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Codex Alera #1

Furies of Calderon

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In this extraordinary fantasy epic, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dresden Files leads readers into a world where the fate of the realm rests on the shoulders of a boy with no power to call his own ...

For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bonds with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light the lamps. Yet as the Alerans' most savage enemy - the Marat horde - returns to the Valley, Tavi's courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war ...

688 pages, Paperback

First published October 5, 2004

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About the author

Jim Butcher

277 books46.8k followers
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri.

Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.

All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,636 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
January 8, 2022
I don't really read a lot of high fantasy. In fact, I'm not even sure what makes something high fantasy.
I have my ideas, though...


I've been reading Butcher's urban fantasy series, Dresden Files for a long time now, but I've avoided reading his Codex Alera stuff because it sounded too weird for me. Even the name Codex Alera is just...?
Ehhhhh? Seemed like there would be too much funky Lord of the Ringsy world-building for a fantasy-lite reader like myself. Some of us don't do well with that sort of thing, you know?!


Plus, this book has a lot of mixed reviews among my friends. There's not really an overwhelming Yes! This! Read this! vibe happening, so I never felt any pressure to pick it up.
But I was always kinda curious...


Ok. You know what?
After all that worrying, it turns out that I liked it. I liked it a lot! I mean, sure there were a whole bunch of things about the world itself that I could have used more explanation on. Especially those elemental thingies that (almost) everyone seemed to have. Like, sometime around puberty most of the people get a connection to an element (earth, water, fire, air) but they vary in their powers.
Kinda like Avatar if the elements were sorta like pets? Ish.
I'm not explaining it well. sigh
Anyway. I could have used a bit more help when it came to understanding what they were and how they came to be...obviously.

But other than not quite being able to pin down how the world worked (which was my original concern, in case you missed it), I didn't have any problems staying engaged in the plot. The storyline was interesting and well-written, and the characters felt three-dimensional and very real.


Basically, this kid screws up and loses his (and his uncle's) sheep because he's busy getting some flowers for a snotty, ungrateful (unsurprisingly hoish) girl. Cuz he's hoping to see her big boobies.
And trying to find those damn sheep is going to land him (and his family) in the middle of a conspiracy to not only overthrow the current king but potentially get his friends and neighbors eaten by a group of savages across the border.
Good stuff!
I've already grabbed the next book in the series, and I can't wait to see what happens.

This turned out to be what I would consider one of my favorite fantasy series ever, so I thought it would be fun to listen to the audiobook version. It was fantastic! I have to say that this book is even better the 2nd time around because I knew all the secrets and saw some of these characters in a new light.
Highly Recommended!
Buddy read with Chad.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
June 14, 2016
Romans and Pokemon.

That was my initial reaction when I heard of Codex Alera's concept and I am sure your face looks like this as well (don't deny it fellow readers,it's a normal reaction).And to answer your next question,NO it was not lame and weird,YES it was a brilliant,brilliant high fantasy book.

You're intrigued,aren't you?

The story
Alera is an empire similar to Rome regarding the social layers,the administration and the army,founded by the descendants and the camp followers of the Lost Roman Legion.Every Aleran commands elemental forces called furies.Well,not everyone.15-years-old Tavi of Calderon Valley is the only Aleran that cannot furycraft,which makes him a freak.An unfortunate series of events brings Tavi and his family in the center of a conspiracy and a barbarian invasion caused by an ambitious and traitorous High Lord.The fate of Alera lies in the hands of a boy whose only weapon is his wits.

“If there is any lesson to be learned from history,it is that all too often the fate of armies,of cities,of entire realms rests upon the actions of one person's decision,good or bad,right or wrong,big or small,can unwittingly change the world.
But history can be quite the slattern.One never knows who that person is,where he might be,or what decision he might make.
It is almost enough to make me believe in destiny.”

Jim Butcher is a miracle maker.Furies of Calderon is the engrossing,addictive first book to one of my all time favorite fantasy series.His world-building is spectacular and flawless,he created a vivid world I'd give anything to live in (just not when there is war raging,duh!).Usurpers,spies,traitors,barbarians,slaves,citizens,powerful furycrafters,men and women,adults and children,all of them are pieces of a puzzle of intrigue,politics,secrets,battles and sieges.Do you want fights?You get them.Do you want interesting characters?You get them.Do you want romance?Plot twists?Beings of immense power?You.get.them.

The characters
One of the most fascinating things about Codex Alera is that the main hero is not someone with great powers that make him unique.On the contrary,he is weak, the only one who doesn't possess any powers .But because of this weakness he uses his brain,he is resourceful and one of the smartest heroes I have ever encountered.Sometimes he behaves like a naive child,some others like a mature adult.And there is not a chance that he will not charm you.
“Tavi looked wildly around the courtyard,and when his gaze flicked toward them,his face lit with a ferocious smile."Uncle Bernard!Uncle Bernard!" he shouted,pointing at Doroga."He followed me home!Can we keep him?”

The rest of the characters,good and evil,are compelling and alluring.I wanted to kiss Bernard and kill Fidelias and become friends with Doroga (what do you mean he's a cannibal?I don't care) and fight alongside Amara and Kitai and live through them.

Codex Alera is an epic journey you will not regret!
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
December 19, 2019
2.5/5 Stars

Furies of Calderon is a good beginning to a series but honestly, I’m quite disappointed with it.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Butcher’s books, and although he’s most famous for his Dresden Files series. However, Codex Alera seemed to interest me more at the moment; the combination of two totally different concepts that I loved: Roman and Pokemon? In a high fantasy book? Now THAT is something that sparked my interest. I’ve had this book on my TBR shelf for a year already, and now that I finally got around to it, I’m sad that the first book didn’t really meet my expectation.

