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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why on earth has no one read these books?!?
This book is very engaging and definitely worth reading. Some people might initially dismiss some of the core plot ideas as old and overdone (a young orphan boy, raised by his aunt and uncle, exceptional only because unlike everyone else he has no 'magical' abilities is living in a small isolated village, on the outer edges of the realm)however, Jim Butcher manages to...
Published on 26 Oct. 2007 by C. Price

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but why all the hype?
This is quite a difficult book to review as I can't decide how much I enjoyed it. It is an easy going traditional fantasy book with lots of magic and some cliched characters.
The book has many of excellent twists and turns in the plot which keeps you involved whilst you're reading and most chapters end with a 'cliffhanger' to keep you reading that little bit...
Published on 3 July 2009 by Kevin Stevens


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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why on earth has no one read these books?!?, 26 Oct. 2007
By 
C. Price (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera) (Paperback)
This book is very engaging and definitely worth reading. Some people might initially dismiss some of the core plot ideas as old and overdone (a young orphan boy, raised by his aunt and uncle, exceptional only because unlike everyone else he has no 'magical' abilities is living in a small isolated village, on the outer edges of the realm)however, Jim Butcher manages to completely suck you into the world he has created (more original than many other fantasy worlds) using a form of magic that is original and very satisfying to read about.

This book works best if you consider it the first instalment of a larger story, Jim Butcher has very carefully started some (initially seemingly unimportant) plot lines that develop beautifully as the series continues.

As with the reviewer before, I stumbled upon this book (and series) because of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, which I also enjoyed a lot.
And although the Dresden Files series are unquestionably the better known series (no wonder as it was started earlier and has been adapted into a T.V show), I have to say that it's this series that really makes him stand out as an author for me.

I'm completely and utterly addicted to this series, I read the first and second books in one sitting, stopping only for lunch and supper, and then read the third book the day after.

Please read these books - they seem painfully unappreciated, especially considering how good they are!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliches done well, 23 Nov. 2010
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Furies of Calderon is the first book in the Codex Alera sequence by Jim Butcher, best known for his urban fantasy series The Dresden Files. Here we meet Tavi, a young Aleran boy who has been orphaned and raised by his aunt and uncle. Unlike everyone else who lives in Alera, Tavi is unable to furycraft - that is, use the elemental furies to assist him in work and battle. Tavi stumbles across a plot to bring the Marat tribespeople - cannibals and mortal enemies of the Alerans - sweeping through the Calderon Valley, destroying the steadholders and moving against the First Lord of Alera. When he meets Amara - a spy and Cursor for the First Lord - he is drawn into an epic adventure, racing against time to bring help to the steadholders.

Ever since reading David Eddings, I have wondered why no other author has managed to capture the same warmth and wholesome adventure in a novel. But now I have stumbled on the Codex Alera. Perfect reading for winter's days and good family reading, besides, Jim Butcher has written high fantasy with heart and heroes.

I actually wrote a blog post concerning the use of the word cliche - since Furies of Calderon seems to be one big cliche. Orphaned boy - check. Magical system - check. Tribespeople linked to animals - check. All of these ideas have been done before. Many other authors have taken this tropes and tried to turn them upside-down in some attempt to try and avoid the word cliche. The strength of this novel is that Jim Butcher has embraced the tropes and cliches and concentrated instead on themes and characters.

The over-riding theme, which Butcher explores extremely well, is that of one person and one event making a difference. This whole novel starts because of one minor event - Tavi is asked by a young girl in the steadholding to steal her some flowers. Because of this he is unable to bring his sheep in. Because of this he and his uncle end up going out and stumbling across a Marat raiding force. Because of this Tavi encounters Amara, and is drawn into an attempt to bring word to Garrison, in order to protect the steadholders of Calderon Valley.

