Butcher, Jim: The Codex Alera: The Furies of Calderon (2004)

Today was a first for me. I had to check my blog to see if I had written about Jim Butcher’s books. Maybe I should read less.

Most people probably connect the name Jim Butcher with the urban fantasy series Dresden Files. This was my introduction to Jim Butcher. I’m not certain where I found out about The Codex Alera, but I remember that one of the comments I read was that this was the better series. So why not give it a try.

The Codex Alera is very different from Dresden Files. The Dresden files are each around 300 pages long while the Codex Alera carries  approximately 600 pages of text. That gives the story time to flesh itself out. It could have ended up with fiasco, but Butcher does an excellent job.

Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum

What I think has happened is that Butcher has happened upon something that gives him a chance to shine. And shine he does.

We meet Tavi, a furyless human in a world where most humans have at least some ability to use the furies of the world. The furies are something along the lines of elemental spirits that can be used by humans. With them they gain various abilities to very different degrees. The furies are called water-furies, air-furies, earth-furies, metal-furies and fire-furies. The humans who control these elemental spirits are called crafters.

While Tavi is the main character of the series, he does have a lot of people helping him on his journey. One of them is his uncle Bernard. Bernard is a retired legionare who has become Steadholter in the Valley of Calderon. He is responsible for the welfare of those who live within the boundaries of his steadholt. Bernard is known for being a fair leader. To Tavi, Bernard is his hero, someone he would like to emulate. When Bernard becomes hurt due to Tavi’s carelessness, Tavi has to look beyond himself and try to make matters better.

Isana is Tavi’s aunt. Her goal in life is to take care of Tavi and to ensure his reaching adulthood in a safe manner. But she will not get her way in The Furies of Calderon. Tavi has seen something he should not have and becomes hunted.

Amara and Kitai are people whose importance will become more apparent as the series progresses. In The Furies of Calderon they play supporting roles. Amaray is a cursor (spy/messenger) for the First Lord Gaius. Kitai is a Marat – a race of non-humans that Tavi and his family come into contact with in various ways.

The Furies of Calderon is an incredibly fun action/adventure/magic-filled high/epic fantasy novel that shows Jim Butcher at his best.

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My reviews of books 2 (Academ’s Fury), 3 (Cursor’s Fury), 4 (Captain’s Fury), 5 (Princep’s Fury) and 6 (First Lord’s Fury)

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