Book Reviews of Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1)

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1)
Furies of Calderon - Codex Alera, Bk 1
Author: Jim Butcher
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ISBN-13: 9780441012688
ISBN-10: 044101268X
Publication Date: 6/28/2005
Pages: 512
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 205

4 stars, based on 205 ratings
Publisher: Ace
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

23 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 287 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
If I didn't know the name of the author, I would never place this author as the same one who writes the Harry Dresden books. This first book in the Codex Alera series is a completely different type of story. It is extremely well-written and the world that Butcher has created is amazing. My only issue is that the world is so fully developed that it took a while to really understand how this world worked - I think I spent at least the first half of the book trying to figure it all out (and there are still many questions that I have), which took away a bit from the story itself. The characters might not have the same place in my heart that Harry and Bob and their crew have, but I did enjoy reading this book very much.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 4
This isn't a half bad book. I'm anxious to read the rest of the series. Jim Butcher went a completely different way than his Dresden files series. In this series he develops a new world and a new way of doing "magic". This book drags you into the author's world and keeps you there until you finish the book and surface for air.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The ideas behind the book were great; I enjoyed the ideas of the furies a lot. The book was okay, but I did not immensely enjoy it-- the style was just not quite my cup of tea.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 550 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Jim Butcher rotates between 2 series, his Harry Dresden stories and this, my FAVORITE series about Tavi and his planet of complex and different species. Jim Butcher really drives his stories in unpredictable directions, with many minute details that made me a real fan of his books. Unfortunately, the Dresden TV show was dismal so I didn't watch. My son who doesn't like to read also liked these book, and used them for his required English book report assignments. He told me "Mother, Jim Butcher obviously plays a lot of video games!" Well, I don't play a lot of video games but I do like his books.
The new releases always come out in hard cover, then in about 10 months are released in paperback.
This is the first of five books in this series (Codex Alera) 2nd is Academ's Fury, 3rd Cursor's Fury, 4th Captain's Fury, latest: Princeps' Fury
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 287 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
If I didn't know the name of the author, I would never place this author as the same one who writes the Harry Dresden books. This first book in the Codex Alera series is a completely different type of story. It is extremely well-written and the world that Butcher has created is amazing. My only issue is that the world is so fully developed that it took a while to really understand how this world worked - I think I spent at least the first half of the book trying to figure it all out (and there are still many questions that I have), which took away a bit from the story itself. The characters might not have the same place in my heart that Harry and Bob and their crew have, but I did enjoy reading this book very much.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I had to go with 3 1/2 stars for this review, because this book is both a 4 1/2 star and a 2 star book.

The 2 star review:
This book is tedious. So much time is spent explaining the world this story takes place in, it gets boring & irritating ("Got it! Get on with the story!").

The 4 1/2 star review:
There are some interesting parts, mostly near the end. Where this book is useful (other than as a doorstop) is that, once you get through this book, you understand the world the story takes place in very well. Butcher apparently has spent a lot of time thinking about and working the kinks out of the physics in this world. It's very rich.

So this book essentially sets up the whole series. Once you get through this one, the rest of the books flow much better & Butcher (luckily) doesn't spend a lot of time rehashing the basic information. If you find the universe where the story takes place interesting, the other books are good reads.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you like Jim's Harry Dresden books, your sure to like this one!
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 550 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is my favorite Jim Butcher series. 6 books, then it ends. I loved every book and recommend this for young male readers, I even got my son to read it. The imagination, the story was just great and thrilling! READ IT, but in order, starting from this 1st book.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 902 more book reviews
This is Book 1 of The Codex Alera series.

For those of you who have never heard the story behind the birth of The Codex Alera series, here it is...

Several years ago, Jim Butcher got involed in an ALL CAPS LOCK internet forum "discussion" with another author. They were debating the importance of the quality of subject matter vs the level of an author's talent. This is my own weak paraphrasing of the conversation between Butcher (JB) and the other author (OA).

