Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) ★★★★★

furiesofcalderon (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Furies of Calderon
Series: Codex Alera #1
Author: Jim Butcher
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 688
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia: With Spoilers Galore!

The story takes place in the Aleran Empire, which contains “crafters”, people who can control the elements: water, air, earth, fire, wood, and metal, through a person’s bond with an element’s fury.

A young woman named Amara travels with her mentor Fidelias as part of her graduation exercise. Amara is training to become one of the Cursori, messengers and spies for the First Lord of Alera, Gaius Sextus. They infiltrate a camp of mercenaries, when Amara is tricked by a watercrafter named Odiana and betrayed by Fidelias. Odiana is the lover of Aldrick ex Gladius, the greatest swordsman since Araris Valerian, a legendary swordsman who had been in the service of the Princeps of Alera, the First Lord’s late son. Amara escapes and makes contact with First Lord Gaius using her aircraft. He instructs her to go to the city of Garrison.

The story switches to a steadholt controlled by Bernard, a man who lost his wife and children and stays with his sister Isana, and their nephew Tavi who is furyless. Tavi finds that one of his sheep has gone missing. He and Bernard track the sheep when they are attacked by a Marat warrior. The Marat and the Alerans had fought a war before Tavi was born in which the Marat killed Gaius’ son, Princeps Septimus. The Marat are a warrior people who form tribes based on bonds with different animals, for example horses. In the fight, Tavi and Bernard kill the warrior’s war bird but not before Bernard is wounded. Tavi is running for help when a furystorm hits. While seeking shelter, he finds Amara and the two find the Princeps Memorial, a cave dedicated to Princeps Septimus. Bernard makes it back to his steadholt, where Isana uses her watercrafting skills to heal him. Bernard then finds Tavi and Amara and bring them back to the steadholt. Fidelias, Odiana, and Aldrick stay at the steadholt where they discover Amara and attempt to capture her. Amara and Tavi escape with Fade, a slave of the steadholt who is mentally challenged, and together they travel through the woods before Amara splits from the other two.

Tavi and Fade are attacked by Kord, the leader of Kordholt and a slaver. During the fight, Bernard and Amara attack Kord when Fidelias, Odiana, and Aldrick attack. Aldrick kills Kord’s son Bittan and after arriving, Isana floods the river. Bernard and Amara go one way; Tavi and Fade a second, and Fidelias and Aldrick another; Isana, Odiana, Kord, and Kord’s oldest son Aric are washed to Kordholt. Tavi and Fade are captured by a Marat Headman named Doroga. Odiana and Isana, captured by Kord, are locked away and Odiana is raped. Bernard and Amara continue to Garrison where they rouse the Legionares. Fidelias and Aldrick go to the Marat leader Atsurak, who decides to invade Garrison immediately. Tavi convinces Doroga to let him undergo a trial that can stop the attack on Garrison. Tavi faces the trial with Kitai, Doroga’s daughter, and wins, saving Kitai’s life in the process, and undergoing some sort of bond with her which changes the colour of her eyes to match his, although he does not understand the meaning of this change.

Isana and Odiana convince Aric to help them escape Kordholt, and they split up and head to Garrison. Tavi and the Marat head to Garrison to stop Atsurak. Bernard and Amara hold off the Marat, while realising their feelings for one another, and Isana arrives and hides. Tavi and Doroga attack and kill Atsurak, and Tavi reunites with Benard and Isana. They are attacked by Fidelias and Aldrick, who defeat Bernard and Amara with ease. Fade then attacks Aldrick, defeats him, and leaves him alive. It is hinted here that Fade is Araris Valerian. Fidelias throws Fade off the wall, attacks Tavi, and takes Aquitaine’s dagger.

Garrison survived the attack and Tavi is granted a scholarship to the Academy by the First Lord. Bernard and Amara become Count and Countess of the garrison, and Isana is given the title of Steadholder, making her the first woman ever to own a steadholt and gain citizenship through merit rather than marriage.

Fidelias and Aldrick return to Aquitaine, greeted by Invidia, Aquitaine’s wife and discover Aquitaine sleeping with Gaius’ wife Caria.

 

My Thoughts:

You know, I really wish I had thought of this “use Wikipedia” idea for my synopsis much earlier. Mainly for these Epic Fantasy books that are big bad bruisers and part of a collection that is huge. All right, I’ll try to make this the last time I mention that. Maybe that can be my New Years Resolution for 2020, don’t whine about not using Wikipedia earlier. I think I can do that! Hahahahaaa, yeaaaaaahhh.

