Furies of Calderon
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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Liked this book as the start of a series
    I can't say why I decided to read this. I'm not a big fan of urban fantasy, so I never could really get into the Dresden books (although the one I tried was certainly witty and well-written -- this is clearly about my tastes, not about the writing). Nor am I a big fan of fantasy based on Rome. However, read it I did, and I found it to be a quite entertaining fantasy novel. How entertaining? I ordered the rest of the books in the series and read them straight through, including the one that's only out in hardcover. Oh, and now I am chomping at the bit for this fall's release of the final book in the series.

    Want to know about the plot? There are other reviews that detail that, so I refer you to them. What captured my attention was that combination of what it takes to make a good fantasy novel: fluent writing, interesting believable characters, and good solid world-building.

    It helped that the first series of events in this book both surprised me and (in retrospect) could not have gone any other way, which promised strong plotting. Indeed, the entire book has a good and interesting premise explored in a powerfully developed plot. The characters intrigued me, both the good guys and the bad guys, and most of all the ones who are somewhere in between.

    The magic system is interesting although I think it's probably the place where someone who wanted to poke holes could. The world is believably drawn. The events of the book are both complete in the book and clearly part of a larger pattern.

    And the best part of all, this very strong and enjoyable book is by far the weakest of the five so far published in this series. I'm so glad I found it....more info
  • Fairly Enjoyable Fluff Drags On
    I don't normally read fantasy of this type, which appears to be inspired by bad dreams engendered from a night of playing Worlds of Warcraft and eating mediocre pizza. My taste runs to more classic, literary stuff (Tolkien, Peake, Lindsay, Eddison, Dunsany, etc.), but on a whim I wanted to see what contemporary genre fantasy was like. I chose this book because of a strange coincidence: the main character's name, Tavi, is my own son's nickname (his formal name is Octavio). Not only that, but his uncle's name--Bernard--is the name my wife and I were GOING to name Tavi before we change our minds at the last minute.

    Butcher's Tavi is indeed a likeable character, a refreshing change from the usual blustering hero, a bit Frodo-ish without the weight. I found the concepts of Furies, the elementals that folk here have (sort of counterpart to the daemons in Pullman's Dark Materials) to be intriguing, though they're really only used in battle. Oddly, Tavi and his uncle are the only ones who appear to be engaged in any kind of work activity; they're shepherds. You'd think with all these nifty Furies around they'd be able to cook up some really peachy lifestyle stuff, but I guess they lack the imagination to do so. Again, this is straight out of Magic the Gathering or whatever.

    (spoiler alert!)
    Butcher creates a whole class of orc-like villains, sort of a combination of demonized Native Americans and Klingons, or something like that. Later in the story he tries to humanize them some more, but either he shouldn't have done this at all, or he should have taken it farther. Tavi has a psychedelic mind-meld with one of them, who turns out to be a girl, and if they weren't being chased by evil, giant spiders in a huge pit of wax (huh?), they might have even consummated their species-crossing love right there. Too bad.

    Anyway, the pace was pretty good, and though not great literature I got through the first two-thirds of the book fine. Then we hit The Battle. Of course, we all know The Battle is coming. What we don't know is that The Battle lasts longer than the wizard fight scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And it's filled with the same phrases over and over: He swallowed. A casual flick of the wrist. Crows peck out their eyes. Vast hordes. Again. Please, pass me the remote!

    I did like the very end though, when Tavi found chasing after lost sheep more interesting than getting a reward from the King himself. Now that's my kind of hero!
    ...more info
  • A masterpiece of modern Fantasy Fiction.
    This review is for books one, two and three of The Codex Alera.

    We start the story with Tavi and his uncle looking for a lost herd of sheep, while looking they attacked by a Marat warrior.
    Tavi is forced to flee while his uncle lies injured, his uncle finally manages to escape. This leaves only Tavi to hunt.
    After several days of running Tavi manages to escape. While returning home he finds an injured woman, her name is Amara and she is a Cursor(warrior, spy, assassin) for the First High Lord.