“The course of history is determined not by battles, by sieges, or usurpation, but by the individuals.”

To sum up my review in the simplest way possible: this is truly an “okay” book. I mean it, the book isn’t bad, it’s decent enough but there’s also nothing special about it. The plot is good enough when it features Tavi as the POV, the rest of the characters are mostly okay, the world-building is good enough, the prose is vivid and the action scenes are well written. However, almost all of them get bogged down by something that I didn’t enjoy.

Picture: Bernard and his Earth Fury, Brutus. Fanart by sandara on deviantart

For the first book of any fantasy series, I prefer the book I read to focus more on the characterizations first rather than the actions. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously love action scenes in the book I read, but for me, the characterizations are more important, especially for a huge six-book series like this; it is pivotal for me to be able to care about the characters first. I seriously think this is the most action-packed first book to a high fantasy series I’ve ever read; out of 600 pages, I’m pretty sure that almost half of them are action scenes. The thing is, well-written action scenes are pointless to me if I can’t bring myself to care about the characters fate, and that’s exactly what I felt about this book.

The other problems I had, other than the book being very formulaic and predictable, Butcher over explained everything too many times and yet, he didn’t elaborate on the Furies magic system and limitation. I’m sure it will be explained in the future installments but for now, seems like everyone just conjured this Furycrafting without any problem. This is not a bad thing, just not my preferences.

“No enterprise of greatness begins with treachery, with lying to the people who trust and love you”

Although my review sounded really negative, I still think of Furies of Calderon as a good start to a series but for now, I don’t know if I’ll continue the series until the end or not. I heard from trusted friends and reviewers that the series only gets so much better as it goes, which brought me to the decision to see how the second book goes first before dropping the series entirely, so I will still continue for now, but not immediately like I planned. I will recommend this to anybody new to adult fantasy but for a veteran of the genre, I must say that the start of the series disappointed me and I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this to you.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Kaila.
817 reviews101 followers
May 8, 2018
I probably made a huge mistake by reading this novel before any of The Dresden Files. At the time I was shuffling through my Kindle library and I had just finished one or two urban fantasy novels. I was not in the mood for another one, so I thought, Hey! How about The Furies of Calderon!?

Oh poor, unwitting me. You had such good intentions.

My first problem with this book is where the premise came from. Although I could not find any definite evidence, the rumor is that Butcher was bet he couldn't make a good story out of a bad idea. In this case, the lost Roman 9th legion, and Pokémon. Now, I personally think that sounds pretty awesome, but I'm a nerd. I also think that Jim Butcher taking it and running with it is a testimony to his balls of steel and his writing capability. Not just anyone could make that shitty bet into a six book series. Unfortunately for us, the bet should have been: take a bad premise but make good characters. Good characters, in my opinion, do not always need a good story, nor do they need ridiculous situations to prove themselves the better human. The bad guys do not need to be evil for the sake of evil with some general douchery thrown in. Nor do all of the good characters need to be noble and upstanding.

The elemental powers drew strong parallels to Avatar: The Last Airbender for me. (One of my favorite cartoons!) Who knows where the cartoon writers got their inspiration, but Avatar was released in 2005, while this novel was published in 2004, so no worries there. Of course, the target audience for Avatar: The Last Airbender is 6-11 year olds, so I'm a wee bit outside the demographic there. Furies of Calderon, on the other hand, is advertised as a "high fantasy novel;" which means that sex, blood, and general world ending antics are fine. Yet in this novel those all felt distinctly out of place, like it was supposed to be written as a young adult novel but a rape scene accidentally got thrown in.

Yeah, you heard me. Furies is like The Last Airbender but with more rape.

When I started writing this review I told my boyfriend that I was reviewing Furies of Calderon, but he gave me a blank look. As soon as I said, "You know, Avatar The Last Rape Bender?" He walked away groaning. I started referring to Furies as that when the stupidly one dimensional and overly antagonistic local muscle revealed their propensity for said torture and rape. It was so ridiculous and purposefully overdramatic for the sake of drama that I threw the book down and had to walk away for a few days. At least the major antagonists have some semblance of a plan going for them, but the betrayer was revealed way too early in the story to make that very dramatic. As in the first chapter. Butcher, I feel, really missed out on some potential character development there with Amara. So here I am as the reader, disgusted when local farmers rape slaves for drama, and then confused as to why a perfectly good opportunity for drama and character development was dropped by the wayside.

Whether it was an excess of drama or a lack thereof, a lot of the book was telling and not showing. The one sentence I wrote down after finishing it to remind myself of things I should say in a review was "500 pages of characters talking about how scared they are." I was badgered, harassed, and goaded into unspeakable acts of eye rolling as characters fleshed out how incredibly frightened they were, over and over again. It's not character development, it's 500 pages of characters worried about what is going to happen. Of course, it's those one dimensional "good characters" I mentioned earlier, noble and upstanding, who don't have any other traits to talk about besides either being right, or scared. If that is all your characters are capable of, something needs to be reevaluated here.

It is a trope in urban fantasy that the main character starts out already very powerful, pain resistant, tough, and disillusioned. In Furies of Calderon, however, it is the exact opposite. Not only is the main character weak, he is the only weak character, every single other person having their own elemental already, while he has none. While reading this book I kept thinking, "NOW would be a good time for his powers to suddenly come into affect....ok how about NOW?!" This is the one positive thing about this novel, and at least it is a valid drama point. As much as I would like to know whether he ever does get his powers, I was definitely not planning on finishing the series. However, I will be begrudgingly reading more, but only because the internet informs me that it gets better.