I read my papercopy at lunch time at work and it took me from mid-October to now to finish it. That means I “should” be able to finish up the entire series next year just reading it at lunch and whenever I have conferences. Having the entire series in paperback means I can throw it into my backpack and not care about the condition it comes out in by the end. The hardcovers are on my shelf to look pretty.

With this being my third read of this book, it doesn’t pack quite the same punch as the first time. The revelations about several of the characters isn’t as dramatic nor is the tension the same. Given, it has been almost 8 years since I last read this, so a lot of the detail is missing from my memory, but certain big plot points did stick in my memory.

That being said, this story doesn’t lack. It is pure awesomesauce and even as a coming of age story for Tavi, he’s not a total idiot like most young characters in books today. He makes mistakes but he also matures (hey YA authors, grow the phrack up would you!?!? stop acting like infantile pieces of poop). Then add in that other characters range from their 20’s into being Seniors and well, they keep the story from devolving into what most YA is today. Not that I’d qualify this as YA in any shape, way or form. Ok, no more raging against YA for the rest of the review, I promise.

One thing that I really hadn’t noticed before was just how quickly everything happens. As in, the time frame within the story. It is just a couple of days. For an almost 700 page book to span only a couple of days means that a LOT happens. We jump around to several viewpoints but Butcher doesn’t commit the cardinal sin of being a jackass and giving us a chapter from every side character. We follow the main actors, good and bad. While I wished at times that he had followed a particular viewpoint a bit longer, he did do an excellent job of weaving them altogether into one big tapestry.

My only qualm is that one of the main bad characters get raped by another of the badguys. The rape isn’t explicit or graphic in any way nor did I feel like it was included for shock value. It didn’t make me feel uncomfortable beyond the fact that it happened. It just something to be aware of though. The rapist gets the justice he deserves at the end of the book thankfully.

Wow, this went on a lot longer than I expected when I first started writing. I’d say that me writing this much says as much about the book as anything. It is a great book and even on this third time reading I had a good time. Looking forward to the rest of the series as I get to them.

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Captain’s Fury

cover
Captain’s Fury

Codex Alera #4

Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

I originally read this back in ’10  and thought it was fantastic.

This time, I just flew through this book. It was great. I enjoyed the danger, the fighting, the tactics, the relationships and the story.

I love the fact that Butcher makes Tavi act outside the circumstances set up for him by others. Of course, it pisses me off when Tavi is maneuvered into impossible situations by people who call him on breaking laws while they themselves are grossly violating the laws.

Huh, kind of like liberals. Dang, maybe Butcher will make me political yet!

Cursor’s Fury

Cursor's FuryCursor’s Fury

Codex Alera #3

Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

August 2012 Review:
In situations like described in this book, people either break or become stronger. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Tavi rise to each occasion and deal with them to the best of his ability.
He is no longer the whiny little shepherd boy from Calderon, but a fully fledged Cursor who cares about Alera, his men and his duty.

Academ’s Fury

Academ's FuryAcadem’s Fury

Codex Alera #2

Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

June 2012
I went into this knowing just how bad ass the vord were going to be and I STILL felt totally tensed up and “what is going to happen next?”. No, I don’t have a bad memory. I just find the writing to be as good upon re-reading as when I read it the first time.

The Canim are just phracking cool…

Furies of Calderon

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1)Furies of Calderon
Codex Alera #1
Jim Butcher
Fantasy
5 Stars

 

Still a 5 Star book. I wondered, right before I began, if I was doing the right thing in re-reading it; maybe it wouldn’t be so good upon reflection, maybe the unknown made it better [see my review of Hunters of Dune], maybe, maybe, maybe.

Thankfully, Butcher is a consumate writer and this shines through.
Humor entwined with the horror of humanity [rape, even non-graphic, just makes me want to throw-up. To me it symbolizes everything that is wrong with humanity], action based around and on characters who persevere.

My appreciation for wordsmithing goes up this time. I didn’t have the “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, this is so awesome!” feeling that I did in my first reading, BUT I really enjoyed how Butcher gives us just enough about the world to clue us in without either overwhelming us with info dumps or leave us completely feeling lost in a maze of a world (That’s a smackdown to YOU, Steven Erikson)

And I like fantasy better than urban fantasy, so this suits my tastes MUCH better

 

2010 Review

Furies of Calderon

Furies of Calderon

Codex Alera #1

Jim Butcher

Fantasy

5 Stars

 

A world where humans have carved for themselves an empire in a hostile world. Led by the First Lord, humans have the powers of ‘furies’ to enhance them.

This follows one young man from his beginnings

as a humble shepherd in the outer stretches of the empire as he saves the region, makes an alliance with a hostile race and is given patronage by the First Lord to attend the Academy.

 

Very well done. Good characterization, intriguing novel plot and an overarching plot.