    And so Tavi's adventure begins through the invasion of the Marat and the treason of some of Alera's high lords. Through to his education at the Academy and to him joining the Cursors and stopping an assassination attempt by the dreaded Vord.
    And then his adventure continues through civil war and to the invasion of the Cane, during this time he has command of his own Legion and eventually to the defeat of the Cane.

    These are the first Jim Butcher novels I have read and they were brilliant, they were very well written, the magical elements of the story were great(they were almost as good as the magic in Erikson's books) and the battle scense's were AMAZING definatly in the top three of any fantasy I have ever read. ...more info
  • Favorite book ever lol
    This is my favorite series (with 1 more book to go) I love it. It gets better and beter keep on reading. :)...more info
  • Awesome series....
    The Furies of Calderon is the beginning of a great series. This first installment sets the stage for an entertaining ride. Butcher has created a very good and original fantasy setting that is easy to get pulled into. I finished reading this book in two days, then quickly went out to buy the other four books. I finished them rapidly as well. I could not pull myself away from them. The plots are great, the characters are awesome. The books are not too long. There is very little 'fluff'. Basically you will not get bored reading these. I can't recommend this series enough.

    As for Furies of Calderon specifically, it is a typical first volume. It's purpose is to set the stage for bigger things. The magic system is different than what you see in typical fantasy, and thats a good thing. The battle scenes are very graphic and pull you right in. The plots and subplots interweave at a very comfortable pace. The characters are the driving force behind the books. Each are battling their own pains and turmoils. Fade, in my opinion, ranks as one of my favorite characters of all time. Bottom line: Read it. Then plan on buying the other Codex of Alera volumes very soon after. ...more info
  • Great Read for The Fantasy Addicts
    For me this book was like finding a diamond in the rough. There are a lot of good fantasy writers out there and this book has just joined the club. It's a fast and intense read with many twists and turns that keeps you waiting for more. I can't wait for Book Two in The Codex Alera....more info
  • Good stuff. Don't expect Harry Dresden, though.
    Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series succeeds largely because the wry humor underlying the story is irresistable. Furies of Calderon is good, too; but it has a totally different tone. You'll enjoy FofC, I think -- Butcher is an excellent writer, and he paints a compelling word-picture -- but don't come into expecting Harry Dresden in a Fantasy Universe.

    I admit that I found the beginning of the book a little slow. The setup takes several chapters, because there are quite a few characters to introduce: Tavi, the 15-year-old boy with no furies (magic powers of air, water, earth, or fire) to call upon; Amara, the crown's spy; Tavi's uncle and aunt; and a few more. *Do* give the book 50 pages before you decide what you think of it, as that's when the action really starts.

    And it's good stuff. If you've been looking for a solid sword-and-sorcery and a nice not-so-predictible quest, you'll enjoy the book a lot. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series, which (thankfully) has already come out....more info
  • Where are the nominations? This is a great read! Butcher is getting better and better.
    There are so many reasons to recommend the Furies of Calderon that I was surprised that it was not nominated for any of the major awards. There is a great deal of action but it is not that irritating phenomenon of action for action's sake. I joke with my husband that my tombstone should read "Just one more page!" because while reading a book like the Furies of Calderon, I struggle to stay up turning pages into the wee hours. Like a first rate play, one of this book's best points is that it is built on a strong ensemble of characters. There is not just one superstar character; nearly every character is compelling. There is warfare, compassion, romance, bravery, foolishness and magic all in good measure. The plot is complicated but not to the point of being dry. If the rest of the books in the series are as good as this one, it is a series well worth investing the time to follow.
    [...]...more info
  • Dead book
    I enjoy Butcher's "Harry Dresden" series, so I was excited when he released this new series. What a disappointment, though. From the beginning, "Furies" did not seem as light-hearted and entertaining as the Dresden books. I can live with that, though -- a new series, a slightly different genre, a different tone to this new stuff.

