Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliches done well, 23 Nov 2010
This review is from: Furies Of Calderon: The Codex Alera: Book One (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.4 out of 5 stars (48 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (31)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
8.99 6.29
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Portsmouth, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,786