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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

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 Fedelias.

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.

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