    But the writing also seemed clunky, like Butcher was spending more time making sure his writing "sounded like" high fantasy than just letting his writing flow. (He's GREAT at letting the words just flow in his Dresden series. That feels like a much more natural writing style for him than this novel.) Again, I could live with that. He was imitating somebody (possibly Tolkien, as the cover blurb said), and if that was the style he wanted to imitate, so be it. I could muddle my way through the chunky sentences.

    The characters also didn't appeal to me. I sort of grew to like a couple of them as the story went on, but there was no true hero that I could look at and say, "I want to be like that guy (or gal)!" Dresden has his problems, but he's overall a fun guy to be around. I've stuck with him through each book, and I enjoy his attitude, his sense of humor, and the loyalty he displays toward his friends. I couldn't find much of that in this book. Again, I was willing to give Butcher time to let these things develop -- he'd already earned my trust through the Dresden series, and I assumed that somebody would appeal to me if I just kept reading.

    However, I put the book down when, about 2/3 of the way through, he decided that one of his characters needed to be gang raped. Sure, the rape didn't actually happen "on screen." Yes, I know this sort of thing happens in real life. I know the woman was "just one of the bad guys." And I'm certain that the man responsible for the raping would have justice done to him by the end of the novel. But where is the entertainment value in this sort of thing?

    Sorry, but I have better things to do with my time than read about this sort of thing happening to a character I've grown to somewhat care for (I can't say I liked her much, but that's still not the sort of thing I would even wish on an enemy). This is the last Calderon book I'll (mostly) read, and I really hope this new series doesn't influence his Dresden series....more info
  • Good story, good fantasy, good storytelling
    This book is a real page turner. It is not what I would call terribly original--there are elements from the history books and things rather reminiscent of other fantasy novels. But that's OK. Rather than being a hodge-podge of things, the various elements meld together nicely in a well-told story that easily keeps the reader engaged. It also seems a bit more mature than the Dresden books, in a way. There are some writing hitches, where conversation gets too clever for the situation, or where things taking place at the same time don't seem to match up well, time-wise. But these are really minor sorts of things. All in all, this is a very enjoyable book, and I'm looking forward to the next book....more info
  • Outstanding
    Outstanding book from Butcher in a fantasy setting. I've enjoyed the Dresden Files from Butcher and wanted to give the Furies of Calderon a try. I was cautious how Butcher's style would cross over to a fantasy setting. I'm happy to say I was reall impressed. Butcher delived great fantasy action with an excellent plot and captivating new world....more info
  • Maybe it's just not for me
    I like Butcher's Dresden books as an interesting diversion, so I decided to give this series a try. Honestly, I never made it to the end of Book One.

    I think one thing that's missing here that Butcher managed to instill in the Dresden books is that I never really cared about the characters in this series. Every night, sitting down to read, I'd heave a sigh and pick this book up before finally admitting to myself that I just didn't care about these characters, didn't care whether they lived or died, and was really starting to root for the latter to happen so that it would just end.

    His writing is still good, but not nearly as snappy as in the Dresden series, and the dialog seems stilted. Okay, sure, older times, more formal perhaps, but I don't buy that.

    Wife loves this series almost as much as Dresden, so maybe it's just not the genre for me....more info
  • "Pokemon meets Lost Roman Legion"
    According to a video interview Jim Butcher gave, he started writing the Codex Alera series on something of a dare: someone challenged him to write an epic sword-and-horse fantasy based on the two things the challenger found most annoying, those being "Pokemon and lost Roman legions". One would think this would be an awkward combination, but in Jim's hands, it's something new and original to bring to the genre. I love the modified Roman Empire milieu, and the concept of "fury-crafting", of working with elemental beings which can shape the substance of things around the crafter, fascinates me.