Two years later...

I did it. I finally finished. Here is the star break down for the series for me:

Furies of Calderon - 2
Academ's Fury - 2
Cursor's Fury - 1
Captain's Fury - 2
Princeps' Fury - 1
First Lord's Fury - 2

Needless to say, I do not recommend this series. It does not get better.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,599 followers
November 16, 2019
This is a unique series, I could instantly describe a few happenings, settings and character progressions out of each part because everything fits so perfectly together and is described in an ultimate Wow! style.

The enemies, my gosh, this is such a fresh setting and I love how the author got the idea for the whole series as someone told him in a kind of bet or joke or something he should write a novel including pokemon fighting characteristics.

The fighting scenes brought me to the idea of how many combinations may arise by integrating video game ideas and play mechanic in books and vice versa. And the rock paper scissor system with an intuitive understanding of when it might get hairy or an easy win, wonderful.

A sacrilege by the way: I prefer the Codex Alera series over the Dresden files, I would go so far as to say that the Dresden files are probably more a money printing machine than Codex Alera, that must have taken an immense effort in writing it. While the Dresden files are this one cynical character, wandering through the history of horror, mixing film noir with badass supercop attitude.

But in the Codex Alera, we have this high fantasy world, the coming of age character walking the hero´s journey, freaking cool abilities and settings and the feeling to be in an epic super battle mixture of famous TV- and video game series.

Tropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Carly.
456 reviews183 followers
July 26, 2016

**Edit: The original review discussed Codex Alera's rather entertaining "origin story," which involved a flamewar, a bet, Pokemon, and the Roman legions.
Because this is "author behavior" that is not discussed in the book, it may not be in line with the impressively subjective new policies of GR.
I don't want to break these shiny new rules, so I am deleting most of the fun parts of this review.
My original review is posted over at booklikes--you can take a look at it there, if you want. Sorry about the added trouble!

Here is a highly expurgated version which does not mention the author, as I do so hate breaking rules:

The story takes place in the Calderon Valley of the Kingdom of Alera, where the descendents of the lost Roman legions apparently settled thousands of years ago. Alera is a savage, hierarchical land, with a failing high king who is the last of his line, a set of scheming lords anxious to relieve him of the burden of office, an economy built upon slavery, and a tendency try to massacre the members of the neighboring lands. Not that its neighbors aren't doing their fair share. Alera, the only human civilization, is surrounded by the savage icemen, the barbaric Marat, and the warg-like Canim. Alerans themselves are superhuman: they are all gifted with and dependent on their Furies: elemental magic that can be embodied in beings of wind, fire, and stone. All Alerans have furycrafting skills and use them for everything from mundane household tasks to healing, flying, and superhuman epic battlemagic.

Only Tavi, a shepherd boy in the Calderon Valley, is furyless. Lucky Tavi is treated like a retarded child: he not only looks like a young 12-year-old, but at fifteen years, his lack of furies appears permanent and means he is essentially useless and helpless. In a world dependent on the furies, he cannot turn on or off lights, help with the farming, or even travel fast on the roads (which are specially designed for fast travel via earthcrafting).

The story--and the series--starts with a seemingly mundane incident. Tavi wants to bring flowers to the girl he is sweet on, and is therefore so late bringing in the sheep that they wander away and are lost. In retrieving them, he stumbles upon proof of a traitorous scheme that will endanger the entire Calderon Valley. Aided by his watercrafting aunt Isana, his stolid stonecrafting uncle Bernard, and the mysterious windcrafting servant of the high lord, Amara, Tavi must bring news--and preferably proof--to the garrison to alert the legions (yes, Roman legions) to the danger. Along the way, he and his allies must evade and outwit scheming mercenaries, vicious slavers, and bloodthirsty barbarians.
~4.5 stars
Author 1 book358 followers
February 28, 2017
Read from December 26, 2015 to January 03, 2016

This review is for the whole series (spoiler free). First of all, I would like to say that reading some other reviews, you will get the impression that the story has Pokemons, or at least something similar. That's kinda bullshit. It has nothing to do with either them, or anything resembling them.

Codex Alera is a nice fantasy story, taking place in Alera, a realm strongly resembling the Roman Empire. The magic system is the best i have encounter, save perhaps the one of the Night Angel. The characters are well built as well. I got really close to them,and completely understood their emotions and decisions. Unfortunately, that's where the good attributes stop.

“Living was a dangerous past-time, and often quite painful—but there was also such joy in living, such beauty, things that one would otherwise never see, never experience, never know. The risk of pain and loss was a part of living.”

To begin with, the story is too Goddamn long. All of the story arcs, and i do mean all of them, are far stretched. I really got tired after the 3rd book. Thing is, far stretched arcs weren't enough for Jim Butcher. He had to keep repeating the same topics. I swear to God, i got sick reading about a female character who loves a male character, but can't be with him because she can't bare him a child. Thoughts & discussions about it lasted more than 200 pages in the whole series. Another really big problem i encountered is that there were a lot of cliches, and no surprises. Everything was predictable. In a trilogy this is not a big deal, but in 6 books? It's really frustrating.

All in all, Codex Alera is a nice fantasy series, but it doesn't belong in the top of your TBR list. Leave it for some other time...

