Friday, November 19, 2010

Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher

"Furies of Calderon" is the first novel in a series of six books titled "The Codex Alera", written by Jim Butcher.  Butcher is most well known for his series, "The Dresden Files", which are about a wizard who works in modern day Chicago as a private investigator.  Already an established writer, Butcher started "The Codex Alera" series based on a bet he made with another writer at a writer's convention.  The bet was that Butcher could not write a good story based on a terrible concept.  Butcher countered that he would allow the other writer to pick TWO bad concepts, and then write a great work based on them.  The other writer chose the concepts of the lost 9th Roman Legion, and Pokemon!  Butcher then went on to write "The Codex Alera" which has become his second highly acclaimed series, and further cemented him as one of today's leading fantasy authors.

The series takes place in the world of Carna, or more specifically in the realm of Alera, which is an empire very similar to Rome.  In this empire, the citizens are able to bond with elemental spirits, known as "furies", and are able to use those spirits to perform beyond their human abilities.  Spirits of fire, water, wind, earth, wood, and metal can all be bonded with, and each grants unique characteristics.  In this world we find the story of a young man named Tavi, who is unable to bond with any element.  He is considered a freak to his people, and a social outcast.  Tavi becomes aware of a sinister plot to overthrow the government, and possible destroy everything he knows and loves.  Having no power and no social standing, he must defy the odds and try to save the kingdom before it is utterly destroyed.  

While I doubt that "The Codex Alera" will ever stand up to the true masterpieces of fantasy literature, I still recommend it.  It is well written, and Butcher does a great job of drawing the reader into the lives of his characters.  Each character's story is interesting, and wants to be fully explored.  While Butcher's "Dresden Files" series is much more adult in content, "The Codex Alera" does a great job of appealing to all audiences.  There are a few swear words and romantic scenes, but Butcher does a good job of keeping them PG rated and avoiding the details like many other authors seem unable to do. The story is complex enough for adults, but it is written in a way that even younger readers could enjoy.  If you are looking for a well written fantasy series that delivers an interesting story, intense action, and a little bit of romance, then this is a great series to put on your reading list.

1 comment:

  1. Nearly a third of the way in and really enjoying it. Thanks for the background info. Didn't realize it was written on a bet!