Let's Crazy Awesome it up: Codex Alera
This should be good. Like many epics, it starts a little slow at times while it sets the stage, but then it lets rip. There are (IIRC) 4 POV characters in this book, and sometimes one thread may be less awesome than the others - but it works well overall, and it all comes together in a satisfying manner at the end. The Crazy Awesome will take a while to really get going, but it is worth the wait.
I don't know how much Latin you know, but it's pretty heavily dotted about the place in the books, though you don't need it to follow what's going on. I'll give a few examples I remember from school - a gladius means (legionary-style) sword, whence the word "gladiator"; a cursor was a runner or messenger; fidelias means "faithful" and Odiana is presumably derived from odium ("hatred") while Amara derives from amare "to love", which makes an interesting contrast. Jim Butcher does his research!
Although there's a distressing lack of proper cases endings; surely it should be Knights Aquae, not Knights Aqua? But this might be simply an in-universe grammatical shift over time; there are no case endings in Italian, IIRC.
In general, Jim Butcher is good about avoiding Badass Decay and can write smart villains well. He's also good at giving his villains understandable motives (though these may not always be revealed at the time). I think that the lensing effect is done by changing the optical density of the air somehow - the optical density of air varies with temperature, which is what causes mirages in real life.
hollow49 (edited by: hollow49)
I hope that you will continue with this, though managing a post per chapter may be too much work for a 6-volume series.