Series Sunday: ‘Furies of Calderon’

Many books in my book queue are waiting to be read, and a common theme among them is they’re all part of a series, trilogy or saga. Each Sunday, I’ll share a book from a series. You can read along with me, or add the books to your own reading list. This week, I read “Furies of Calderon,” the first in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.  
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Once more, I’ll be diving into an epic adventure/fantasy series with plenty of intrigue, sword fighting, magic and story arcs. The last true fantasy series I reviewed was the Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.  
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The action in “Furies of Calderon” surrounds Tavi, a 15-year-old shepherd, who lives in the Calderon Valley, a hub for magic. Everyone in Butcher’s world bonds with a fury, a sort of elemental spirit. Furies can be wielded by their masters to read thoughts, heal, harm and do other cool stuff.  Tavi is a late-bloomer in the fury department, not yet bonding with a fury, so he’s seen as a freak.  
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Tavi lives a quiet and uneventful life with his Aunt Isana and Uncle Bernard in their homestead. Suddenly, Amara, a Cursor from the king’s guard, arrives at the house. She was chased there by Fidelias, Odiana and Aldrick, three treacherous villains who want to cause the downfall of the kingdom. The three villains are meeting in the Calderon Valley with the Marat warriors, savage nomads who eat their prisoners alive.  
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Fidelias, who leads the group, thinks that if they can get the Marat to attack the holds in the Calderon Valley, it will show the people that it’s okay to overthrow the first lord. Amara wants to work to protect the first lord, so she puts her trust in Isana and Bernard and sends Tavi to tell Gram, the leader in the Calderon Valley to ready an army to take on the Marat. 
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“Furies of Calderon” is like diet “Game of Thrones.” Atrocities are committed in war, but they aren’t described in graphic detail. There isn’t as much complicated political intrigue. Main characters don’t just kick the bucket out of the blue. 
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There’s a romance between Bernard and Amara, but it feels a little forced. Tavi and Kitai, a Marat warrior’s daughter, also have a moment or two, but they need to get to know each other better before I can believe it. One of the chief complaints from other reviews I’ve read on this book is that too much time is spent on descriptions of fighting and not enough time is spent on character development. I completely agree. Bernard, Isana, Tavi, Kitai, Amara and others are still blank slates to me after 600 pages. Surely some more time could have been taken to develop their personalities.
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Rumor has it that Jim Butcher wrote “Furies of Calderon” on a challenge from a fan. The challenge was to write a book on two ideas that didn’t work together: Roman legions and Pokemon. I thought the furies reminded me of the daemons from Phillip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass” more than Pokemon, but okay, whatever works. 
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At the end, Tavi is invited to study at the academy to be some sort of agent to the first lord. I’ll be reviewing the second book in the series, “Academ’s Fury,” next week.

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3 Responses to Series Sunday: ‘Furies of Calderon’

  1. Pingback: Book Buzz | Series Sunday: “Academ’s Fury”

  2. Pingback: Book Buzz | Series Sunday: ‘Cursor’s Fury’

  3. Pingback: Book Buzz | Series Sunday: ‘Captain’s Fury’

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