Furies of Calderon: The Codex Alera, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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For 1000 years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious Lords manoeuvre to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.
Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of fury crafting. At 15, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans' most savage enemy - the Marat - return to the Valley, his world will change.
Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave. But Amara is actually a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power - and could even turn the tides of war.
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|Listening Length||19 hours and 54 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||25 August 2016|
|Publisher||Hachette Audio UK|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 15,326 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
2,097 in Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
2,377 in Military Fantasy (Books)
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Top reviews from Australia
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A thousand kinds of awesome, that's what.
And "Furies of Calderon" is at least nine hundred kinds of that awesome, serving as a solid kick-off to Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series. The book shows that snarky urban fantasy isn't all Butcher is good at, allowing the introduction of a truly epic fantasy world with complicated politics, bloody battles, some terrifying insectile monsters, and a scrappy young hero who seems to be the exact opposite of the whole Chosen One/Luke Skywalker archetype.
First, backstory. The series is set in another world where the Lost Legion somehow ended up, and they formed their own pseudo-Roman society which is currently at a sort-of-medieval level of development. They also have control of elemental furies, which allow them to manipulate fire, water, earth, wood, air and metal. Every single person in Alera has at least one or two furies at their beck and call... except teenage Tavi, who is inexplicably furyless.
While tracking a lost sheep, Tavi and his uncle Bernard encounter a Marat warrior -- which is a big deal, since the Marat are the Alerans' bitter enemies, and were driven out of this land years ago. This shocking news is backed by the arrival of a young Cursori spy named Amara, who has discovered a plot against the First Lord of Alera, and only narrowly escaped being killed by her own mentor. When Bernardholt is invaded by the conspirators and their vicious neighbor Kord, the family ends up scattered across the land.
Specifically, Isana has been captured by the vicious, misogynistic Kord; Bernard and Amara are desperately trying to warn the nearest Aleran Legion of the impending invasion of Marat; and Tavi and the mentally-challenged slave Fade have been captured by the Marat. Tavi soon discovers that he can use the Marat's strict laws and traditions for his own ends, and may be able to stop the invasion -- or at least give the Alerans a chance of victory -- if he is able to win a life-threatening challenge in a forest full of insectile monsters.
It's easy to become burned out on epic fantasy. Most of them just copy-and-paste the same old formula from Tolkien -- a medieval world with an Anglo slant, with some magic, castles, gods, swords and nobles. Oh, and a healthy dose of forest-dwelling elves/mountain-dwelling dwarves/wizards. And even if most epic fantasy authors don't directly copy Tolkien's world-building approach, then they just copy Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin or (shudder) Terry Goodkind.
So it's a credit to Butcher's world-building that Alera actually feels pretty fresh -- it's a Roman-inspired society, and the "elves" aren't ethereal arboreal supermodels, but powerful catlike people with tribes, totems and a special bond to different kinds of animals. Even the idea of furies is handled in a fascinating way, with an array of special powers (healing, flight, hiding, disguise) for every element.
Butcher also brings a more epic quality to the story by writing it in the third person -- he flits between different characters and subplots, spread all across this region of Alera. And his prose in "Furies of Calderon" tends to be more smoothly descriptive ("A brilliant moon, looming large among a sea of stars, painted the landscape below in silver and black") and less internally snarky than anything you'll find in the Dresden Files. Don't worry, the story still has plenty of hilarious moments ("Uncle Bernard! Uncle Bernard! He followed me home. Can we keep him?").
Of course, it's gloriously bloody and action-packed -- storms filled with angry furies, a vicious climactic battle, and Tavi and Kitai's adventures in the Wax Forest and the ghastly Keepers. And Butcher creates some political intrigue that promises to have far-reaching effects, even if the antagonists lose the immediate battle.
Tavi is also a pretty good hero -- rather than being a country boy who clearly has a great destiny ahead of him, he's someone that NO ONE expects anything from, because he's effectively disabled. But he compensates for his lack of furycraft by being smart, brave and clever enough to impress even a Marat chieftain. The supporting cast is similarly strong -- the intelligent, strong-willed Isana, the tragic Bernard, cruel and abused Odiana, and the brash young Marat Kitai (who has a bit of a love-hate thing going on with Tavi). And Butcher drops hints that some of them -- especially Isana and Fade -- have some very significant secrets.
For people weary of Tolkien knockoffs, "Furies of Calderon" is a clever, fast-moving spin on the whole medieval fantasy setting -- we have Romans, elemental powers and a gloriously twisted conspiracy. What more can you ask for?
Top reviews from other countries
This however, is just a personal preference and has no bearing on the story, which is very well written, engaging and fast paced with a lot of action.
The characters for the most part are all well written and have personalities that are developed in a believable way. Some of these characters are still shrouded in a bit of mystery and not as well developed by the end of the book as others, but as they will undoubtedly be in the following books so I will assume they will be more fleshed out in those.
The Furies in the story are elemental beings that can become attached to individuals humans who can then manipulate the element that Furie represents, the other race of beings in the story, the Marats, don’t have this ability, instead they seem to bond to certain creatures, which they can control.
Except for the writing style, which I did become accustomed to eventually, I enjoyed this book and will definitely read the others in the series.
Bottom line: it’s easy to read, plot suggests a deeper and multi-book storyline, characters are well written, battle scenes need work, I enjoyed this book but not sure I’d ‘strongly’ recommend it to a friend. Perhaps as a stop-gap inbetween other series.