Jason Mills's Reviews > Furies of Calderon

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
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's review
Jun 25, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, fantasy
Recommended to Jason by: Del
Recommended for: Fantasy readers who just fancy a good story.
Read from May 03 to June 25, 2011 , read count: 1

A hefty fantasy, first in a series, Furies Of Calderon tells of a rebellion in the valley of Calderon at the northern edge of the kingdom of Alera. Amara, a young spy for the crown, uncovers the plot and rushes to the valley, teaming up there with Tavi, a poor but resourceful youth. Meanwhile the rebels are allying with the Marat, a northern nation of warlike nomads, to invade Calderon and push south. Amara and Tavi must overcome the scepticism of the land's leaders and organise resistance in the nick of time.

The 'unique selling point' of this fantasy is the furies: sentient elementals of air, earth, fire, water, wood and metal, who bind with humans and provide use of their powers. Air-crafting allows Amara to fly, while Tavi's uncle Bernard uses earth-crafting to sense where his enemies are; metal-crafters are exceptionally good swordsmen, whilst water-crafters make great healers. The Marat have no such powers, though they ally themselves with animals; whilst young Tavi, to his great misfortune, is a 'freak' with no furies at all.

All this is interesting, but not massively so. Though the characters are well-drawn and the plotting satisfactory, I found this a quite ordinary fantasy, lacking in passion or purpose. Butcher's prose is workmanlike, though it occasionally jars the reader with ill-judged idioms like "case-by-case basis" and "death benefits"; and the book feels like a first instalment, an opening skirmish, rather than a whole tale in itself. As an escapist adventure it's fine, but nothing in it really mattered to me. I might recommend it as 'beginner' fantasy for teenagers, although be aware that there are 'adult-content' elements like an implied gang-rape.

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