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Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1) by…

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1) (edition 2005)

by Jim Butcher

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,5721061,480 (3.99)181
Title:Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1)
Authors:Jim Butcher
Info:Ace (2005), Edition: First Thus, Paperback, 512 pages

Work details

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

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» See also 181 mentions

English (104)  German (1)  French (1)  All (106)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
I read this on vacation because I really like the jim butcher dresden file series (very schlock but fun). These were not as good but okay vacation reads. ( )
  aliciadana | Jun 16, 2017 |
Very exciting. At each part I couldn't wait to see what happened next. ( )
  nx74defiant | Apr 30, 2017 |
"Furies of Calderon" (Codex Alera 1) by Jim Butcher

After reading most of the "Harry Dresden" series one has some pretty high expectations for a new series by Butcher…but this book doesn't ring the same bells that the Dresden series rang. Butcher isn't quite able to pull off large battle scenes here the way he does the gladiatorial fights of Dresden. It's not that it's boring, but that it's slower(?) maybe missing some details(?) maybe too chaotic(?). It's not that individual fight scenes aren't handled well, but that they're few and not as spectacular. With that said, what I see happening is that Butcher is writing a different sort of stories in this series…there's no "magic", just idiosyncratic control of specific natural forces: wind, wood, air, rock, that kind of thing. This puts a limitation on the action—it creates a restricted framework within which the story must unfold, necessarily on a more drawn-out timescale.

Yes, I admit that it took me a while to get into the story but I plowed on just to see what Butcher did with the structure he's worked so hard to develop. And I'm happy I did. Yes, the action did increase as the pages turned and it's good to see that Butcher was able to tell an exciting story within the world definition he invented, and I do think it's worth at least a "4 out of 5". But it's still not the most exciting stuff he's written. The main reason I rate it so highly is that, as I read the second book in the series, I can see that this book is necessary for setting the scene for the future action.

So read this book with a part of your mind focused on the future. One of the nice things about Butcher is that he tends to reuse characters in the various books of his series…rather than dropping the old and introducing new ones with every book (which is partly why I stopped reading "Harry Potter"). I find myself settling into a comfort-zone when I encounter a familiar character whose personality, strengths and weaknesses are known…and then watch them grow over time.

This same goes for Butcher; I can tell you that the second book, "Academ's Fury" (Codex Alera 2), has more mature battle-scenes. Obviously it took a while for Butcher to learn how to describe a war, rather than a fight. Meanwhile, he does use his martial arts experience to describe some really detailed one-on-one (and one-on-two and -three) fight scenes quite satisfactorily.

In general, I'm impressed with the self-consistency of the story. The physical reality of Calderon is explained and developed without Deus ex Machina surprises. The lives and relationships of the characters and societies are consistent enough to hold and maintain the plot together without causing me to groan. Sure, the heroes survive some pretty horrific scenes…but their survival makes sense. No one suddenly develops super-powers, or discovers a secret weapon, etc. Even the ability to control pretty strong elemental forces comes with self-limiting drawbacks. The use of these powers drains the user's own physical energy pretty quickly and leaves him/her weak and susceptible. And then we also have to come to terms with the fact that EVERYONE has some fury-crafting ability (except the hero). It's kind of like the wild West again—everyone had a gun, but not many people did anything but shoot rattlesnakes with them. And you usually were required to leave your weapons "outside".

Something else missing from this series is the smart-aleck, spit-in-your-eye antics of Harry Dresden---the characters are all pretty sober people, not given to challenging authorities out of sheer childishness and immaturity. Now that I think about it, with Harry Dresden I kept being thrust "outside the story"; Dresden's smart-ass comments tended to wake me up from the written page to think "how stupid can you get" when you challenge someone/something so much more powerful than yourself. There's none of that in this book. The hero knows his severe limitations and toes-the-line with appropriate behavior. However, with that said, there is one line, at the very end of one of the last chapters, where Butcher couldn't resist inserting an insanely funny anachronism that I challenge anyone reading it to not burst out in laughter. Of course I won't tell you what it is, but don't email me if you don't see it because there's nothing I could do for you anyway. ( )
  majackson | Mar 9, 2017 |
Read February 2010
Re-Read May 2012

[February 2010 Review]
A world where humans have carved for themselves an empire in a hostile world. Led by the First Lord, humans have the powers of 'furies' to enhance them.

This follows one young man from his beginnings as a humble shepherd in the outer stretches of the empire as he saves the region, makes an alliance with a hostile race and is given patronage by the First Lord to attend the Academy.

Very well done. Good characterization, intriguing novel plot and an overarching plot.

[May 2012 Review]
Still a 5 Star book. I wondered, right before I began, if I was doing the right thing in re-reading it; maybe it wouldn't be so good upon reflection, maybe the unknown made it better [see my review of Hunters of Dune], maybe, maybe, maybe.

Thankfully, Butcher is a consumate writer and this shines through.
Humor entwined with the horror of humanity [rape, even non-graphic, just makes me want to throw-up. To me it symbolizes everything that is wrong with humanity], action based around and on characters who persevere.

My appreciation for wordsmithing goes up this time. I didn't have the "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, this is so awesome!" feeling that I did in my first reading, BUT I really enjoyed how Butcher gives us just enough about the world to clue us in without either overwhelming us with info dumps or leave us completely feeling lost in a maze of a world (That's a smackdown to YOU, [a:Steven Erikson|31232|Steven Erikson|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1219169436p2/31232.jpg])

And I like fantasy better than urban fantasy, so this suits my tastes MUCH better than Harry Dresden..." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
The short version: I like the book.

The slightly longer version: There are some obvious similarities to GRR Martin...the Shieldwall the most obvious. Lots of action. A little bit of coming of age. Someone mentioned this is GOT meets Last Airbender. I think that's fairly accurate. ( )
  lesmel | Aug 12, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Butcherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Frangie, RitaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my son, hero in training.
And in memory of my father, a hero in truth.
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The course of history is determined not by battles, by sieges, or usurpations, but by the actions of the individual.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 044101268X, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies--elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal--15-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. As his homeland erupts in chaos--when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies--Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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