The theme is done extremely well - the interlocking events can all be seen to stem from that one small decision. It does lead to some occasional heavy-handed plot development, as Butcher seeks to bend all events to fit his theme, but overall he handles it effectively.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the characterisation. These are fully-fleshed and developed characters, with real motivations. They are dutiful, sulky, arrogant, sneaky, powerful, and many other attributes. We do not have the grit and shades of grey brought to characters by someone such as Steven Erikson, but there is a depth to these characters that I enjoyed. Amara and Tavi carry the story incredibly well - both of their subplots were of equal interest, and I never felt tired of reading about them.

There was a danger concerning this magic system that the characters would seem all-powerful and that their ability to manipulate furies would take away from their characterisation. They could have become empty magical constructs. So I was impressed that the fury magic system remained an entertaining side note to the plot rather than all-encompassing.

This book will not be for everyone. Some people will be unable to see beyond the cliche, or over-use of fantasy tropes. For me, though, it was a breath of fresh air in the current environment where we have swearing, and blood, and sex and realism. This is high fantasy at its very best, suitable for children and incredibly wholesome. I would equate it to apple crumble and custard *grin* Thoroughly recommended for those who hark back to David Eddings with fond memories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the whole series., 20 Nov. 2011
By 
StarPlayer (B'ham England) - See all my reviews
Ahhhhh Tavi.......

I wasn't going to bother to write a review, especially since I read the whole series back in 2009! Still I've decided to give my penny's worth. I loved this series. I can't get into the Dresden Files but I still think about Codex Alera even to this day. An absolute GREAT series. Every time I read a rubbish fantasy book I think of these ones and hope someone will write books to rival these.

This is another series that cannot be dipped into at random points. You do need to start with this one, the first in a 6 book series.

1. Furies of Calderon
2. Academ's Fury
3. Cursor's Fury
4. Captain's Fury
5. Princep's Fury
6. First Lord's Fury

Well worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic storytelling, 5 Nov. 2011
By 
K. Sawyer (Dorset UK) - See all my reviews
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Came to Codex Alera via the author's equally brilliant but otherwise totally different Dresden Files. Have long been a Lord of the Rings fan and frankly had found pretty much any other fantasy epic a bit ropey if not embarrassing by comparison. But, oh my, what a tale this turned out to be. A masterpiece of the imagination but always humane, dramatic, comic, romantic, violent, sexy and utterly riveting. What made this series stand out? Like the anglo-saxon inspiration in LotR, Butcher's use of Roman cultural and military references lent the wilder flights of fancy some gravitas without descending into the poorly researched pastiches that are all too common. I'm not much interested in the miltary side of things but it was never overdone and the battle and fight scenes were exhilarating if somewhat gory (like Homer..). The characters have more depth than those in LotR and make the story so much more than 'critters and fighting'. OK, not too many surprises but some very nice twists. The humanity that Butcher writes into his (not always human)characters and themes raises his novels from simple action adventures in the same way as Pratchett's Discworld. It's not Shakespeare, but, like Pratchett, I think you could definitely accuse Butcher of literature.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Fantasy, 2 May 2005
I bought this book having enjoyed Butcher's Harry Dresden Series on a whim and really enjoyed it. Unlike the Harry Dresden series which are based in the modern day world this more traditional fantasy. The Aleran people are supported by elemental 'furies' - earth, air, fire, water etc. that aid them to perform magic. The main protaganist, fifteen year old Tavi has no fury, highly unusual for one his age. However his intelligence and ingenuity compensate for his lack of magic. He is drawn into an adventure involving high treason and war with their savage neightbours - the Marat. A highly enjoyable tale that is captivating and engaging from the start. Other characters are well drawn and it is a complex and well written novel. This is the first in a series and although this is a complete story it leaves the reader hungry for the next installment - roll on July!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but why all the hype?, 3 July 2009
By 
Kevin Stevens (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
This is quite a difficult book to review as I can't decide how much I enjoyed it. It is an easy going traditional fantasy book with lots of magic and some cliched characters.
The book has many of excellent twists and turns in the plot which keeps you involved whilst you're reading and most chapters end with a 'cliffhanger' to keep you reading that little bit further.
My problem with the book is that everything feels too contrived, characters get pulled and pushed in different directions and make strange decisions to further the plot. Maybe it's just the fact that I was reading Joe Abercrombie before this novel but I never really connected with any of the characters or worried that they may meet a horrible death (which may have made it a little more interesting).
Overall a reasonable fantasy novel but more in the vein of Forgotten Realms than GRR Martin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crows!, 31 Jan. 2015
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
What do you get if you cross "Avatar: The Last Airbender" with "Spartacus," and set it in a strange world with giant wolf-people, Amerindian elves and elemental furies? As written by the author of the Dresden Files?