    That said, I also approached this series on something of a dare: a rather strident teenaged fan of Jim's urban fantasy series, "The Dresden Files", came onto the forums on Jim's website, blasting the Codex Alera series and practically ordering Jim to stop writing it and focus his time and talent on more Dresden Files books. His reason: "Codex Alera sucks because it isn't the Dresden Files". I'd only at the time scanned a few sample chapters of Furies of Calderon and had found it a little hard to tune into (I'm a little leery of epic fantasy since, to me anyway, the bar got set so high by greats like J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard), but I decided to give it another shot and see what the kerfuffle was all about.

    I'm glad I rose to the challange set by this otherwise forum troll: In some ways, the book is a set-up for the series to come, but it is still a very worthwhile read. The characters are life-like, complex, and very sympathetic -- even the antagonists: the Marat might, at first glance, seem like mere barbarians who work closely with the totem animals of their tribes, but as the story unfolds, we find they are a complex community of individuals with their own psyches and ideas. Even Fidelias, the ironically named traitor, has his deep-set motives that are still unfolding.

    But at the center, perhaps the most fascinating individual is Tavi, a young man who has not yet manifested any fury-crafting talents despite having close relatives who are strong fury-crafters, and who thus must rely on his wits and his courage to navigate a world on the brink of earth-shattering changes. His story and his journey are going to be incredible to watch and I'm already reaching for the second volume to see where his choices -- big and small, for better and worse -- take him......more info
  • Good, but gets better
    First I should mention that I bought the first two books together with the third coming out a couple of weeks later. I read the first two straight through and that may be why I don't have many complaints. I've read all the books currently out and I like each one better than the last. It's difficult for me to rate them separately because I read the first three very close together.

    A lot of the complaints I've read in other reviews aren't an issue later on. For example, I didn't like the 15 year old Tavi (main hero) all that much myself, but each book takes place a couple of years after the last one. This helps the characters grow a lot and have more depth and maturity. In fact, I actually had forgotten about some of my earlier annoyances until I read some of the negative reviews.

    However, I also have to agree with other reviewers that if you're looking for another Harry Dresden then go somewhere else. This is not the same at all and you will be disappointed. I happen to have read Harry Dresden only because I read these books first and I was almost disappointed in the Dresden books (which I now love). I really wish Jim Butcher had decided to use a different pen names for the two series similar to Nora Roberts & J.D. Robb or Michelle West & Michelle Sagara (& sometimes Michelle Sagara West). This would have served as a good warning to expect something different....more info
  • Creative new world and a great first book
    I'm a huge D&D fan and got introduced to Butcher through the Dresden Files series (I'm almost caught up on that series). When I saw Furies, I figured I like Butcher's writing but was skeptical of his ability to pull off his style of writing in a completely new fantasy setting. Boy was I wrong. With Furies of Calderon, he sets the stage for a world where different races rule parts of the world (ala Lord of the Rings). The barbarian Marats rule the plains, while the Fury wielding Alerans rule the valley and most of the continent, etc. What's interesting is that each race has subraces and the interplay between the lead characters makes for a fantastic storyline full of heroism, political intrigue, love, and frienships. The rules for the world are relatively straightforward, but in true Butcher style, his weaving of the tale is anything but. I'll admit, some of his characters (e.g., the ruthless Kord or the regal Emperor Gaius are stereotypical) but his use of them is not. Once I got warmed up to his new world and some of the lead characters, by the 20th page or so, this became a real page turner for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it....more info
  • Puzzling at first, but excellent by the end.
    When I first began reading these books, I was excited due to my love of the Dresden Files books. The writing style was similar, which I appreciated, though the story in general was different in practically every way.

    One thing I didn't appreciate at first, though I came not to mind it, was that Butcher doesn't explain the magic system in the books. He doesn't explain what the furies are, how you come by them, how you use them, nor what all they can do. You are left to figure it out by reading the books and seeing for yourself how the furies are used.

    Initially, I was pretty put off by this. Characters kept doing things with their furies and I was left asking "why" and "how".