You can find more of my reviews over at http://BookNest.eu/
Profile Image for Nimrod Daniel.
143 reviews258 followers
April 14, 2019
$0.99 on Amazon, go grab your copy

I became a fan of Jim Butcher after reading book 3 in The Dresden Files series, it was a superb book. Codex Alera is totally different than the Dresden series, and Furies of Calderon proved for once and for all that the author is much more important than THE great idea (if you don't know what I'm talking about - this book was conceived as a result of a bet. While Butcher was trying to prove his point that the author has a greater role in writing a good book than the importance of THE GREAT IDEA. He was challenged to write a story inspired by two clichés, the first - Pokemon, and the second – the last roman legion. Needless to mention that no one thought that the outcome will ever get published).

The outcome of that bet is really really great. Butcher wrote a fantastic fantasy book, definitely a classic fantasy done superbly right. Excellent writing, amazing plot, tons of action, great pacing, very good characterization and breathtaking battle scenes (the last battle reminded me David Gemmell's talent in creating very real and believable battle scenes) is what makes the book so awesome. The world-building is interesting and I'm looking forward to explore more of it . Plus, the magic system is great, I like Butcher's take on elemental-based magic. The book has a satisfying ending, so it can be read as a standalone.

The book is extremely fun to read, and it's highly recommended to all fantasy enthusiasts.
Definitely 5/5.
Profile Image for Michael Britt.
171 reviews1,997 followers
July 8, 2017
Actual rating: 4 Stars

Back in the late '90s, maybe early 2000s (don't feel like looking the exact date up), Jim Butcher made a bet with some stranger on an online forum that he could make any 2 ideas into a good book. That man chose the Lost Roman Legion and Pokémon. This is the result of that bet.

Now that we have a bit of the backstory on why it was created, let's talk about the result. The story follows 4 POVs; Tavi, Fidelias, Amara, and Isana. Furycrafting is basically the name of the magic system. Furycrafters can control the elementals of earth, air, fire, wood, water, and metal. Tavi is pretty much what this story revolves around. And sadly, he has been having trouble coming into his own with furies. In a world where furycrafting can literally mean life and death, and pretty much everyone can do it, this is no bueno. Isana is an immensely powerful watercrafter, and Tavi's aunt. Fidelias and Amara are what is known as Cursors. I'm not even sure what to exactly classify them as. So I'll go with: mailmen, spies and secret agents. While the plot isn't anything special, Butcher does a really good job of making the execution pretty entertaining to read. Since I mainly read for entertainment, this was sufficient enough to keep me hooked. If you're looking for something that'll blow your mind, I'm afraid this first book won't do it. If he follows suit with his Dresden Files series, then I'm not too worried; that series started off kind of blah and ended up being so amazing as the books progressed. So I have quite a bit of faith in him.

The characters were written rather well. Unlike Dresden Files, which is told from a single POV, he switched it up and gave us 4 great POVs. Well, honestly I thought 1 of them were rather boring, but that was due to personal taste. I won't mention which one, as I don't want to possibly cloud anyone's judgement who has yet to read it. I'm not even sure why this person bored me, so I think it was just a personal taste thing. While I really enjoyed most of our main characters, I fell in love with so many of the side characters. This is pretty much how I fell about just about any book I read haha. So suffice it to say that we get great characters all around! There wasn't too much development with the characters, but Tavi probably gets the most development. One thing I loved was that Tavi was such a underpowered character. He has to rely on his whit more than anything else.

The prose reminded me quite a bit of his other series, Dresden Files. It was different enough to feel fresh and new, while still having that Butcher charm to it. I did feel like there was a bit of fluff in there, which was one of the bigger problems I had with the book. Near the end it felt like he hung on to a certain event more than he should have and I ended up getting a tad bored. But, that's once again just a personal preference. Other than that, we had some really great pacing. It was actually full of action pretty much from the beginning and almost never lets up. Which I liked but due to the length of the novel, I felt pretty exhausted by the end.

The only real problem I had with the book I had already mentioned above. I think the thing I loved most was how he was able to pull this book together. I only played the first gen Pokémon games (Red Version and Yellow Version) but I loved how he was able to incorporate something like Pokémon into a Fantasy book. He was able to make a certain scene feel exactly like a battle from the games, but it wasn't something that you would need any kind of experience with the game franchise to get enjoyment from. He was able to keep his magic system, the furies, feeling fresh and original and not like a blatant rip off of the games. He had some great rules for the magic system and stuck to them. The magic did feel a bit too powerful at times, but he also had put restrictions on it so that they couldn't sling it all day long without any kind of repercussions.

I was really scared to pick this book up because of how much I love Dresden Files and I wasn't sure if he would be able to pull something else off unrelated to that series. While this is no masterpiece, this is a solidly entertaining installment into the Fantasy genre.
Profile Image for Mike Malaspina.
6 reviews6 followers
August 4, 2007
Furies of Calderon is your typical fantasy epic. Swords, sorcery, world turning upheaval, the blackest of evil and noblest of good. Only, the true hero of the story is not only powerless... Because that's been done before. No, the true hero is now only powerless, he's the ONLY powerless character. Even the other lowly farm hands can command boulders to simply pull themselves out of crop fields.

The savage Marat barbarians all have years of fighting experience from birth and great mighty beasts who kill with and for them. The Alerans all have access to their furies that control metal, earth, fire, air, water and plants making them powerful in a very many interesting ways that you wouldn't immediately think of as the traditional domains' powers.

But Tavi is just a smart young lad who really knows how to run. Making him the hero is brilliant, but better yet is not making him do things so unbelievable as to nullify the fact that he's powerless compared to everyone around him. How many times does somebody have to save his ass? I can't even remember, but it was refreshing.