A thousand kinds of awesome, that's what.

And "Furies of Calderon" is at least nine hundred kinds of that awesome, serving as a solid kick-off to Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. The book shows that snarky urban fantasy isn't all Butcher is good at, allowing the introduction of a truly epic fantasy world with complicated politics, bloody battles, some terrifying insectile monsters, and a scrappy young hero who seems to be the exact opposite of the whole Chosen One/Luke Skywalker archetype.

First, backstory. The series is set in another world where the Lost Legion somehow ended up, and they formed their own pseudo-Roman society which is currently at a sort-of-medieval level of development. They also have control of elemental furies, which allow them to manipulate fire, water, earth, wood, air and metal. Every single person in Alera has at least one or two furies at their beck and call... except teenage Tavi, who is inexplicably furyless.

While tracking a lost sheep, Tavi and his uncle Bernard encounter a Marat warrior -- which is a big deal, since the Marat are the Alerans' bitter enemies, and were driven out of this land years ago. This shocking news is backed by the arrival of a young Cursori spy named Amara, who has discovered a plot against the First Lord of Alera, and only narrowly escaped being killed by her own mentor. When Bernardholt is invaded by the conspirators and their vicious neighbor Kord, the family ends up scattered across the land.

Specifically, Isana has been captured by the vicious, misogynistic Kord; Bernard and Amara are desperately trying to warn the nearest Aleran Legion of the impending invasion of Marat; and Tavi and the mentally-challenged slave Fade have been captured by the Marat. Tavi soon discovers that he can use the Marat's strict laws and traditions for his own ends, and may be able to stop the invasion -- or at least give the Alerans a chance of victory -- if he is able to win a life-threatening challenge in a forest full of insectile monsters.

It's easy to become burned out on epic fantasy. Most of them just copy-and-paste the same old formula from Tolkien -- a medieval world with an Anglo slant, with some magic, castles, gods, swords and nobles. Oh, and a healthy dose of forest-dwelling elves/mountain-dwelling dwarves/wizards. And even if most epic fantasy authors don't directly copy Tolkien's world-building approach, then they just copy Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin or (shudder) Terry Goodkind.

So it's a credit to Butcher's world-building that Alera actually feels pretty fresh -- it's a Roman-inspired society, and the "elves" aren't ethereal arboreal supermodels, but powerful catlike people with tribes, totems and a special bond to different kinds of animals. Even the idea of furies is handled in a fascinating way, with an array of special powers (healing, flight, hiding, disguise) for every element.

Butcher also brings a more epic quality to the story by writing it in the third person -- he flits between different characters and subplots, spread all across this region of Alera. And his prose in "Furies of Calderon" tends to be more smoothly descriptive ("A brilliant moon, looming large among a sea of stars, painted the landscape below in silver and black") and less internally snarky than anything you'll find in the Dresden Files. Don't worry, the story still has plenty of hilarious moments ("Uncle Bernard! Uncle Bernard! He followed me home. Can we keep him?").

Of course, it's gloriously bloody and action-packed -- storms filled with angry furies, a vicious climactic battle, and Tavi and Kitai's adventures in the Wax Forest and the ghastly Keepers. And Butcher creates some political intrigue that promises to have far-reaching effects, even if the antagonists lose the immediate battle.

Tavi is also a pretty good hero -- rather than being a country boy who clearly has a great destiny ahead of him, he's someone that NO ONE expects anything from, because he's effectively disabled. But he compensates for his lack of furycraft by being smart, brave and clever enough to impress even a Marat chieftain. The supporting cast is similarly strong -- the intelligent, strong-willed Isana, the tragic Bernard, cruel and abused Odiana, and the brash young Marat Kitai (who has a bit of a love-hate thing going on with Tavi). And Butcher drops hints that some of them -- especially Isana and Fade -- have some very significant secrets.