    However, over the course of the novel, the details about the furies are explained not by any kind of narrative, but by their direct involvement in the story. I didn't mind it after a little bit.

    Having said that, Butcher's books are simply thoroughly entertaining to read. He may not always have the most complex stories, but they damn sure get your attention and keep you coming back for more.

    I read through all 4 books of his Codex Alera series and can't wait for the next one to come out.

    If you like Butcher's style of writing, you should like these books. If you don't like his style, find something else to read like A Song of Fire and Ice. That is thoroughly good as well....more info
  • A great hero book
    this book is great it has evething you need magic,fighting,good world building. the hero is somebody you can get to know in the story and has a good heart. A must read for anybody....more info
  • Excellent writer makes a good book. Fancy that.
    I decided to try The Furies of Calderon, Jim Butcher's second series after Dresden and the one he originally wanted to write, because it's Jim Butcher, one of my favorite authors, and it's epic fantasy -- what could be wrong with that?

    Nothing. It was a great book, though it was very long, and felt at times like a chore. Not because it was boring, but just because so much happened, so much information was put out, and it took so very long for the main plot themes to wrap up that the tension was a little wearing. But everything ends well, amazingly enough; the final battle (which takes up more than a hundred pages) was up to Butcher's usual standard of excellence, which I have come to expect, and crave, from the Dresden books.

    The Furies were okay; it's a nice take on magic, though not exactly an original one (not that a good fantasy series needs to be totally original; I'm not sure a fantasy series can be, considering how many ideas have been put into print in the past), but I particularly liked the Marat. These are the big enemy, the race (non-human, though pretty danged close) that live outside the kingdom of men and which threaten the dominance of the civilized group. They have a great concept for a society that isn't based on technology and knowledge and order, like ours: they follow animal totems, just like the Native Americans they're based on (I assume -- obsidian knives, loincloths, long hair in braids with feathers woven into it, close ties to nature and disdain for modern weapons and those who use them -- what would you think?), but in the case of the Marat, they bond with those animals and become halfway part of their pack or herd or flock. It's an interesting concept, and Butcher gives it a hell of a twist in this book.

    The writing was great, the characters are excellent on both sides, and the plot was wonderfully done. Definitely going to read on in this series. And try very hard to swallow my envy....more info
  • Damn you, Butcher! Quit keeping me up all night!

    I actually have not read plain old fantasy since I was a teenager, but I love urban fantasy, and, of course, the Harry Dresden series. I've run through all the good urban fantasy books, so I figured why not? So glad, I did!

    Butcher has built a complicated and beautifully fit together fantasy world. Even better though, Butcher excels in his likable and complex characters. Our hero Tavi is the shepherd boy with the hidden destiny who manages to be tenacious, clever, decent, and wildly endearing all by the fifth chapter. And there begins a wonderful cast of characters that feel familiar and fascinating almost immediately, even as you jump from subplot to subplot on route to the dramatic conclusion. There was no down time in this book where you wait around for the characters to quit talking or sharpening their weapons. Everything feels urgent, and it's near impossible to put the book down. Which is why I'm saving the sequel till the weekend. No more snoring at work, Butcher!...more info
  • Very enjoyable read.
    I very much enjoy Jim Butcher as an author. I was put on to his Dresden series by a friend and ate them up. All of them. Can't wait for the next one. Then he also put me onto the Codex Alera series. LOVE them, too. Read the first three in about as many days and actually ponied up the dough for 2 day shipping from Amazon for the 4th, Captain's Fury.

    I'm a huge, huge fan of George R.R. Martin's series, A Song of Ice and Fire. The Codex Alera is not as intricate or complex as Martin's series, but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

    I enjoy a series with a character that has something special about him/her that developes over the storyline. I enjoyed that with Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series, Neo in the Matrix, Gambit and Wolverine in X-Men, so on and so forth. I enjoy that with Tavi in the Codex Alera. I have hope that he eventually finds his Furies and becomes an absolute monster of a powerhouse with them and reading about his journey on how to use them. I find that I'm also hoping the same thing happens to Dresden.