Jim Butcher takes his incredible story telling to a fully other dimension. The Dresden Files' first person narative is the only way those stories could work as amazingly as they do, but the multiple view points in The Furies of Calderon turn it into a vast reaching epic, every bit as expansive as Dresden is intimate.
Profile Image for Corina.
756 reviews2,127 followers
March 27, 2022
This series does never get old - FAVORITE ALERT!!!!!!

Update 12-28-19

I decided to read the books instead of listening to the audiobooks. And I actually devoured all 6 novels over the last 10 days. I didn't want to leave the house, or be social. And on most nights I read until 2am, and the all consuming feel was still there.

Codex Alera is an amazing series, anyone that loves Words of Radiance should pick this series up.


Fantastic!!!!! I loved it. The word building was spectacular. After reading Brandon Sanderson Stormlight Archive, which I adored, I stumbled onto Jim Butchers Codex Alera series. I had no idea he wrote anything else besides Dresden Files which are on my automated reading list as soon as the latest comes out.
Furies of Calderon took a while to get comfortable with all the different major characters and plot lines. But soon afterwards I was hooked. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
724 reviews1,202 followers
May 20, 2018
I am a huge Dresden fan and loved the unconventional means by which this series came into existence –
It’s basically a series of half a dozen books set two thousand years after a lost Roman legion travelled through a rift to a world where pokemon exist, and now the legionnaires live and work with pokemon, except they’re called “furies” (I’m not even making this up, he did it as a dare after being called on one of his assertions by a crowd at a convention: He said everything in writing is about execution. They said prove it. He said give me three crazy horrible topics and he would make something out of it. They said lost Roman Legion, Pokemon, and the Zerg. A year later he released Furies of Calderon).

-D.R. Sylvester at www.drsylvesterfiction.com (who was kind enough to clue me in with this comment on one of my posts. You should check out his blog – it’s one of my favorites).
Needless to say, I knew I had to at least give it a try. And I liked it!

It’s probably not the strongest series starter I’ve ever read, but it was at least consistently entertaining from start to finish. And the characters were fantastic – so many great POVs, and each brought something special to the story. I liked all of them pretty equally and am most excited to see where their paths lead next. Great characterization is definitely one of Butcher’s storytelling strengths, and Furies of Calderon was no exception.

It’s a good thing the characters were good because their minor, interpersonal conflicts are what got me through the story when I found the overall arc a bit too narrow. Butcher kept this first book on a fairly minor scope, which I didn’t like, but I have a lot of hope that its potential will be realized in the next few installments. There just wasn’t enough focus on the handful of things that initially drew me in. For one, the furies (Butcher’s interpretation of Pokémon) didn’t play as big of a role as they could have, to the point where it felt almost as if the wielders were controlling elements rather than elemental beings. Also, there were strong references at the beginning of the book about an academy for these fury-wielders, which wasn’t expanded on it all throughout the rest of the story. There’s plenty of time for these things to become the focus in a six book series, so I’m not too stressed, but they’re definitely the things I will be specifically looking for going forward. How well they are brought to life will ultimately determine my overall satisfaction with the series.

At the end of the day, Furies of Calderon had great characters, good writing, a somewhat narrow focus, and some excellent ideas that were a bit under-realized (but with colossal potential). Incidentally, this is almost identical to how I felt about the Aeronaut’s Windlass – the first book in his newest fantasy series. I’m very hopeful that both will dazzle me in books to come. After all, even the magic that is Harry Dresden took a couple of books to really get going.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com
Profile Image for Zain Otoom.
130 reviews186 followers
October 12, 2017
Okay not much to say, because I was mostly bored reading this. But let’s list things properly,
I enjoyed some of them. Tavi and Bernard are my favourites. I enjoyed Tavi’s perspectives, but hated Amara’s. Felt neutral over Isana and didn’t care much for Fidelias, even though I was impressed at the beginning by how cunning he is. It didn’t last long though.
The writing
The writing is descriptive, which isn’t necessarily always bad, but in this case I almost gouged my eyes out. It was so dry and so distant from the characters and their feeling and what they’re thinking. It’s the reason why the characters felt so two dimensional and unlikable. I wanted to care for them but I couldn’t, I didn’t have it in me. The writing made the experience so dull and boring at times.
The magic and world-building
Pokémon and Roman inspired. Cool, right?? Yep, and it was cool. At least the Pokémon part. Using the furies was fun to witness. But I wish it was explained a little more than that because at some points I was confused on what having the furies enables you to do and what not to do.
The Roman part however, was meh. I think it lacked because of the lacking in the world building. I still don’t have my head wrapped completely around the world, honestly. I feel like only the places that are mentioned in this book are the only ones explored, and not throughly at that.
The plot
Typical, not gripping, and a little uninteresting. Because of the lacked world building I found myself not caring much about the plot. Because I already knew how it would go.
The conclusion
This wasn’t a bad book really. You might love it more than I did, and/or find none of these problems for you. But I wish the writing wasn’t dry. Because it’s the reason I didn’t fully love this book. I kept hoping I’d make some connection to the characters and start caring about them but nope! The writing prevented that.
I might continue on the series, because people say it gets better. Unfortunately my main problem isn’t the plot as it is the writing, and I doubt that’ll change.
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews930 followers
May 30, 2017
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

I was thoroughly entertained reading Furies of Calderon. Was it groundbreaking? No. But it was fun, and I really enjoyed the characters. The plot is heavily based in the politics of Alera, so it definitely appeals to me on that level. I am interested to continue and see what happens in the rest of the series.

