Another series I didn’t start until I knew that all the books were complete. Unfortunately Robert Jordan‘s death during the course of writing the Wheel of Time has permanently scarred me and I am frightened to start a new series without knowing that it will eventually conclude!
The Furies of Calderon is the first in Jim Butcher‘s Codex Alera series, which basically deals with (as we find out later in the series and as its not really a spoiler, I’ll tell you now) citizens transplanted from ancient Rome during the time of the Roman Empire and its legions. These transplanted Romans from a Roman legion, settle in Alera where they gradually start to develop affinities with one or more furies – which are natural elements capable of influencing their surroundings.Gaius Sextus (you’ll notice Roman names for people, places and objects abound for obvious reasons) the ruler of the land is aged and his only heir was killed in a battle. Intrigues and plotting abounds and while Gaius has remarried, it is not likely that he will produce an heir. The other nobles plots include allying with the Marat – the group of savages that had earlier killed the First Lord’s son and it is into this maelstrom that we are introduced to the hero of our story.
Unlike the majority of Alerans, Tavi has no connections to any furies at all. In this he is an anomaly and is forced to live without a power that everyone else takes for granted. An orphan, Tavi has been looked after by his Aunt and Uncle who are both powerful and well respected leaders of their town. In searching for the sheep that he is responsible for, Tavi and his Uncle Bernard are ambushed by the Marat. The Marat have different clans, each with a different totem animal and the Marat that they encounter are partnered with herdbane – 8′ tall birds of prey (possibly also transplanted from Earth in ancient times?). During the battle with the Marat, Uncle Bernard is injured and Tavi realizes that if he is to save him, he will need to lure the Marat away and sets off into the wilderness.
Tavi next meets Amara – an agent of the First Lord in disguise – who is hunting Fidelias, her mentor in the spy corps that she is a part of. Fidelias has betrayed the First Lord as he believes it is in the best interests of the land. Fidelias is a traitor that you could actually admire as he is not your normal cardboard villain at all and is a true patriot!
As the story progresses, Tavi is gradually introduced to other clans of the Marat and comes to discover that they are not all the same faceless evil savages that he was led to believe … in addition as the story progresses, lots more questions are opened up and this is definitely a great first book in the series (and now that I have read the rest of the series, I can only state that it just gets better and better!).
A really good first book. While there are some similarities to the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson with regards to the powers and way that they are used, this does not in any way detract from this series. The “magic” is well thought out and the science of the magic is consistent throughout.
Character Growth & Development – 5/5
Really likable hero’s and villains that are not over the top in any way at all. Really good read and you’ll definitely come to care about the players in this drama.
Story Growth & Development – 4/5
I’d like to say that allying with your enemy is stupid and why would anyone do it, but unfortunately stupidities of this sort seem to the nature of the day vs the opposite.
Overall Rating – 9/10
A definite page turner and one that you won’t want to put down once you start reading it. I think I finished the whole series in a two week stretch and am planning on revisiting it again soon!