OA: If your idea is sound, if it has merit and worth, then it can carry a novel no matter how poor the writing. Good books are based on the quality of the idea, not necessarily the talent of the author.
JB: I DISAGREE. I THINK A GOOD AUTHOR CAN TAKE A TERRIBLE IDEA AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING GREAT.
OA: That sounds like a bet. How about I give you a terrible idea and you use it to write something worth reading?
JB: ACTUALLY. FORGET THAT. WHY DON'T YOU GIVE ME _TWO_ TERRIBLE IDEAS INSTEAD?
OA: Ok then. The first idea is "lost Roman legion." Tons of bad books have been written about that.
JB: ALRIGHT. FINE. WHAT IS YOUR OTHER IDEA?
OA: My other terrible idea is... Pokemon.

And there you have it, folks. The birth of Codex Alera. In all, I think that Butcher won the bet. It is a typical first-in-a-series sort of book: very heavy on character development and the establishment of the magical system, not to mention a crash course in history, geography, and political allegiances. The book had some typos (which were annoying) but otherwise I found it to be a good start on a new series.

The main character, Tavi, is resourceful and easily likable, and the supporting cast of characters are all well drawn and full of life. It lacks much of the biting sarcasm of Harry Dresden, but still carries subtle undertones of Butcher's wit and humor. It is very different type of story from The Dresden Files, and yet the soul if it seems to be very much the same. In all, it was a good read. I'm looking forward to the next one.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 293 more book reviews
The Alerans are not alone in this world, but their last confrontation with the Marat was nearly 15 years ago. So when Tavi and his Uncle Bernard go out to find some lost sheep, the last thing they expect is to fend off is a Marat warrior and his deadly birdbeasts. This external foe coupled with internal power struggles puts Alera in a precarious position. Amara in a Cursor, which is not just someone who delivers the Empires mail, but can also serve as information gatherer. She is also wicked good with her wind fury, decent with a blade, and has some of the best lines in the book. Unfortunately, she is up against a foe who knows all her strengths and weaknesses.

Butcher wove together a masterful tale that grabs a hold of you right away and never lets go. The characters are introduced simply and gain in depth as the story unfolds; I even fell in love with some of the bad guys, hoping they wouldnt die before I had learned all their secrets. The magical rules governing furycrafting are well laid out and the author doesnt stray from them for ease of moving the plot along. The Marat make an intriguing external force upon the Empire, with their own code of honor and culture.

Kate Reading surpassed my expectations. I had listened to other narrations by her and had found her speech pattern halting and a little unsettling. I am very happy to say that she performed this book beautifully, with a notable range for male and female characters. I especially loved her rendition of Odiana. This performance not only puts her back on my Listen To List, but also in the top 20.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 12 more book reviews
I picked this book up on the strength of Jim Butcher's interview on The Dragon Page: Cover to Cover show #260. Of course, Butcher is famous for The Dresden Files, an urban fantasy/mystery series in which the protagonist sleuth is a freelance wizard. It is popular enough to have been turned into a television series by the same name. I'm not a huge fan of urban fantasy; almost every time I've tried to pick one up, I've never finished the book. Also, the TV series didn't wow me at all. So I was definitely intrigued when Evo Terra practically gushed about the Codex Alera, Butcher's epic fantasy series. I wanted to give the guy a chance.

Mr. Butcher stated that the Codex Alera series came about from a challenge of a friend. They had been discussing the concept of taking bad ideas and making them into good novels through presentation and writing. This individual challenged Butcher to write a good novel from a bad idea. Butcher upped the ante and asked for two bad ideas, and these were the results:

-- Lost Roman Legion
-- Pokemon

Taking these two ideas, Butcher crafted _Furies of Calderon._ Which is unfortunately a pretty bad book. There are two areas in which this book is particularly unsavory: plotting and writing style.

**PLOTTING**

The plot of _Furies of Calderon_ is pretty cliche ridden. There is the boy: a young character with mysterious origins living on a small farmstead. This particular boy, Tavi, cannot use any of the elemental forces (the Pokemon influence) that fill his homeland. He wants to go to the capital city to study at university so he can make a name for himself as a scholar. Cue John Williams score and wonder who this boy's parents are.

The other overly familiar plot points are rife. There is the female spy who uncovers the plot to overthrow the monarch. That's probably one of the most common plots of any fantasy novel. There is a "Judas" character. There is a group of invading savages. There's a dark, scary forest full of overgrown spiders. Tavi is able to point out flaws in the savages' legal system. The female spy is quite conveniently also nobility, even though it had never been mentioned until just the "right" moment. It continues ad nauseam.