If you're looking for an amazing writing style...maybe look elsewhere. Lots of repetition of phrases and words. LOTS. So much so that it was distracting to me as the reader to keep hearing the same descriptions over and over again. As for the other aspects of the writing style, it got the job done. I had no problem imagining what was happening, but there wasn't anything particularly wonderful about how Jim Butcher wrote his book.

I would recommend this series for people who are intimidated by high fantasy and maybe want to dip a toe in without committing to the intricate web of characters and intense lore that can sometimes be associated with the genre. The magic system & mythology of this world are interesting, but there isn't so much going on that you can't keep it straight. I imagine as the story builds on itself it will get more complicated, but overall I found the world very manageable.

Excited to read the next one!
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,007 reviews1,326 followers
December 6, 2020
Virginia's Pick for my 10 readers, 10 recommendations challenge!

DNF @25%
I really tried but I couldn't get into it after reading quarter of the book. I felt like I could push through the book and finish it but I can't do that to a 6-books series. It just felt too generic and like things I have already read before. This was written many years ago and I believe if I read it then I would have liked it but currently I am not planning to continue it anytime soon.
Profile Image for April .
466 reviews15 followers
December 25, 2008
First of all... I consider Jim Butcher to be a very talented writer, and I have greatly enjoyed the Dresden Files for a number of years. So when reading my complaints, you must also keep in mind that, having read all of the Dresden Files books more than once, I had a certain level of expectation that needed to be met.

They weren't. With the exception of a few short scenes in the beginning and in the middle, this first book in the Codex Alera was very, very subpar. It's not even all that long and yet reading it took me well over a month.

Even overlooking the ridiculous amount of pronoun typos in various chapters, the world-building is mediocre at best. The reader is never given an introduction to any of the new concepts so much as thrown in the deep end of the world-building pool. The drop is unpleasant and unrewarding. The writing is weak and the characters, for the most part, are unbelievable and unlikable. The book tries too hard to be epic, and never manages to succeed. Perhaps one is meant to see this as Butcher's equivalent of George R. R. Martin's Westeros, but Alera fails to be nearly as complex or interesting.

Due to liking Butcher's other series, I will have to try the second book in the Codex Alera but I will not make as much of an effort to complete it. Doing so with this book was exhausting enough.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
Want to read
April 13, 2019
99c Kindle sale, April 13, 2019. High fantasy series by Jim Butcher (better known for the Harry Dresden series) based on Roman legions and ... Pokémon? Hmmm. It’s just 99c so maybe I’ll give it a shot.
Profile Image for Theresa Ijachi.
103 reviews69 followers
October 19, 2017
Buddy read with my tbr twin Laura

Actual rating is 1.5 stars

Am so disappointed with this book. I really wanted to like it but Alas I ended up hating it. But on the bright side, this book broke my record of never giving a book one star.

How I felt while reading this book

It was so boring, am not even kidding. Am certain my chemistry textbook would be so much more fun than reading this book.

The whole experience felt like I was stuck in the middle of an ocean, in a rowboat trying to paddle my way to the shore but seeing no sign of land, just the ocean spread out before me, no sign of life and since it's a rowboat, am pretty much stranded. I thought I was never going to finish reading this book.

Yeah. Jim Butcher literally Butchered
me with this book, get it?

Am sure you're probably confused, I mean what could have gone wrong with this book? It held such promise.

First, I'd like to say I pretty much loved the concept of this book. The whole thing with the furies was pure genius. It was elemental magic in a way but way more unique. I freaking loved it and sadly that's all I liked about this book.

What did I hate about this book the most?

First, the fact that I felt in no way attached to the characters. I didn't even care if they were about to die or something. I just shrugged it off. There was no backstory whatsoever. The characters were only introduced and then boom were in danger throughout. Like seriously?

Secondly, I don't know what the fuck the plot was ok I do the premise was not intriguing at all. It was all just to stop a kid from reporting an evil plan to a count so they'll have the advantage of surprise during an attack, that's all.

And.... the battle that seemed to go on for like 200 pages. I got so tired of it, very tired. It just wouldn't stop, to be honest, I've never felt reading to be so exhausting. I almost started relating with people that hate reading. It felt like punishment and the whole battle happened in one person’s POV, all she did was describe what other people were doing in the battle.

And no one important died, when I thought they were dead, they all seemed to be resurrected somehow*

Can we just talk about the ship/weird romance/insta-love/whatever it is. Don't get me wrong, am a sucker for ships and I actually shipped these two people but next thing I know, they were already making out and behaving like angst-filled teenagers in a YA book and they met like four days earlier *eye roll.* This is how their conversation goes I may be exaggerating

Male * Kisses her*
Female Kisses him back then hits him, while thinking about how she can't resist him
Male what was that for
Female why'd you do that *still thinking about how much she wants him*
Male Cause I like you
Me Dude, you guys just met. You know what, I don't ship you guys anymore.

I wasn't a fan of a writing either. It wasn't bad, was just okay I guess. Some descriptions were just really weird like..

”The woman had skin of dark, golden brown”
Ok....? I still don't know what dark, golden brown looks like.

And this book had a huge case of telling and not really showing
She looked up at Tavi, her eyes not focused, her face bedsheet-white.”

