Furies of Calderon

Sometime back in 2006 I discovered the author Jim Butcher and his series The Dresden Files.  I admit I probably would not have given the author or series much of a glance were it not for the setting and premise of an urban fantasy following the adventures of the only wizard listed in Chicago's phone book (I'm a sucker for a local story!).  I took an immediate liking to Butcher's clever plot lines and witty characters and have been pacing myself through the series for the past few years (I read and reviewed the ninth book in the sequence last fall).  For a while now, I've been aware that Jim Butcher has another series out with a decidedly different flavour than The Dresden Files and though the first book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year, I've resisted reading it.  Part of me doubted as to whether or not it could live up to the expectations I had.  Earlier this year though, I took the plunge.

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher introduces the reader to fifteen-year-old Tavi, who is somewhat of an anomaly in his village due to his lack of furycrafting - the ability to bond with and control an elemental of earth, air, fire, water, wood or metal. Tavi's village soon comes under attack by a barbarian tribe and the boy more than makes up for his strange lack of furies with an excess of resourcefulness and clever wit. Where he could have emerged as a stereotypical pig-boy of a protagonist, he is instead likable and charming - a character for whom the reader can not resist cheering.

True to Jim Butcher's style, the barbarian attack is not even close to the only point of action driving the story. Politics amidst the leaders in the villages (including Tavi's uncle and aunt) have tensions running high and Amara, a woman on assignment from the First Lord of the land becomes embroiled in the drama while trying to sort out treachery and betrayal among her own compatriots. Multiple storylines are woven together brilliantly and Butcher's meticulous details are never extraneous - actions, motives, thoughts, and emotions for the entire cast of characters complement each other seamlessly.

Furies of Calderon is the first in Butcher's Codex Alera series. I loved the worldbuilding in this book as well as the complex character development.  If the subsequent Alera books are as good as the first, I dare say that this is a series with the potential to outshine Butcher's more well-known (and also highly enjoyable) Dresden Files.

I really wish I hadn't waited so long to dive into this series because I was definitely impressed with Furies and it exceeded my expectations.  I may have even waited longer to read this one but my super awesome spouse got me the next two books in the series for Christmas (he frequently feeds my book addiction).  I try to pace myself through series that I really enjoy so I'm giving myself a few weeks before diving into book two but I really hope the next ones are as good as the first!

Do you ever have odd expectations of books only to have them totally surprise you - for good or bad?  Do you ever put off reading a book because you doubt it can be as good as something else you loved by the same author?

2 Response to "Furies of Calderon"

  1. Anonymous Says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    I keep meaning to read I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak but I keep putting it off because I love The Book Thief so much and I don't know if the other will be as good.

  2. Nikki - Notes of Life says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    I love The Dresden Files (It's got to be my favourite series of books) and I too have Furies of Calderon on my shelves... In fact, I got around half way through it and some how stopped (not sure why, because I was enjoying it!). I'll have to start reading it again and get the rest of the series.

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