**WRITING**

The writing style that Butcher uses here is pretty tedious. A lot the time, it is overly wordy. A lot of information is included parenthetically and can be repetitive. A great example of this appears on page 480:

"She lifted her arm, gasping, and blocked the Marat's forearm with her own, halting the blade a scant inch from her throat."

And then just one sentence later:

"Isana twisted, gasping, calling for Rill once again, hoping that the first Marat would remain incapacitated when she called Rill from him."

Both of these sentences are clunky. They could be streamlined easily. As it is, the reader has quite a bit to wade through. The parenthetical verbs especially could be cut. Much more interesting words than "gasping" could be used to provide action. Stricter editing would have been really beneficial.

There's also some confusion about whether or not a certain character is a Citizen. On page 33, Tavi reminds his Uncle Bernard that he could have challenged for full Citizenship. On page 220, another character says that Bernard can't kill a Citizen on that Citizen's property. Bernard replies that he can on his own land, which implies some sort of Citizenship status. On page 363, yet another character reminds Bernard that he isn't a Citizen off of his own property. It would be so much easier to understand, at least in my opinion, if Butcher had made clear how the Citizenship system worked in this world.

In conclusion, this book completely fails in what it was trying to accomplish. The ideas were hokey, the delivery was schlocky, and the story just doesn't deliver anything remarkable or original. There's a lot out there that is better on every count, and I intend to read that instead.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 25 more book reviews
Interesting story concept, but I had a hard time getting into this book. It's an 'all right' story but rather predictable. By the third (or maybe it was the fourth?) Big Battle Scene, I found myself wondering, "When is it going to end?"

Jim Butcher should stick with the Harry Dresden series and leave the High Fantasy genre alone.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 11 more book reviews
I loved the Dresden books that I've read so far, so I thought I'd give this series a try since it is by the same author. I'm really glad I did! While it is extremely different from the other series Butcher still can tell a fast-paced, intense story that never lets up. The end of the book was a little disappointing, but I can't really go into why because I don't want to spoil it. Still, I put this book down and immediately started reading the next book in the series. Good stuff!
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 55 more book reviews
I love this series!

However I do not love the narrator for this series in audio. So very happy that I borrowed it from the library before I bought or added them to my list of books to own.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 8 more book reviews
This series is much different than his Dresden series and I just could not get into this book. It was very difficult to understand what was going on & many things weren't quite explained or defined. Such as, what exactly is a "windcrafter?" What is a "Rill?" What is the "Academy?" Who exactly are these characters? I was pretty confused a lot through this book. I think if Butcher would have gone into more detail in the beginning & introduced the characters in better detail, it would've been a good read. I got about halfway through and couldn't tell you why these certain characters were against each other & why & what they were planning. Overall, I give this book one star.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 70 more book reviews
I really love Jim Burcher's Harry Dresden books so I thought I'd give this series a try. I am enjoying it.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 18 more book reviews
A pleasure to read.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 412 more book reviews
#1 in the Codex Alera fantasy series, a much more 'traditional' fantasy than Butcher's other modern-day "urban" fantasy Harry Dresden series. The land of Alera is about to be besieged by war, with the barbarians at the gates. While Alera itself seems based in Roman history, it's odd because the barbarians (the Marat) sound like the marauding American Indians of tomahawk and scalping fame with their various tribes and clans. Alerans use magic by bonding with furies, which are elementals based in air, earth, fire, water and metal.

Like many fantasies, this story switches point of view several times to tell the various storylines of the main characters. Tavi, a fifteen-year-old boy living in Bernardhold, nephew to the steadholder, has not yet bonded with any furies, and thus is known as a freak and Amara, a young Cursor (messenger/spy) who is a windcrafter sent by the First Lord to the Calderon Valley (Tavi's home) to seek out information about the invasion, and who finds a traitor very close to hand, are the main characters. Tavi's uncle and aunt and Amara's tutor and traitor Fidelius as well as several other secondary characters also figure heavily in the story. As they trek along, sometimes together and sometimes not, they meet a fairly predictable set of adversarial situations.