Am not a Masochist so I clearly won't be reading the other books in the series. I guess it's just not for me........ Or not.
Profile Image for Twyla.
Author 1 book1 follower
August 14, 2011
I am shocked at how many people actually really liked this novel. The pacing was awful, the characters were flat and there were too many (often I couldn't tell who was on which side) - and the lame novice-to-hero progression of several characters was painfully uncreative. The only good parts were parts where the men spoke a little like Dresden (Butcher's other major series' protagonist). The one witch was creepy enough, and the monsters were pretty cool, but that seems to be Butcher's general strong point.

I found myself thinking, "These are some of the most boring, characterless heroes and heroines I have ever read about." Pretty much the only thing you find out about anyone is what weapon they can wield, where their allegiance lies, and who they fancy. That does not a character make. I realized part of the way through that it has the exact same plot in general as the Dresden books, too. It's just slow and not funny and harder to follow.

Overall I was shocked after having found the Dresden Files to be a breath of fresh air, compelling, fantastic characters and world, great noir... I really had to struggle to read all the way through this book because I was hoping it might get better. I'm definitely not planning on reading more of the series after such a disappointment.

And please, everyone, stop writing about those four elements. It's not cool anymore.
Profile Image for Emily.
296 reviews1,533 followers
October 2, 2018
*9/17 update* So I reread this, and while I still really enjoyed it, there are some aspects around sexual violence that stood out to me in ways they didn't the first time around. I'm not going to change my rating, because that feels, I don't know, dishonest or something? But while sexual violence is not brushed off, the way it was depicted still felt a bit sensationalized.

THIS WAS SO GREAT!! SUCH a fun epic fantasy! Even though this is the first book in a fantasy series, this didn't run into a lot of the problems that foundational books have. It never got too info-dumpy, I didn't feel lost or confused in the world, and it didn't feel like just a build up to a bigger story with no central conflict of its own.

Butcher introduces this world in perfect bite size pieces. He doesn't explicitly lay out the rules for you, but you still pick up on them pretty quickly!

We also get a great, self-contained conflict in this book. It's clear that there are larger things at stake, and that there's a bigger game yet to be played, but this felt like a complete book, which feels unique for the start of a series. Butcher perfectly toes the line between creating a story JUST for this book, and hinting at greater things to come.

I will say that I went into this thinking it was Middle Grade, which it DEFINITELY WAS NOT. Some of the things that happen in this book are truly horrifying. We get great, and I mean GREAT villains. There are some characters we encounter in this book that I viscerally hated.

I can't wait to pick up the next book in this series!!!
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,969 reviews848 followers
July 30, 2019
Según la review de Jeraviz, "Según he leído, esta historia viene de una apuesta que le hicieron a Butcher en la que le retaban a escribir algo basado en el Imperio Romano y en Pokemon. Y el resultado es Codex Alera..."

Y eso, que con esa partida uno puede esperar una chapuza/bodrio impresionante, pero lo que encuentra es una gozada de novela de Fantasía con un sistema de magia original (si no conoces Pokemon, claro) y sobe todo un desarrollo y unos personajes muy atrayentes.

Te diviertes mucho leyéndolo y cuatro estrellas me parecían escasas. Si queréis tener en reserva una novela que os anime a leer y no soltarla, apuntaros esta.

Ya estoy empezando la segunda de la saga.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews224 followers
October 11, 2017
I did this one as an audio book with Kate Reading as the narrator. She was excellent as always.

Much like in Wheel of Time there is a discipline collar similar to the A'Dam. For whatever reason these get a rise out of me worse than any of the other evil things in books much darker than this or WOT. There's just something so wrong about being able to throw a collar around a person's neck and controlling them against their will.

I liked but didn't love the characters and found Tavi and Isana to both be a bit whiny. There also wasn't that one thing that stood out to make the book unique.

I do feel it has potential as the series grows so I will continue with it.
Profile Image for Carolin Wahl.
Author 13 books906 followers
October 30, 2021
Ich liebe die Welt. Den Aufbau. Die Geschichte. Die Figuren, alle unterschiedlich, eigensinnig, stark und einfach besonders.
Butcher zieht mich in seine Geschichte hinein und lässt mich dermaßen zufrieden zurück, dass ich gar nicht viele Worte verlieren möchte.
Wer Fantasy gerne liest, ist hier genau richtig.
Jetzt freue ich mich einfach, dass es noch so viele weitere Bände gibt.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,860 reviews370 followers
June 27, 2022
A fun fantasy novel that is a good start for this series. Jim Butcher is great at getting a plot rolling, and like a snow ball rolling down hill, it gets bigger and faster and picks up material as it goes. There are three main strands to the plot, Tavi's adventures in the Steadholt, the shenanigans in the Empire, and the traitors and the Marat hordes that they are allied with. Butcher gets them tangled together quickly, not drawing out the exposition like many other fantasy authors.

Butcher writes battle scenes well and takes full advantage of that ability during the course of the novel. He has also created an interesting frenemy in the Marat. It is Tavi who is smart enough to realize that they may not be human, but they share the love of their families and a sense of personal honour and responsibility with the steadholders and that they don't necessarily need to be enemies. Perhaps because Tavi has no talent for the furycrafting that everyone else seems to practice, he has to use his wits and skills.

Tavi is your typical epic fantasy main character: he is an orphan, he has unexpected depths and courage, he has luck in leadership, and he downplays all these aspects of himself. I had to laugh as this reminded me of The Princess Bride—it has battles, farming details, kissing, honour, revenge, hate, beautiful women, handsome men, traitors, loyal friends, whatever you dig, you will find it here. The magic system (furycrafting) is interesting and Butcher plunges right into it without doing too much explaining. If you're like me, you catch on quick and that's not a problem. Butcher truly does show rather than telling and could teach some other writers a thing or two. If your systems and societies make sense, you don't need to over-explain it to your readers.

