Furies Of Calderon
Reviewed: November 12, 2009
By: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Ace Books
512 pages, $8.99
Butcher’s second series is the Codex Alera. The first novel takes place
in Calderon, one of those vaguely medieval fantasy places in the Valley of Alera
on the world of Carna. Most humans (there are other races) have a mystic link
to the elemental forces of earth, water, fire, wind, metal, and wood which inhabit
the land. In typical Butcher fashion, these furies, as they are called, are
used in a variety of imaginative ways.
Furies of Calderon follows two main characters.
Amara is an apprentice Cursor, trained in furycrafting and off on her her first
clandestine assignment in the company of her mentor, Fedelias. She is shocked
to find out that her teacher is in league with foes of the First Lord and that
he expects her to become his ally. She escapes his clutches, but just barely.
Tavi is a young man with a mysterious family background who is considered a
psychic cripple because he has no furycrafting ability. Still he has his wits
and a good heart and it able to help Amara in her quest to undo the plots of
We spend time following both of their points of view, and learn a great deal
about them as the book progresses.
In an odd switch, we also spend time in the mind of Fedelias, who sees himself
as being loyal to the land and its people rather than to a monarchy which he
feels has failed them. While he acts as a villain in this story, he does not
see himself that way.
Butcher says this series is loosely based on the social situation around the
time of the collapse of the Roman empire.
How readers respond to these two series seems to vary according to which they
discovered first. Die-hard Dresden fans seem to see the Codex books as a waste
of Dresden time, while Codex fans don’t seem to resent Harry’s adventures.
While the series differ in terms of writing style, they are quite similar in
terms of theme and impact. Tavi could almost be a mirror image of Harry. Over
the projected six books of the Codex we will, I am guessing, watch him grow
up, while we met Harry fully grown.
I find both series quite enjoyable and suggest taking each for what it is.