A two week long sojourn in Glacier National Park has left me woefully behind on my blogs. When you hike for most of the day but are back at camp by three in the afternoon, it leaves a lot of time for reading. So, without further adieu, I will begin firing off four reviews in quick order.
First, let’s talk about Jim Butcher and his Codex Alera series. If you have been paying attention, you may already realize that I have read a lot of Jim Butcher’s books. Actually, I think I have read five of his books just this year alone. When I find a good author, I tend to devour all of their work. Just ask Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Stephan Pressfield, or Stephan Lawhead. Well, don’t do that actually. They probably don’t know that I have read their books.
Furies of Caleron is a fairly standard fantasy series. The way I see it, there are two types. One features really powerful heroes matched up against extremely difficult situations (See Savlatore, R.A.). The other type of fantasy story whisks a seemingly normal yet sort of weak person into events way beyond their control, yet somehow they end up saving the world. Both types can be great entertainment, and every once in a while it becomes great literature. At least if you are Tolkien it does.
Furies of Calderon picks the latter situation. A young boy, picked on for his deficiencies, saves the realm. It is a pretty standard plotline throughout. What makes this book great is the setting, the magic, and the characters.
It is set in a Roman-era world. There are legions, horses, stone buildings, no guns and no technology. I love reading historical fiction in this setting, so I was pretty interested to see what would happen with a fantasy book set in this timeframe. I don’t believe I have read any fantasy with Roman leanings.
The magic is one of a kind as well. And when you are reading fantasy, isn’t that what you are looking for? You want to be awed and inspired by the fantastical things that can happen. In Furies for Calderon, every person in the country has tamed an elemental power, called a Fury. These furies come in water, earth, wind, fire, and a handful of other flavors. They can do the person’s bidding for healing, water, for flying, wind, or for damage, fire. It sounds a bit odd at first, but Butcher really pulls it off.
The lead character is a boy named Tavi. He is the only one that doesn’t have a fury, and yet he is smack in the center of the action, having to use his wits and resourcefulness to get everyone out of a tight jam. There are a handful of other great characters in the book, some interesting twists, and the beginning of a great fantasy realm.
Rating 3.5 out of 5 – really entertaining, just not sure I would reread it any time soon. (see ratings)