by whom/what such a dangerous creature could be slaughtered. He uses machines that are straight out of science fiction to discover what happened—honestly, he reaches into a book by Isaac Asimov and activates a time viewer from the story. He discovers another tradition of libriomancy, one that Gutenberg has suppressed and fought for centuries.

Lena Greenwood, Isaac’s favorite dryad, gets to fill in parts of her life and loves, revealing what she gives to…and gets from…her mates. It’s refreshing to read about a love interest that’s short and chunky, even if the cover doesn’t match that description.

Hines has expanded his magical version of Upper Michigan, bringing in werewolf packs, metallic insects in the hands of a revenge-driven madman, and books that are truly a place of refuge. Gutenberg’s book-based magic has rules and limits, but Isaac seems to find lots of workarounds that let him do things he shouldn’t be able to do, although the cost can be high. Take a look. It’s in a book. I wonder if he’ll find a Reading Rainbow?

To enter to win a copy of Codex Born, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Codex,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 4, 2014. U.S. residents only.

Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.

Use this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public’s information needs.


  1. Just discovered Jim Hines’ books and would love to win a copy of this one!

  2. Pick me!

  3. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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