I did enjoy the book, but something about it failed to fully engage my interest. Good, but not great, in other words. It was a rather slow starter, and Butcher does a good job of building the world of Alera, although all the various magical rules and the governmental setup were a little confusing for awhile. The tone of the book was completely different than Butcher's Dresden Files series also, missing the wry humor and smart-alecky main character, but if anything it shows that the author is not a one-dimensional writer but can easily expand his horizons, and has done so. I'm hoping that subsequent books in the series will be a tad easier to get through now that I'm familiar with the world of Alera. The reader for this one was good, but not a favorite.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on
Love this author. Loved this book
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 902 more book reviews
This is Book 1 of The Codex Alera series.

For those of you who have never heard the story behind the birth of The Codex Alera series, here it is...

Several years ago, Jim Butcher got involed in an ALL CAPS LOCK internet forum "discussion" with another author. They were debating the importance of the quality of subject matter vs the level of an author's talent. This is my own weak paraphrasing of the conversation between Butcher (JB) and the other author (OA).

OA: If your idea is sound, if it has merit and worth, then it can carry a novel no matter how poor the writing. Good books are based on the quality of the idea, not necessarily the talent of the author.
JB: I DISAGREE. I THINK A GOOD AUTHOR CAN TAKE A TERRIBLE IDEA AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING GREAT.
OA: That sounds like a bet. How about I give you a terrible idea and you use it to write something worth reading?
JB: ACTUALLY. FORGET THAT. WHY DON'T YOU GIVE ME _TWO_ TERRIBLE IDEAS INSTEAD?
OA: Ok then. The first idea is "lost Roman legion." Tons of bad books have been written about that.
JB: ALRIGHT. FINE. WHAT IS YOUR OTHER IDEA?
OA: My other terrible idea is... Pokemon.

And there you have it, folks. The birth of Codex Alera. In all, I think that Butcher won the bet. It is a typical first-in-a-series sort of book: very heavy on character development and the establishment of the magical system, not to mention a crash course in history, geography, and political allegiances. The book had some typos (which were annoying) but otherwise I found it to be a good start on a new series.

The main character, Tavi, is resourceful and easily likable, and the supporting cast of characters are all well drawn and full of life. It lacks much of the biting sarcasm of Harry Dresden, but still carries subtle undertones of Butcher's wit and humor. It is very different type of story from The Dresden Files, and yet the soul if it seems to be very much the same. In all, it was a good read. I'm looking forward to the next one.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 16 more book reviews
Good read
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 29 more book reviews
This book is totally different than the "Dresden Files" series that I have enjoyed so much. I'm not sure I really appreciate the difference.
reviewed Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1) on + 902 more book reviews
This is Book 1 of The Codex Alera series.

For those of you who have never heard the story behind the birth of The Codex Alera series, here it is...

Several years ago, Jim Butcher got involed in an ALL CAPS LOCK internet forum "discussion" with another author. They were debating the importance of the quality of subject matter vs the level of an author's talent. This is my own weak paraphrasing of the conversation between Butcher (JB) and the other author (OA).

OA: If your idea is sound, if it has merit and worth, then it can carry a novel no matter how poor the writing. Good books are based on the quality of the idea, not necessarily the talent of the author.
JB: I DISAGREE. I THINK A GOOD AUTHOR CAN TAKE A TERRIBLE IDEA AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING GREAT.
OA: That sounds like a bet. How about I give you a terrible idea and you use it to write something worth reading?
JB: ACTUALLY. FORGET THAT. WHY DON'T YOU GIVE ME _TWO_ TERRIBLE IDEAS INSTEAD?
OA: Ok then. The first idea is "lost Roman legion." Tons of bad books have been written about that.
JB: ALRIGHT. FINE. WHAT IS YOUR OTHER IDEA?
OA: My other terrible idea is... Pokemon.

And there you have it, folks. The birth of Codex Alera. In all, I think that Butcher won the bet. It is a typical first-in-a-series sort of book: very heavy on character development and the establishment of the magical system, not to mention a crash course in history, geography, and political allegiances. The book had some typos (which were annoying) but otherwise I found it to be a good start on a new series.

The main character, Tavi, is resourceful and easily likable, and the supporting cast of characters are all well drawn and full of life. It lacks much of the biting sarcasm of Harry Dresden, but still carries subtle undertones of Butcher's wit and humor. It is very different type of story from The Dresden Files, and yet the soul if it seems to be very much the same. In all, it was a good read. I'm looking forward to the next one.