The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Why I Read It: Loved Jim Butcher’s other series, The Dresden Files.

Where I Got It: The Library

Who I Recommend This To: People into epic fantasy with strong world-building and character development.

Narrator: Kate Reading

Publisher: Penguin Audio (2008)

Length: 16 CDs

Series: Book 1 of The Codex Alera

This was such a fun book. As a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, this was quite a different pace but every bit as good. Tavi is a teenager, a shepherd, and lacking in judgement when it comes to women. He also has no furies of his own, a bit of an oddity in a world where everyone has at least one fury they can call their own. Furies are the spirits of various natural elements of the world of Alera – water furies, fire furies, earth furies, etc. Calderon has some of the strongest furies, and hence some of the strongest furycrafters, in all of Alera.

The Alerans are not alone in this world, but their last confrontation with the Marat was nearly 15 years ago. So when Tavi and his Uncle Bernard go out to find some lost sheep, the last thing they expect is to fend off is a Marat warrior and his deadly birdbeasts. This external foe coupled with internal power struggles puts Alera in a precarious position. Amara in a Cursor, which is not just someone who delivers the Empire’s mail, but can also serve as information gatherer. She is also wicked good with her wind fury, decent with a blade, and has some of the best lines in the book. Unfortunately, she is up against a foe who knows all her strengths and weaknesses.

Butcher wove together a masterful tale that grabs a hold of you right away and never lets go. The characters are introduced simply and gain in depth as the story unfolds; I even fell in love with some of the bad guys, hoping they wouldn’t die before I had learned all their secrets. The magical rules governing furycrafting are well laid out and the author doesn’t stray from them for ease of moving the plot along. The Marat make an intriguing external force upon the Empire, with their own code of honor and culture.

Kate Reading surpassed my expectations. I had listened to other narrations by her and had found her speech pattern halting and a little unsettling. I am very happy to say that she performed this book beautifully, with a notable range for male and female characters. I especially loved her rendition of Odiana. This performance not only puts her back on my Listen To List, but also in the top 20.

What I Liked: The story begins and ends with sheep; the Marat are so alien to the Alerans; the side romance of Amara; Amara’s word duel with a cocky knight; the bad guys are complex; the good guys are complex; everyone has secrets and a past.

What I Disliked:  I took far too long to pick up this book.

5 thoughts on “The Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher”

  1. I love Kate Reading and she did a fantabulous job with these books. Do you have the next one cued and ready to go?

      1. I haven’t read your other article but if you want suitesggons for good sci-fi/fantasy books i think i might be able to help you out. I highly recommend that you read the Dark Tower series, written by steven king. It is basically a mix between LOTR, fallout-stories and spaghetti-westerns.If you like sci-fi books that don’t focus mainly on science but on philosophical / social problems i recommend the authors Philip k. Dick (Blade Runner, he often questions what we call our reality in his books) and Stanislaw Lem ( Solaris, Eden, The inconceivable, topics of his books are the unpromising attempts to communicate with species from outer-space and criticizes our anthropocentric believes about our role in the universe).These are just some suitesggons, i hope i could help you out. And sry that my english isn’t perfect ^^. Tachot123

    1. I have read the Codex Alera series, it is quite possbily one of the best I have come across and only gets better as the series progresses.I’m a fan of the fantasy genre, so all my suggestions will come from there.1) Robert Jordan The Wheel of Time.2) Terry Goodkind The Sword of Truth.3) Brandon Sanderson MistbornHe also has a few other stand alone novels which are all equally entertaining reads.4) David Eddings The Belgariad and The Mallorean5) George R.R Martin A Song of Ice and FireTV show A Game of Thrones is based off the first novel in this series. Only problem with it is that there are at least two more books due to be released, and Martin has only come out with two in the past ten or so years. Regardless they are still good books, just might want to wait till he finishes the series before reading them or you’ll waste years waiting for a conclusion.6) If you haven’t already picked up the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, Day Two is just as good as the first. Timper

  2. Waldodude I know it can seem like religion is the oiyvlaerng plot of these books but it isn’t. Dresden’s inter turmoil is not symbolized by any one thing, least of all religion. Dresden himself is a character that Butcher has done an excellent job of creating, of giving an identity to. Religion does play a part in Dresden’s life but it isn’t so in your face since most of the Dresden Files is about making choices, about making mistakes, and about, and I know how corny this sounds but it is true, staying true to the person you are. For example Michael Carpenter is an ordinary person given a sword of divine power. His power comes from someone higher up who got that power from people like Michael, people who believed in the power that he had. That is how supernatural beings work, they get power from faith, belief. Yet these beings are bound by the laws of the universe so that they can’t just go on an explosive tear and kill everyone. So there is no central power in the verse unless someone breaks the rules then other powers are allowed to interfere. In a sense religion has very little to do with the series. It is just a bunch of powerful beings going at it using emissaries while mortals get caught up in it with Dresden being smack dab in the center. On a side note have you gotten to book 7 and Sue yet? Moonshine8233

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