    Anyway, I enjoy the series and can't wait to read the next one. ...more info
  • Very disappointed
    I am a big Jim Butcher fan. I picked this up because I needed something to read while waiting for the next installment of Harry Dresden. I was hoping that Butcher's attempt at fantasy would be as well done as his Dresden series. I didn't like this book at all.

    1. Several people comment that the book starts out slow. Boy is that an understatement. That's like saying the Titanic had a minor mishap on her maiden voyage! This started out slow, remained slow throughout and then slowed down at the end. I just could not get into the story at all.

    2. I thought the attempt at world building was very poor. I'm sorry, but WTF is a "fury?" How are we supposed to know what these spirits are and the role they play in this world? Why do some people seem to be able to control elementals while others can not? WTF is a Windbane? Where do they come from? I kept going back to see if I missed a chapter early on that explained this new world. The author simply takes for granted that the reader knows and understands the logic upon which this world is built.

    3. As several others have mentioned there is nothing new or different in this fantasy. You have read about everything in this book. There aren't even any new twists. And why on hearth base this on the Roman Empire? It simply didn't make any sense.

    Life is too short and there are too many excellent books to waste time reading Furies of Calderon. I'll wait until the next edition of the Dresden Files comes out....more info
  • A Unique new series, very compelling story telling.
    I like many recent purchasers bought this book because of knowledge of the Author and 'The Dresden Files'. Quite by accident was my purchase actually. I was in an airport, had lost my copy of Dresden Book 1 while traveling and bough it, and then grabbed the next one thinking I'd have time to read it on my 5 hr flight.

    Upon initially starting to read it, my disgust with buying the wrong book melted no more than four pages in. Jim Butcher creates an entirely new concept of fantasy environments and drags you through it rather quickly, and as the story progresses you learn more of the environment in which this world is created.

    I quickly bought the next two in the series, and have enjoyed them as well. The only frustration I've had is that I thought it was just a trilogy, and burned through them so fast to want to find out what happened only to realize there are at least two, if not more, titles.

    ...more info
  • Limp through it for the next three
    This was the worst of the Alera novels.

    I didn't care about Bernard or his Girlfriend, but the next are worth it.

    So suck it up, even at his worst Butcher is still entertaining....more info
  • Worthy Successor to Wheel of Time's Crown
    Fantasy fans can rejoice: this series is that good.

    Butcher's foray into high-fantasy is a rousing success. The elemental=based magic system is well-thought out, the behind the scenes scheming is filled with twists, there are fantastic fight scenes, creatures galore, and vivid personalities brought to life. The best thing about book one is how rapidly the pages fly by, helped along by crisp dialogue and taut action.

    I recommend this highly, and am eager to continue the series....more info
  • Engage new world from Jim Butcher
    Overall: 5 stars
    This is the first book of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher(JB). He does great world building using Romanesque imagery, fantasy magic-using and some novel new creatures as the backdrop for the story. The main character is clearly destined for greatness despite his "handicap" of being furyless. The plot moves along quite well and has a large scale to the events.

    The events in the book as started by Tavi (15 year old furyless boy) going to get a flock of sheep his is responsible for. The story moves along as he and his Uncle stumble upon an invasion block by savage creatures, Marat. His story becomes entwined with a Cursor (Imperial spy / courier) and the events quickly unfurl themselves. The other reviews have plenty of spoilers if you are interested. It is enough to know that Tavi's potential greatness shows through in actions not his words.

    Characters: 4 stars -- interesting but a bit on the 2d side (expected for a first novel in a new series). The Tavi character is the main character of the series. He is not able to contact furyies (spirits -- air, water, fire, earth, metal, wood, war) or have any companion furyies. He only has his courage and intellect to make it in a hard and dangerous world. It is great to see an inverse of most fantasy novels -- the main character is handicapped while the rest of the people have tremendous power. JB is clearly making a statement about intelligence and resourcefulness vs. raw power and raw talent. [Note: a message many people never learn in the course of their lifetime, unfortunately.]

