There are authors who write for mass potential — the hope to access the most readers in the attempt to further their reach and their readership. Hines is not that type of writer; he writes joyously for the delight of his specific market. Codex Born is what would happen if a group of fantasy fans were to hole up in a room trying to develop a system of magic, saying, “But what if THIS happened?” Isaac Vainio is an unlikely hero because he doesn’t see himself as a hero, and the supporting cast of characters is extremely well developed. At times, the plot gets mired in details that will only appeal to the niche — but it is a niche loved by many, including this reviewer.
An ancient magic, even more ancient than that of Libriomancy itself, threatens the safety and stability of the Porters and the entire world. As Isaac Vainio and Lena Greenwood uncover more of the secrets of this magic, the history of the world as written by Johannes Gutenberg and his printing presses becomes more questionable. Will Isaac have to choose between his mentor and his morals? (DAW, Aug., 320 pp., $24.95)