Series: Codex Alera #1
Published by Ace in October 2004
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes and Noble
For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon." "Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans' most savage enemy - the Marat - return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine." Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Amara will find Tavi's courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury - one that could turn the tides of war.
The Codex Alera series is not my typical read. I don’t really read adult fantasy novels, but it came recommended from a good friend of mine. So I decided to give it a try.
The first third/half of Furies of Calderon was a STRUGGLE. It was difficult to get into. There were moments where I wondered why I decided to read it. Ultimately though, I committed to it, wanted to give my opinion of it, and just needed to finish it. There’s A LOT going on in Furies of Calderon. There was this world Jim Butcher had to build, all these characters to introduce, along with explaining furies and the Marat. The beginning was difficult for me to follow along with. With new chapters, brought new POVs, different locals, and just required a lot of attention and brain power to follow along. I have a list written somewhere of character names.
After a while, I finally started to get it. So let me break it down for you. Furies of Calderon and the series as a whole takes place in this fantasy world. You have the Alerans and the Marat, and a war brewing in the Calderon Valley between the two, fueled by a High Lord that wants to take over for the First Lord who is aging. Alerans have elemental furies that they bond with. The Marat have different tribes, and they bond with specific animals.
There are a ton of characters, but the MAIN character of the series is Tavi, an Aleran that does not have a fury. He lives in Calderon Valley with his uncle Bernard and aunt Isana, and this is where the story begins. The story has spies, traitor spies, a very sexist and self-centered steadholder, friendly Marat and some unfriendly Marat. There are multiple points of views. There’s a ton of action and some romance. It’s really quite the epic fantasy novel.
Honestly, I feel like this review is just a ton of word vomit, but it’s really difficult for me to describe my feelings about Furies of Calderon into words. I enjoyed it once I figured out who’s who and had an idea of what exactly was going on. I’m still craving more information about furies, like how does an Aleran come to have one? I’m hoping the rest of the books move at a faster pace and is less confusing, but I have a feeling there’s still lots about this world to learn about. So I’m not so hopeful.
Let me know if you’ve read Furies of Calderon or the Codex Alera series! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Whether it’s about the books or how Jim Butcher loosely based this series on Pokemon and the lost Roman legion.