I will need to request the next book from another library, so there will be a natural pause before I get to it, but I can hardly wait to see what happens to Tavi, Fade, Isana, Bernard, and Amara. Not to mention the Marat who seem to be entwined in their fates now. What a good feeling with which to conclude a book.

Book Number 462 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project

Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,041 followers
May 11, 2020
3.5 stars.

The novel was exciting, action packed, and filled with loads of twists. The author crafting a really fun adventure story which captures your attention from the first pages and holds it unto the last. Just an excellent fantasy to spend hours on.

My favorite part of the narrative (besides the non-stop action) was the cast of compelling characters. I enjoyed all of them: good and bad, sane and crazy, Alearan and Marat. Each of these people crafted in full dimensions, complex in their history and desires. All of them bringing their own special magic to the narrative. Their interactions filling the fast paced action with real depth.

What I’m still not in love with is the world building and this world itself. One of my reading friends once described this series as Pokémon’s in the Roman Empire, and he really got it right. That really is my perception of this place from just this one book. Nothing wrong with that, but it just doesn’t excite me. Being far too old to have grown up with Pokémon and my own children never having been Pokémon fans themselves, this magic system just feels kind of meh to me. Perhaps a bit more lore about this world might have sparked my interest, but there really isn’t much of that here either. Hopefully the next book will bring some added depth.

So I’m off to pickup book two. I really am pulling for it to wow because it’s been far too long since a fantasy series has done that for me, and I do miss being a fan. Wish me luck.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
February 2, 2009
4.0 stars. Great, well developed characters, an excellent magic system and wonderful world-building and plot pacing. Appears to be the start of a compelling series. Will defintely read the next books in the series.
Profile Image for Kevin Xu.
273 reviews96 followers
March 8, 2016
worst fantasy book ever, too many books like this out in the fantasy genre out there! too many tropes! so formulaic of a story! the first line on the back cover tells the whole plot to the series! please stop writing books like these! if this was written in the late 70s or the early 80s, then it would have worked a lot better and fresher

I only read about 150 pages into the book and stopped
Profile Image for Toniarw.
256 reviews8 followers
September 6, 2018
Ich bin begeistert. Hab mir gleich die nächsten beiden Teile bestellt :)
Profile Image for Tilly.
226 reviews6 followers
September 24, 2016

I started to read this series, knowing that the author´s main inspirations for these books were the old Roman empire and Pokémon. That sounds really weird but after hearing this I was very curious about picking up the first volume and I wasn´t disappointed.
First of all it was not very difficult to get into the story and this is a problem which I have very often with other High Fantasy series, especially in the first novel. The plot was very exciting from the beginning and the switching between different characters not overly complicated because the story was focused on a major point and came to an end which was relatively closed and also made me interested in reading book two in the series.
Furthermore I did not read a fantasy novel for a very long time where the fighting scenes are described so good and interesting. It didn´t only remind me of Pokémon but in some scenes also of X-Men or Avatar: The Last Airbender :D That sounds silly but it isn´t, the whole magic system within this world is absolutely believable and very imaginative for the reader. The world building which was inspired by the roman history was also very good but I hope to see more of the world in the following volumes because I think that the world of Alera has a lot of more potential and that this was only the beginning.
Now I come to the characters. Tavi, the main protagonist, was very likable to me. The way he fought through dangerous situations, without the ability of using elements like nearly every other person in this world, really impressed me and I also liked that he is not a perfect hero but that he has also some self-doubt within the story. I liked nearly all other characters as well Tavi´s friends and family as the antagonists of this novel, they had all very interesting and individual personalities and motivations. But the highlight of this book regarding characters were the Marat. Their way to live by their own laws reminds me a little bit of the Dothraki ("A Song of Ice and Fire" franchise) and I would love to get to know more of their culture in the rest of the series.
Overall this is an absolutely stunning and brilliant intro to the series and I will definitely continue. Well-deserved 5 of 5 stars!
Profile Image for Hailee.
201 reviews98 followers
July 15, 2018
3.5 stars.

Despite the three and a half star rating I did enjoy this novel. However I feel like we have barely scratched the surface with this book and so many of my questions have not been answered. So this was an introduction to the world and its characters. So as an opening novel to a series it had a lot of promise, but as a story in its own right it lacked a bit of definition. I am excited to continue on with it as I have heard that the series dramatically improves from book 2 onwards I didn’t feel like this novel.

Tavi the ‘main’ character takes a while to come into his own. To start with he feels like nothing but the clichéd orphaned boy who has ‘hidden qualities’ and through a lot of the book his main talent seems to be the ability to run away the fastest or to observe all the fighting from the sidelines. However his bravery does eventually shine through and the chapters that followed his story arc soon became my favourite. The other characters such as Bernard, Amara and Isana all had interesting points of view as well and I’m hoping to see more from them in future novels.

This book was described to me as the Roman Legions with Pokemon and I can easily imagine this book being adapted as a cartoon, if some of the less than savoury aspects such as slavery was left out of it. Speaking of the less than savoury; the villains in this book were a particular favourite of mine. There are plenty of them and there was a great mixture of the unredeemable, the morally grey and the misguided and it made reading about them a changeable experience. One minute you can hate someone fiercely and then feel extreme pity for them.

As I said thee end of the book certainly left me with a lot of questions. Questions I had been hoping would be answered within this first book but the fact that they weren’t has definitely left me wanting more. I’m looking forward to moving onto book two in the series.
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