Furies of Calderon ~ Jim Butcher

  • Title:  Furies of Calderon
  • Author:  Jim Butcher
  • Series:  Codex Alera #1
  • Genre:  Adventure, Fantasy
  • Format:  Paperback
  • Source:  Own book
  • Reviewed by: Valerie
  • Rating:  4 out of 5

Description:  In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies-elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal, fifteen-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos-when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies-Tavi’s simple courage will turn the tides of war.

**Potential Spoilers**

Review:  I get a lot of book/author recommendations from fellow readers. The name Jim Butcher comes up. A LOT. Perhaps this is because I love both epic and urban fantasy so much. Since my significant other has read the Codex Alera series, Butcher’s traditional fantasy series, I decided to start there. Furies of Calderon is the first book of this series.

The story followed young Tavi, a naive young lad who appears to have no fury, an elemental-based power. He was a smart young man, but unfortunately, in a world where everyone is defined by their fury, he is seen as a bit less than others. His world, and that of his community, started to unravel when they are invaded by the Marat, fierce savage neighboring warriors, as part of a larger plot overthrow the king.

While the book did feel very much like the first book of a series, Butcher did a fantastic job of introducing a rich cast of characters. It was rare to find a character that is purely good or evil in the book. Most tended to be a blend of good and bad. In fact, the author depicted good, bad, right, and wrong as a matter of the character’s perspective. Characters on both side clearly had strong ethics, the only thing making them enemies seemed to be what they felt was best for the kingdom or their community. I look forward to seeing all of their stories unfold.

The political intrigue behind the conflict was interesting, if a little predictable. Butcher has a set up a good foundation upon which to build the series, yet he was able to craft a solid ending point for this book. In fact, Furies of Calderon was a picture perfect example of how to use a traditional plot line. The story got off to a slow start, so it took me a while to get into it. However, it gradually built into a crescendo, pulling me in before I even knew that I was hooked. There was a diverse cast of characters, in different locations and situations, and he gradually pulled them all into a truly epic battle scene at the Garrison. The action in the book was very well written.

It was hard not to fall in love with Tavi. He had this inherent goodness about him, and yet he wasn’t flawless. I had to “bless his heart” when he was bamboozled by a pretty face into shirking his chores at the beginning of the book. Clearly, and bond was created between Tavi and Kitai, daughter to one of the Marat’s leaders, with whom Tavi built a truce. It will be interesting to watch this unfold as the saga continues.

I do want to comment on the cover. It was more than a little cheesy. It looks like a teen who just walked away from a LARP adventure in front of a backdrop with lightening effects. It is a good thing that book was recommended, otherwise I might have overlooked it.

So, I guess that my friends were correct. This book spoke to my love of high fantasy and adventure. I am looking forward to continuing the series.