    Plot: 4 stars -- it moves along well and has many of the classic plots -- love, treachery, power, idealogy fantaticism, coming of age...a bit of everything for everyone

    World: 5 stars -- it is built up well on a rough framework of the Romain empire combined with feudalism, magic and fantasy creatures/societies. The descriptions are detailed, yet leave you wanting to find out more about the world and the people/creatures living in the world.

    Action/pacing: 5 stars -- the pacing is done very well will a gradual buildup to the climax but it is done in a way that does not feel forced. The combat sequence are clear, concise and not overly done as can happen with authors like R.A. Salvatore. The key events get the attention deserved.

    Writing: 4 stars -- Jim Butcher uses a similar writing style as in the Harry Dresden novels. So, if you like that, great; if not, be forewarned. The prose is generally crisp and filled with a good amount of detail for the scene / action. The style is to keep things moving without being encumbered with overly complex sentence structure or inconsistent vocabulary....more info
  • Great Service
    I would definitely use this merchant again. The book came very quickly in the mail and was in excellant condition....like new. Thank you!...more info
  • The land and people of Alera
    A good start on a new series. Wish it was as amusing as the Dresden files series, but I'm willing to be coaxed into the story. Knowing that this is a new series means there's no real resolution to the plot for however long the series goes on. It's hard to keep up with lots of different characters being introduced and no real handle on some of the intrigue that's sure to come.
    The furycrafting isn't really explained in such a way that the reader "gets it" but it does come out more in the subsequent title....more info
  • Blah
    The characters often seem cartoonish and the dialogue is wooden and fake. I had to put it down after one of the characters said, "Oh Goodie," at the thought of having a chance to kill something. I mean, come on!...more info
  • Good Series, but the First is not the Best
    Hadn't read Butcher before (probably have to try the Dresden files) but picked up this series first.

    Overall the concept is good, but definitely a bit derivative and lacking polish in this first book. Probably more at the level of a lesser Feist book than really great fantasy. Probably worthy of a 3 and 1/2 star rating, but since the next two were better and are closer to 4's, I'm gonna have to round this one down.
    ...more info
  • I can't believe I waited so long to read this book!
    I have been a fan of Jim Butcher's series the Dresden files for years and have been curious about his Codex Alera series for awhile now. But I always held off reading it. Not because the series premise was so different than than the Dresden books (Traditional as opposed to Urban Fantasy) instead I held off because I didn't want to be disappointed. As has happened a few times in the past with beloved authors. So for a long time I have held off reading this series. That is until I read the reviews and comments written by a few people on LibraryThing.

    Once I started to read this book I became mad at myself for waiting so long to do so. For even though its entirely different that the Dresden novels - tone, location, etc - the story was engaging and the characters endearing. While Harry Dresden and friends ooze sarcasm as if it were their life blood the people of Alera are more subtle in their display of wit and its this subtly that works really well for them. This is especially true for Tavi, a boy who lives a simple life and stands apart from everyone else around him because he isn't attached to one of the elementals who inhabit the world and bond with the people. By necessity Tavi has had to use his wit and intelligence in order to survive. These skills become essential when the quiet valley that he lives in is invaded by a savage race known as the Marat and it is up to him to help protect it along with his Uncle Bernard, Aunt Isana and Amara - a Cursor, an elite spy for the Crown.

    This book is filled with action and mystery from page one that makes you hurry to turn each page wanting to know what happens next. This book isn't perfect. I felt that there were some inconsistencies with a few characters from the way they were in the beginning to the end. As well as one instance where the time line of events don't seem to mesh. But those little inconsistencies aside this was a good story. A good start to what I am sure is a good series. One that I look forward to reading....more info