For people weary of Tolkien knockoffs, "Furies of Calderon" is a clever, fast-moving spin on the whole medieval fantasy setting -- we have Romans, elemental powers and a gloriously twisted conspiracy. What more can you ask for?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing at all like Harry, 24 April 2008
This review is from: Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera) (Paperback)
This book is completely different form Harry Dresden files. But this doesnt mean to say it isn't any good. Its Great! Admittedly if you've got your "harry" head on, you start looking for clues that remind you of his series but you need to switch it off. However give this series a go, not to everyones taste, but you can't please everyone. I really enjoyed it, refreshing to see how Tavi (main character) evolves and by book 4 you see the man he becomes. Jim Butcher is one of those authors who writes so well that you want to rush through the book to find out what happens but force yourself to slow down because you don't want to miss anything.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of modern Fantasy Fiction., 4 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera) (Paperback)
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.

P.S, The forth book in this series is out now on hardback.

I hope this review was of some help to you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great, fast-paced and fun start to the series, 8 Jun. 2014
This was more of a 4.5* book being a thrill ride the entire way through. I loved the fast-paced tempo of this story line and the way that it touts along as its such an easy read even though it's so long.

This story is set in a fantasy world where the people all have furies, spirit-like creatures who relate to an element and who can be controlled by their human counterparts to varying degrees of power. Some people have very limited use of their furies whilst others have a strong control over them and are very capable with them. So extraordinarily normal are these furies that they are used daily in the day to day routine of life making people more efficient at a variety of different skills.

Tavi is a young farm boy who lives with his aunt and uncle, both of whom are very powerful furycrafters and who are in charge of the steadhold where he lives. Tavi is unusual as he doesn't have a fury, he never received any and this is so strange that everyone sees him as a little bit useless. He is a bit naïve and young but he is kind and gentle with the animals, his family and his friends. He is a character whom I found it easy to like and appreciate from early in the story.

The other main character is Amara who is a Cursor for the Crown. She is a very powerful aircrafter and she has a very strong sense of duty, care and passion for what she sees as right. She had high strung morals and at times I found it harder to like her, but she did grow on me as time went on.

Bernard and Isana, Tavi's uncle and aunt are also big roles and they each love and care for Tavi far more than Tavi can always see. They are leaders and they are strong but this brings them burdens throughout the story and gets them both into some tricky situations.

Fidelias is the final major character along with his sidekicks Odiana and Aldrick. They are the rather more sinister characters with darker pasts, deeper mysteries and colder hearts. They scheme and plot with one another against everything the other characters believe and stand for and the are the driving forces behind the evil is much of the story.

There is also Kord. A very dark and evil to the core character who tends to be more of an annoyance to begin with but then turns even nastier and plots the unthinkable...

The whole host of characters was very fun and vibrant because you follow different characters at different points and the parallel storylines all come together in the end to form a strong ending ti the tale.

The Marat were a race whom I found to be truly interesting as their culture is so vastly different to that of the men and they had their own version of everything and ways of handling everything. I think that they were brilliantly crafted and I hope that they reappear in the next books.

The furies were very, very interesting as they seemed to have their own personalities too which I hope we shall see more of in the following stories. I also want to find out more about what the furies are and why the function as they do and if the furies affect their owners in more than the 'magical helper' way but also in the personality etc. This lack of complete explanation keeps me wanting to know more and is the only reason I have not to give it 5*s but I did want to know more from such a long book. Very good descriptions of their abilities though!

This series has got off to a very promising start with this instalment and I look forward to when I can purchase book 2 and start that as I am sure it only gets better. On the whole a story which is highly worth the time to read it and is very enjoyable throughout. Highly recommended!
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Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera)
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera) by Jim Butcher (Paperback - 28 Jun. 2005)
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